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Pride

Plot: Based on a true story from the 1970s, schoolteacher Jim Ellis (Terrence Howard) goes to a Philadelphia Department of Recreation Center that is about to be torn down in a rough neighborhood. He attempts to inspire African-American high-schoolers to take up swimming and compete, giving them opportunities he didn’t have.

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Actors:

Terrence Howard as Jim Ellis: After “Crash” and the amazing “Hustle & Flow,” we all know Howard can act. But “Pride” really shows how important the material is for the performance.
Grade: 5

Bernie Mac as Elston: In his first scene, Mac proclaims there “ain’t no funny here.” But we’ve come to expect funny from Mac. And before long he is attempting to zing one-liners with Howard, but the script doesn’t really offer much, and Mac’s earlier proclamation proves correct.
Grade: 5

Tom

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Reign Over Me

Plot: Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle) runs into his old college roommate Charlie (Adam Sandler). Charlie had lost his entire family in the September 11 attack on New York. Alan attempts to help Charlie as both men seem to have issues they are trying to resolve.

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Actors:

Don Cheadle as Alan Johnson: Alan is a very straight-laced dentist who is realizing he’s not really living his own life. Alan does what he is told, whether it is from his wife or his work. If it wasn’t for Cheadle being one of the best, most charismatic actors in Hollywood right now, this character would have sunk.
Grade: 6

Adam Sandler as Charlie Fineman: I love when comedic actors attempt to broaden their range. Tom Hanks, Jim Carrey and Sandler (“Punch Drunk Love”), have all had

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TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

Plot: First, you must know that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are exactly that, mutated turtles, who are trained by Master Splinter (a rat) in the ways of a ninja. This particular adventure starts with the turtles each doing their own thing as Leonardo is off learning how to be a true leader. Here’s where things get a little scattered. It seems 3,000 years ago, a ruler found a gateway to another dimension. This froze his evil friends, granted him eternal life and released 13 evil monsters in the world. Now he’s trying to do it all over again and it’s the turtles’ job to stop him.

Who’s it for: Kids. It’s animated, which was a good call. There isn’t any adult humor or inside jokes to speak of and the

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Shooter

Plot: Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg) is a former Marine Corp sniper. He is convinced to go back into service and is double-crossed. Now, he’s on the run and has to prove his innocence. I think I just described 75 percent of action movies from the ’80s.

Who’s it for: It’s an action flick. Plain and simple.

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Actors:

Mark Wahlberg as Bob Lee Swagger: Wahlberg’s body meets the requirements for “action hero,” but it is his voice that separates him. He can’t help being soft-spoken, even when he is yelling. It makes him seem like the good kid next door, except when he was dropping the F-bomb in “The Departed.” Wahlberg has enough toys to play with in “Shooter” and he is clearly the strength of the film. MacGyver wouldn’t be impressed

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Bernie Mac from Pride

When Bernie Mac walks into a room, there is no posse, no bodyguards waiting outside. “They would get in my way,” he says.

Mac grew up in Inglewood on the south side of Chicago. And when you listen to him talk, he definitely hasn’t forgotten his upbringing. Or how to talk. But unlike some interviews, where I finish and have a pocketful of unasked questions, this wasn’t the case with Mac. I didn’t get to ask every question I wanted, but everything he said felt genuine, every tangent he took was worth hearing. It’s a rare trait, and perhaps one he learned from “Big Momma.”

Mac is co-starring with Terrence Howard in “Pride.” It’s based on the true story of Jim Ellis, who took a rundown community center and turned it

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300

Plot: “300” is a fictionalized retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought against Xerxes and his massive Persian army.

Who’s it for: Do you crave violence? This should do the trick, same for anyone with a loin cloth fetish. Even though the battle took place in 480 B.C., it doesn’t feel like a period piece. Perhaps that’s because I was busy watching numerous spears piercing the skin of Persian warrior slaves. Did I mention it’s violent?
Expectations: If “Sin City” didn’t exist, I would have been hesitant going into “300.” But after that film floored me, I was excited to see anything based on another one of Frank Miller’s graphic novels. I was hoping for at least a B-.

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Actors:

Butler as King

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Wild Hogs

Plot: Four suburban weekend warriors (Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy), known as the Wild Hogs, decide to recapture the adventure in their lives and go on a cross-country motorcycle trip. They get entangled with a real biker gang, and end up trying to save a small town from the menacing El Diablo gang led by Jack (Ray Liotta).

Who’s it for: Over-the-hill men who dream of the freedom of the road and the women who put up with them. It’s a comedy that attempts to grab a few laughs without questioning if it makes any sense. And “Wild Hogs” definitely doesn’t respect the true motorcycle lovers.

Actors: There was a time when the four leads in one movie would have impressed me. I was a huge

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Zodiac

Plot: A serial killer is haunting the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s. He gives clues to the press and police who attempt to track him down. Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal), a quiet cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle, becomes increasingly obsessed with trying to track down the killer known as the “Zodiac.”

Who’s it for: You have to like thrillers because “Zodiac” has great moments of tension, there is also some troubling violence in the beginning third of the film, but nothing compared to “300” or “The Departed.” The film will also give you a history lesson in how far technology has helped investigations.

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Expectations: The director, David Fincher, gets the most out of his men. Look at his past films such as “Fight Club,” “Se7en,” and “The Game.”

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Virginia Madsen from The Astronaut Farmer and The Number 23

With two films opening up on the same day, people might start thinking Virginia Madsen’s new lucky number is 23. After all, one of the films is called “The Number 23,” the other being “The Astronaut Farmer.”

“I stayed away from that whole enigma,” Madsen says. I’m not superstitious about anything, though I don’t try and tempt the fates.”

“The Astronaut Farmer” is a family drama about Charles Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton) attempting to build a rocket and orbit the Earth. “The Number 23” is a thriller starring Jim Carrey about a family man who becomes obsessed with the number 23.

”It’s so bizarre, I’m competing against myself,” she says. “But these are two such different films.”

In both films, she plays a wife and mother, supportive of her husband’s passion/obsession. But the

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The Number 23

Plot: Walter Sparrow is a run-of-the-mill normal man. He’s an animal control officer who loves his work and his family. He stumbles upon the book “The Number 23” and his life takes a turn for the worse. Walter becomes obsessed with the novel and the number, starting to worry he could be capable of truly awful things.

Who’s it for: Thriller die-hards who want to see Jim Carrey stretch his acting in a new direction … although this isn’t that good of a direction. Plus, if you are happy Virgina Madsen is back on the map, you could pull a double-feature. Madsen is co-starring in “The Astronaut Farmer” with Billy Bob Thornton, which also opened Feb. 23.

THE SCORECARD

Expectations: I was excited. I’ve been a Jim Carrey fan and love when

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