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****: Inspired brilliance

***: Solid filmmaking

**: Mild entertainment

*: Embarrassing dreck

** Ice Age: The Meltdown

This sequel begins where “Ice Age,” the first film, left off; the animals have found a warmer paradise and discovered that the ice age is coming to an end. More appealing to a younger audience, “Meltdown” has a straightforward plot — and unlike recent animated features that dabble in pop culture — doesn’t require viewers to be hip to get a good laugh. Despite the second-class graphics and predictable story, the movie is filled with creative humor, and it accomplishes one goal with ease: entertainment. (Hendrata Dharmawan)

*** Lucky Number Slevin

A boss, a rabbi, a man in a purple-flowered towel, a cop, a perky neighbor, an assassin, and a missing friend: sounds like a recipe for total disaster. Somehow, though, this group of misfits comes together in one of the most brilliant films of the year. Director Paul McGuigan pieces together the stories of all these characters to make a disorienting dark comedy about a man who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time — all the time. In a strong male cast, Lucy Liu steals the show, and the superb acting is crucial; it makes this film come out just right. (Yong-yi Zhu)

**V for Vendetta

Three great things about Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s graphic novel “V for Vendetta” are that it’s a collection of brilliant character studies, it’s not like any other dystopian story, and the connection between the two main characters isn’t reduced to a cheap and hackneyed infatuation. In their movie adaptation, the Wachowski Brothers changed all that. Natalie Portman’s performance is memorable, a masked Hugo Weaving delivers his lines with great success, and as far as cinematography and special effects go, director James McTeigue doesn’t disappoint. However, it’s a far more difficult task to tell a good story, and this movie doesn’t. (Nivair H. Gabriel)

Compiled by Nivair H. Gabriel