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The Recruit, Final Destination 2, Biker Boyz, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Darkness Falls


Farrell plays James Clayton, a computer whiz-kid who's obsessed with the death of his father, who, he believes, wasn't an oil executive but a spy killed in action. Rumpled CIA recruiter Walter Burke (Pacino) uses James' belief to bring the MIT grad into the company. As James' training continues, Burke also uses James' attraction to a fellow student (Bridget Moynahan) to test him. The attraction turns mutual just about the time Burke sends James on a mission to weed out a mole among his CIA-wannabe classmates. ***

"Final Destination 2" — Horror-freaks over the age of 16 just might get a kick out of this sequel to "Final Destination," a surprise hit in 2000. Brimming with dopey dialogue, blatantly obvious foreshadowing and acting so marginal it's laughable, "FD-2" strictly hews to the conventions of the "supernatural force is trying to get you" genre. It also offers up a bevy of bone-crushing, bloody ways to die, including being flattened by a falling sheet of safety glass; impaled by all manner of sharp, pointy objects; and being burned and blown up in protracted slow-motion highway wrecks. In the original, a teen has a premonition that the plane carrying his class to Paris will crash. He and a few others get off. The plane does go down, but soon, those who managed to "cheat Death" begin to die in horrible, freak accidents. In the sequel, a college coed Kimberly (A.J. Cook) on a road trip with gal-pals, has a premonition about a terrible highway pileup and avoids it. Yet again, Death takes this slight personally and comes after the survivors. **

"Biker Boyz" — If it were possible to overdose on testosterone, this movie would come with a warning from the surgeon general about the dangers of said overdose. In addition to the mucho-macho action, there's also that irritating hip-hop spelling for boys, that hasn't worked since John Singleton's urban classic "Boyz in the Hood." Co-written by director Prince Bythewood and Craig Fernandez, the plot (so to speak) offers up hotshot teenage motorcycling aficionado named Kid (Derek Luke) who blames Smoke (Laurence Fishburne), a living legend on the Southern California biking scene, for the accidental death of his father. In no time, youth challenges age for the right to be called the fastest "gunned" engine in the West. Despite the near-constant roar of the cycles and the posturing, chest-thumping of the denizens of this racing demimonde, "Biker Boyz" can't quite make us forget we're watching a belabored attempt to bring the Old West shootout into the new millennium. **

"Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" — In his self-proclaimed "unauthorized autobiography," Chuck Barris not only describes the hit TV shows he created (from "The Dating Game" to "The Gong Show") but also the dangerous missions he supposedly carried out as a hired gun for the CIA. Barris claims to have killed 33 people. This very bizarre mix of career paths proves to be the perfect creative fodder for delightfully twisted scriptwriter Charlie Kaufman ("Being John Malkovich," "Adaptation") and debuting director George Clooney. The two never question Barris' claims, choosing instead to ride the obvious, inherent comic value. Which, in turn, gives the audience free rein either to embrace Barris' dueling careers or hoot heartily at the absurdity of it all. "Confessions" is made all the more enjoyable by Sam Rockwell, who gives Barris just the right subtle edginess and nails the games show host's trademark mannerisms. Although the better-known Julia Roberts shows up as a CIA femme fatale suffering from acute ennui, it's Drew Barrymore who steals the show. She's wonderfully suited as the sweet-natured, long-suffering co-passenger on Barris' wild ride of a life. ****

"Darkness Falls" — In this ham-fisted horror of a film, a kindly old lady mistakenly hanged 150 years ago in the town of Darkness Falls comes back as an evil tooth fairy. Apparently, before her unfortunate lynching, she used to give kids her spare change when they lost their baby teeth. But now she's back and angry. Her contemporary quarry is Kyle Walsh (Chaney Kley), who has been beset by nasty glimpses of the flying killer witch since his childhood. But director Jonathan Liebesman and his three "credited" screenwriters, rely solely on cheap scares to keep the story moving and the audience engaged. They succeed only briefly. Apparently, the concept of imaginative, sustained menace escapes

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