The Kingdom follows up a remedial history lesson on U.S.-Saudi relations, behind the opening credits, with a hypothetical massacre of a hundred-plus American citizens at an oil-company picnic, the handiwork of an "Osama wannabe." Speedily onto the scene -- where were they on 9/11? -- comes an FBI response team (Jamie Foxx, the take-charge family man; Jennifer Garner, the token superwoman; Chris Cooper, the token good actor; Jason Bateman, the obligatory wiseacre), to take names and kick ass, but first to burn the ears of the local Saudi investigator with their salty Free Speech. (Ashraf Barhom, in the part, is as likable as he is expendable.) Director Peter Berg's bob-and-weave camera, that cliché of immediacy and urgency, is a continual annoyance, and in the climactic action is worse than that. Our inability to follow what's happening can scarcely convince us it's actually happening.

Shoot 'Em Up, if I may come to it so late in its run, dispenses video-game violence accompanied by headbanger heavy metal and leavened (if that's the word) with lead-balloon jokes. Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, and Monica Bellucci, who ought to be ashamed of themselves at any wage, serve as rubber-duck decoys to lure in the unwary. It seems far more honest and honorable to leave this sort of thing to the likes of Jason Statham and Vin Diesel.

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richinsd Sept. 14, 2008 @ 10:47 a.m.

If you loved the Beatles you will love "Across the Universe" a most delightful and throughly entertaining movie of wonder songs, all by the Beatles, sung by the cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Martin Luther, Dana Fuchs, Jim Sturgess, and T.V. Carpio.

Get the DVD, great for the whole family.


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