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Posted 7/28/2010

BRIGHTON ROCK Graham Greene's novel about a 1930s murder in the English resort town receives a suitably noirish screen adaptation in this 1947 thriller from director John Boulting. Adapted by Greene and London stage great Terence Rattigan, Brighton Rock follows entry-level young hoodlum Pinkie (a baby-faced Richard Attenborough), who keeps a straight razor in his suit pocket and has a self-preservationist's gift for manipulation. He's also a bit impetuous about murder--and committing one in the movie's first act sets the slowly noose-tightening plot into motion, which eventually involves young waitress Rose (Carol Marsh), the local crime kingpin Colleoni (Charles Goldner), and a brash local singer who sticks her nose into everybody's business (Hermione Baddeley). Harry Waxman's black-and-white location photography gives the movie a riveting sense of place--scenes at the racetrack and on the piers edge closer to vérité than noir--but Attenborough is the undisputed attraction here. Perhaps better known to young audiences as Jurassic Park's grandfatherly John Hammond--although to every Steve McQueen fan's inner teenage boy he will forever be the calm planner Bartlett from The Great Escape--Attenborough here is a master villain, Pinkie's Dirk Bogarde handsomeness veils an unnervingly calm ability to commit cold-blooded acts, and he even knows how to bring an eerie gravitas to Greene's Catholic seriousness. (Bret McCabe) At the Charles Theatre at noon July 31, at 7 p.m . Aug. 2, and 9 p.m . Aug. 5.

CATS AND DOGS: THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE This sequel to the 2001 family friendly flick continues the Bond-like spy game pitting felines vs. canines, which this time around follows the world domination plans of the titular wily cat (voiced by Bette Midler). James Marsden, Christina Applegate, Katt Williams, Neil Patrick Harris, and Nick Nolte (?!?!) lend their voices to the silliness. Opens July 30.

CHARLIE ST. CLOUD Igby Goes Down and 17 Again director Burr Steers helms this touchy-feely fantasy romance about the titular young man (Zac Efron), who survived the car wreck that killed his young brother who now kinda/sorta haunts Charlie. Based on the novel by Ben Sherwood. Opens July 30.

DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS Steve Carell and Zach Galifianakis star as two of the titular guests of honor in this remake of writer/director Francis Veber's 1998 The Dinner Game, where successful executives throw dinner parties to see who can bring the biggest idiot to the table. Directed by Meet the Parents/Fockers' Jay Roach. Opens July 30.

HOT TUB TIME MACHINE John Cusack plays the straight man in a quartet of unhappy hetero-male losers--Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke--who find themselves sent back in time to do what we've always wanted people to do when they go back in time: fuck shit up, man. Yes, it's disgusting and regrettable and totally fucking hilarious. (Joe MacLeod) At Fells Point's Broadway Pier July 28 at 8:45 p.m .

IT STARTED IN NAPLES Clark Gable and Sophia Loren co-star in Melville Shavelson's 1960 romantic comedy about a Philadelphia lawyer (Gable) who has to go to Naples to deal with his brother's affairs after a car accident claims his life. This includes a young son (Marietto Angeletti) being looked after by the sister (Loren) of his brother's wife, who also died in the crash. At the intersection of High and Stiles streets July 30 at 9 p.m .

KING KONG Frankenstein, Dracula, and, well, Germans all beat producer David O. Selznick to the monster-movie punch, but 1933's King Kong birthed both the Hollywood FX-driven creature feature and the scream queen, and everybody's inner adolescent boy has been anxiously thrilled ever since. Filmmaker Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) heads to the mysterious Skull Island in search of something fantastic to shoot and brings along his intended leading lady, Ann Darrow (the gloriously named Fay Wray). The movie man finds exactly what he's looking for in the titular giant ape that takes a liking to the fair-skinned beauty and instantly becomes a 20th-century metaphor. Though dated, King Kong is the streamlined benchmark by which all monster actioners (from Creature From the Black Lagoon to Jurassic Park) are measured. And if you can sift through all the inspired readings that have been extrapolated from this puppy--the racially xenophobic one about the big, black hijacked Other punished for trying to take our women, the Depression-era one about Kong's Empire State Building ascent as social climbing, the sexual one about Kong as the manifestation of man's animalistic lust for woman--you can sit back and enjoy one of Hollywood's undisputed B-lot classics. (BM) At the American Visionary Arts Museum July 29 at 9 p.m.

MAGIC EYE FILM SERIES The last installment curated by series founder Mary Helena Clark before she heads off to graduate school, this evening's lineup features a hearty dose of 1960s and '70s underground New York. In 1965, filmmakers Juan Drago and Bruce Torbet (who would go on to shoot Frank Henenlotter's indelible 1982 Basket Case) followed around pop art impresario Andy Warhol at his prolific midtown Factory for a few months, resulting in a 21-minute short documentary. But the highlights tonight are two shorts from film/performance bright star Jack Smith, whose 1963 Flaming Creatures remains one of underground cinema's most deserving of a DVD reissue. Tonight, Clark screens Smith's 1960 "Overstimulated," in which two men (Smith associates Jerry Sims and Bob Fleischner) don dresses and jump around in front of flickering TV sets, and "I was a Male Yvonne De Carlo," which features Smith himself starring as De Carlo, one of the actresses that Universal Pictures used to replace star Maria Montez, the queen of the escapist 1940s Technicolor adventures. Montez died in 1951, but Smith cast a drag queen named Mario Montez for Flaming Creatures in her honor. At the Red Room at Normal's Books and Records July 29 at 8:30 p.m.

TWILIGHT: NEW MOON Director Chris Weitz helms this installment in the movie adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's fantasy/romance novels starring Kristen Stewart, Billy Burke, Robert Pattinson, and Pattison's eyebrows. At Fells Point's Broadway Pier Aug. 4 at 8:45 p.m .

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