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The Baltimore Sun

Capsules by Michael Sragow or Chris Kaltenbach, unless noted. Full reviews are at baltimore sun.com/movies.

Atonement -- The crush of an upper-class teen on her housekeeper's son (James McAvoy) catalyzes a devastating accusation that ruins his life and that of the girl's older sister (Keira Knightley). This beautifully acted, remarkably visualized adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel sums up the need for charity and generosity in art and life. (M.S.) R 123 minutes A

The Bucket List -- A pair of dying cancer patients (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) draw up a list of things to do before they kick the bucket. (C.K.) PG-13 97 minutes C+

Cassandra's Dream -- Two cash-strapped brothers (Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor) enter into a deal with their rich uncle (Tom Wilkinson). Lazily written and perfunctorily staged, touching on themes we've all heard from writer/director Woody Allen before. (C.K.) PG-13 105 minutes C-

Charlie Wilson's War -- follows a sybaritic East Texas congressman (Tom Hanks) as he uses his connections to wangle funding for Afghan rebels during the Soviet invasion. (M.S.) R 97 minutes B+

Cloverfield -- A big nasty something-or-other begins destroying Manhattan, and it's all captured on this guy's video cam. The Blair Witch Project for the post-Sept. 11 crowd. Not much story or script, but plenty of style. The hand-held camera gets on your nerves after awhile, though. (C.K.) PG-13 84 minutes B-

First Sunday -- A pair of hard-luck ex-cons (Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan), hard up for money, decide to rob their local church and its good-hearted parishioners. Though played for laughs, this "comedy" isn't funny. Uneven and toneless, this ode to forgiveness asks its audience to forgive too much. (C.K.) PG-13 96 minutes C

The Great Debaters -- The superb debate squad from all-black Wiley College in East Texas witnesses every indignity and injustice of the Jim Crow South in the course of a year, then uses it to fuel its showdown with a champion white team at Harvard. Denzel Washington as the coach, Denzel Whitaker as the youngest debater and Forest Whitaker (no relation) as his theologian dad give knock-out performances; too much of the film is stirring and pat. (M.S.) PG-13 123 minutes B-

How She Move -- sure has got the moves. And even if we've seen so many of them before, its young cast delivers the goods with such gusto and drive that the familiarity breeds more enjoyment than contempt. Rutina Wesley is Raya, a teenager determined to escape the dead-end world of drugs and shattered dreams that has already claimed the life of her sister, and using stepping - a combination of breakdancing and military-style drill formations - as a means to that end. (C.K.) PG-13 91 minutes B-

Rambo -- There's something oddly touching about Sylvester Stallone's march down memory lane, dusting off one of his most iconic characters for another outing after years in mothballs. As with 2006's Rocky Balboa and now Rambo, the 60-year- old star dons the persona like a comfy old suit, a little worse for wear but eminently recognizable. (Los Angeles Times) R 93 minutes B-

The Savages -- A college-teacher brother (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his unproduced playwright sister (Laura Linney) make an uneasy team of caregivers when their father (Philip Bosco) lapses into Parkinson's dementia. With a bracing, merciless honesty and surprisingly elastic sense of humor (and pathos), writer-director Tamara Jenkins picks up on how they drive each other crazy - and then sane. (M.S.) R 113 minutes A-

Sweeney Todd -- Once again, the homicidal hair-trimmer of the title (Johnny Depp) partners up with meat-pie-maker Mrs. Lovett (Helen Bonham Carter), who comes up with the idea of using corpses as ingredients. But in director Tim Burton's intense, spectral vision, Todd grows to embody the fascism of romantic fixation. He irradiates his performers' expressions while bathing them in a Hadean light: They reward him by bringing superhuman intensity to the fallible creatures in a gory fable. (M.S.) R 117 minutes A-

27 Dresses -- Katherine Heigl is Jane, an eternal bridesmaid (literally) who finds herself at odds with James Marsden's Kevin, a cynical wedding reporter. The film is a romantic comedy, so you can probably guess where this is headed. Predictable but utterly charming, especially when Heigl is onscreen. Should cement her status as the next America's Sweetheart. (C.K.) PG-13 107 minutes B

Untraceable -- A killer tortures his victims on the Internet while inviting the rest of the world to watch. Sounds interesting, but the film abandons any pretense of mystery by revealing the degenerate's identity about a third of the way through. Diane Lane is stuck playing an FBI Internet specialist. (C.K.) R 100 minutes C

U2 3D -- Shot during the band's 2006 "Vertigo" tour of South America, the film, a cohesive concert performance with its requisite peaks and valleys, turns into a greatest-hits pastiche. Such quibbles are for purists. The rest of us, especially those who have never seen one of rock's great live acts, can be thankful for an experience that puts you there. (C.K.) G 85 minutes A

Youth Without Youth -- Francis Ford Coppola convinces you that lightning can strike twice, and in more ways than one, in his first film in a decade, based on the novella by Mircea Eliade. Youth Without Youth tells the story of a 70-year-old professor of linguistics and religion, Dominic Matei (Tim Roth), who totters on the brink of suicide before he wins a second chance at life. (M.S.) R 124 minutes B

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