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ON THE SCREEN

The following movies are playing this weekend at local theaters. The Tech suggests using <http://www.boston.com> for a complete listing of times and locations.

HHHH Excellent

HHH Good

HH Fair

H Poor

Alice et Martin (HH1 2)

A simple, yet poignant love story. The screenplay, however, is far outdone by the cinematography. Numerous images and scenes stand out, thanks to the careful direction of AndrÉ TÉchinÉ, making this film a refreshing break from the usual empty summer blockbuster. -- Lianne Habinek

Bring it On (HHH)

One of the better movies of the summer merely because of its amusing banter and exaggerated characters. Stupid jokes and predictable conflicts are delivered throughout the film, but Bring It On doesn’t lose its cheer. Kirsten Dunst plays the captain of the Toros, a cheerleading squad that goes head-to-head with members of a Compton squad, which includes the members from R&B group Blaque. The one-liners and catty attitudes are let loose in director Peyton Reed’s silver-screen endeavor. -- Solar Olugebefola

But I’m a Cheerleader (HHH)

The concept of heterosexual reprogramming camp could make for a reasonably serious drama. Here, director Jamie Babbitt makes the circumstances ridiculous enough to keep the mood comedic, from the setting of a hot pink house to the irrational eagerness of the kids to “get better.” The sugary indie pop music in the background completes the diorama. Clea Duvall reprises her lesbian rebel role from The Faculty to great effect, while Cathy Moriarty and RuPaul anchor the film as the camp’s hypocritical directors. -- Dan Katz

Chicken Run (HHH1 2)

Among a sea of summer turkeys, this is one “chick-flick” that doesn’t run a-fowl! Cool claymation effects, brought to the big screen by the makers of the hysterical Wallace and Grommit series, and a droll British screenplay to follow-through. Cute, witty, and enjoyable for kids of all ages. -- Karen Feigenbaum

Chuck and Buck (HHH)

A heart-felt look at an uneven friendship, severely underscored by Buck’s case of arrested development and Chuck’s resulting embarrassment of Buck. At times sad, amusing and shocking; this is a cleverly written and fondly watchable indie flick, if you can get past the low-budget grainy film texture. -- KF

Croupier (HHH1 2)

An interesting film about a casino dealer who avoids placing wagers himself. His ability to avoid gambling is questioned as he is forced to risk certain aspects of his daily life. -- Jordan Rubin

Girl on the Bridge (HHH1 2)

An enchanting film that is never boring. Director Patrice Laconte emphasizes the visual and the actor-audience relationship to convey the story of two very different people who nonetheless form the perfect match. -- LH

Godzilla 2000 (HHH)

A delightfully low-tech movie. Watch the giant lizard raze Japanese cities in this modern Japanese import that accurately mimics the quality of the old Godzilla movies. Forget the muddled, almost nonexistent plot, and go for the fight scenes and the chance to laugh at the cheap special effects. -- Erik Blankinship

Hollow Man (HHH)

Three things stand out about this movie. First, the direction proves that director Paul Verhoeven (Robocop, Total Recall) is at the top of his game. Second, Kevin Bacon sizzles on screen, even when he appears only as a digital effect. And finally, the visual effects are, not surprisingly, spectacular. It’s enough to almost make you forget this movie has no real story. -- Vladimir Zelevinsky

Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (HH)

The feel-good movie of the year ... if relentless jokes about flatulence and geriatric sex happen to make you feel good. The sequel has a lot in common with the original. Once again, the highlights revolve around Eddie Murphy’s impossibly slick Buddy Love character and Larry Miller’s evilish Dean Richmond, and once again the movie suffers from an inexplicably vapid love interest (played here by Janet Jackson). Way too much time spent on the Klump family and not enough time spent on, well, anything funny. -- DK

The Patriot (H1 2)

You may as well call it Braveheart of the Mohicans. You’ve seen this movie ... a few times, in fact, and done better. Not the worst movie out there, but the screenplay is weak and poorly fleshed out with equally one-dimensional characters. Predictability runs rampant (the son slated to be killed might as well have a bullseye painted on his chest). If you must, catch a bargain matinee, and bring a friend with whom you can have a running dialogue of sidebar banter. -- KF

Shaft (1 2)

A disappointing piece of sub-par drivel, especially from such a competent writer/director as John Singleton (Boyz N The Hood). It is hastily thrown together with a stupid story line, ridiculous dialogue, and an all-around clumsy screenplay. Samuel L. Jackson is one bad motherfucker, but that was already well- established in Pulp Fiction, and much more skillfully. Even lowered expectations won’t prepare you for the sheer unimpressiveness of this film. -- KF

What Lies Beneath (HH1 2)

You may think you already know the story from the trailer: there’s a woman who looks like Michelle Pfeiffer haunting a house. But what follows the painfully slow beginning is a somewhat suspenseful thriller with a surprisingly creative ending. Obviously, you can’t rely on the trailers -- you’d have to go to the theaters to find out what lies beneath the surface of this movie. -- KF

X-Men (HHH)

Marvel Comics’ hit comic book series about a league of mutants comes to the big screen this summer, and the film is exceptional. The movie centers on Rogue and Wolverine, following their initiation into the league of X-Men, and remains mostly faithful to the comic book series. This action flick lives up to expections while providing smart commentary on the issues of prejudice and injustice in today’s culture. -- Jumaane Jeffries