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Cinema Paradiso, (500) Days of Summer, The Last Exocism, Mao's Last Dancer, Takers

CINEMA PARADISO

Guiseppe Tornatore’s sentimental 1988 art-house smash packs pretty much every precious movie-adoration cliché into its 155 minutes and then finishes with a highlight reel of deleted love just in case you missed the point. In mid-1950s Sicily, the local movie house is run by the older Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), and the young boy Salvatore (Salvatore Cascio) comes to call it home. Salvatore spends hours inside the womb of the projection room watching the greats of film flash onscreen, nurturing a lifetime love of cinema. It’s insufferably nostalgic, yet can still work its magic if you’ve recently lost a friend or a dog or something.

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(500) DAYS OF SUMMER

Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a boy raised on British pop and a total misreading of

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The Graduate

, takes romantic advice from his kid sister and believes he will never truly be happy until the day he meets the “one.” Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) is emotionally crippled by her parents’ divorce and only looking to have some fun. Unfortunately, she also proves a vessel just vacant enough for Tom to fill with his adolescent fantasies. Whereas other romantic-comedies try to pass off an implausible plot and caricatures as chemistry and true love,

Summer

uses implausible elements to illustrate the extreme peaks and valleys in Tom’s emotional world. (Emma Brodie)

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THE LAST EXORCISM

Hollywood goes to the young-women-are-hell well yet again with this faux documentary about a snake-oil preacher (Patrick Fabian) peddling fake exorcisms who comes across a teenager (Ashley Bell) who just might restore his faith.

Opens Aug. 27.

MAO'S LAST DANCER

Bruce Beresford (

Tender Mercies

,

Black Robe

) directs this biopic about Li Cunxin, one of the first Chinese dancers to attend an American ballet academy.

TAKERS

Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen, Michael Ealy, Idris Elba, and Paul Walker play a bank-robbing team whose latest score is being thwarted by a pair of cops (Matt Dillon and Jay Hernandez).

Opens Aug. 27

.

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