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Film Openings

Week of May 31, 2006

The Break-Up. (PG-13) Reviewed in this issue. (Luke Y. Thompson) ARN, CPP, CGX, DP, EG, GL, J14, KEN, MR, OF, RON, SP, STCH, STCL

Down in the Valley. (R) Reviewed in this issue. (Bill Gallo) PF

The Omen. (R) The 1976 original, in which Gregory Peck adopted Satan's son, was a mildly creepy, well-made, and well-acted shock fest with a hollow core. This remake, like the Antichrist at its center, is a whole lot like its daddy. Directed by John Moore (who made the similarly great-looking but empty Behind Enemy Lines), the film is simply too big for its britches. The cast (including Liev Schreiber as an ambassador who secretly adopts the wrong baby, Julia Stiles as his wife, and Mia Farrow as Satan's wet nurse) is excellent, but the Hand of God is a lousy excuse for gaping plot holes. Still, for those looking for shocks, the cat scares and deaths are top-notch, including the best on-screen decapitation you may ever see. If the movie didn't take itself so seriously, it could have been a great popcorn muncher. As is, it'll still work fine for those willing to forgive its trespasses. (Jordan Harper) ARN, DP, GL, J14, KEN, MR, OF, RON, STCH, STCL

Russian Dolls. (Not Rated) The entertaining sequel to Cédric Klapisch's hip 2002 hit L'Auberge Espagnole catches up with the filmmaker's former student roommates five years later, all scattered from Barcelona now and approaching the landmark age of 30. They're still holding some fun tickets, but annoyances like maturity and melancholy are also creeping into their lives. The focus here is on Romain Duris's Xavier, now a struggling writer in Paris who's searching for a new romance. Among others, ex-Auberge residents Martine (Audrey Tautou), Isabelle (Cécile De France), and William (Kevin Bishop) also return, each with new comic quandaries and new directions. Shot on glamorous locations in London, Paris, and St. Petersburg (the site of a wedding that occasions the characters' reunion), Klapisch's busy, bittersweet farce fairly wallows in the youth-obsessed worlds of media, high fashion, and publishing. Those who loved the original Auberge will likely be eager to book rooms once again. (Gallo) TV