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THE FOLLOWING MOVIES ARE PLAYING THIS...

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

15 Minutes (H)

Writer/director John Herfeld’s police thriller substitutes trendy camera-style filmmaking over substance of content with predictable results. Robert DeNiro is dull and just goes through the motions as Eddie Flemming, a media-savvy homicide detective on the trail of two hapless criminals who have decided to videotape their crimes and sell them to the local tabloid news program. 15 Minutes falls flat. -- J. F. Graham

Blow Dry (H1 2)

As a national hairdressing contest invades a small town in Britain, ex-national champion Phil sharpens up his scissors for the fight of his life against his former rivals in Simon Beaufoy’s (The Full Monty) new movie, Blow Dry. Unfortunately, it is a feckless mish-mash of oddly restrained campiness, sappy sentimentality, and ’80’s-teen-movie rivalry. -- Jed Horne

Cast Away (HH)

All the physical courage and technical accomplishments of Cast Away are not enough to balance its unwieldy structure and make it anything but an extended catalogue of human misery. Just like the central Tom Hanks performance, it is courageous and elaborate -- and surprisingly joyless and little fun to watch. -- Vladimir Zelevinsky

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (HHH1 2)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a “wu xia” martial arts fantasy crossed with period romantic drama. It is a showcase for accomplished direction, stunning cinematography and special effects, and remarkable martial arts choreography. The most impressive aspect is the performance by a relative newcomer, Zhang Ziyi, who explodes on the screen like a force of nature. -- VZ

Down to Earth (HH1 2)

Chris Rock plays Lance Barton, an aspiring stand-up comedian who meets an untimely death. He strikes a deal with heavenly angels Keyes (Eugene Levy) and King (Chazz Palminteri) to be reincarnated as a rich, white business tycoon. Chris Rock plays his character with genuine enthusiasm and sincerity, and does not even utter a naughty word, conforming to the film’s PG-13 rating. -- Erik Blankinship

Hannibal (HH)

Compared to The Silence of the Lambs, this sequel is lacking lead Jodie Foster, director Jonathan Demme, and pretty much the point as well. Ridley Scotts directs by swooshing the camera around and the screenplay (David Mamet and Steven Zaillian, of all people) lurches unevenly. At least Anthony Hopkins still seems to have some fun. -- Rebecca Loh & VZ

Head Over Heels (H1 2)

A parody that wants to be a romantic comedy, Head Over Heels is a story about two normal people that fall for each other in the midst of the New York City fashion scene. Poorly acted and unnaturally developed, the movie may be considered funny at times, especially because of some laughable performances. If you have too much time to waste, you can go and watch it. -- Bogdan Fedeles

The Mexican (HH1 2)

The quest for a sought-after object is usually filled with excitement and heartbreaks along the way. The Mexican is filled with Julia Roberts, a gay kidnapper, and Mexican thieves. Overall it is a great comedy that is light on an action-packed plot and character development. Though full of laughs, the film will leave you wanting more. -- Jacob Beniflah

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (HHH)

The Coan brothers’ latest endeavor is clever, witty, and thoroughly enjoyable. With a stellar soundtrack, O Brother, Where Art Thou? is adapted from Homer’s Odyssey -- with a Coan brothers twist. George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson give excellent performances as three escaped convicts in the South. -- Annie S. Choi

Shadow of the Vampire (HH1 2)

Shadow of the Vampire is experimental director Elias Merhige’s fictionalized take on the creation of F. W. Murnau’s legendary (and amazingly enduring) 1922 silent classic Nosferatu, in which eccentric actor/vampire Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe) terrorizes the film crew, led by director F. W. Murnau (John Malkovich). Despite a brilliant performance by Dafoe, and a demonstrated mastery of recreating the look of early silent films, Shadow of the Vampire is only quasi-successful and somewhat undeveloped in its take on the nature of obsession and the vampy nature of artistic genius. -- JH

Snatch (HHH1 2)

Madonna’s new hubby Guy Ritchie, bolstered by the run-away success of his first feature film, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, can hardly be blamed for sticking to a successful formula -- take roughly six Tarantino-esque criminals, throw in a touch of wry British humor, and mix. This fantastically entertaining movie, which deftly mixes a botched diamond heist with the chaos of underground boxing, is a must-see, especially for anyone unfamiliar with Ritchie’s first film. -- JH

State and Main (HHH1 2)

The immovable object meets the irresistible force when small-town America collides with Hollywood in State and Main, the latest from writer/director David Mamet. State and Main contains a few really good one-liners and sight-gags, and a well-concocted story. The film brings together a talented group of actors (including William H. Macy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Alec Baldwin), bringing Mamet’s usually high-brow production ethos back down to earth. -- JH

Traffic (HHHH)

Stephen Soderbergh’s captivating docudrama of a film makes for a movie that transcends the “drug movie” genre. Eloquently written and perfectly acted, this movie is groundbreaking and definitely Oscar material. -- Devdoot Majumdar

You Can Count On Me (HHH1 2)

Winner of the 2000 Cannes’ Grand Jury Prize, this is a poignant film about a sister and a brother. Offering provocative writing, sincere acting and engaging editing, this film treats you like a friend who’s been inadvertently asked to sit in the living room as a family drama unfolds. The characters are real and their challenges tangible. -- EB