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The Italian Job

Posted 8/4/2010

THE BLIND SIDE Leigh Anne Tuohy's (Sandra Bullock) two kids go to a Christian school and so does quiet Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron). "Big Mike" has a charity sports scholarship, but it doesn't mean he has a real home. Leigh Anne takes him under her pink satin wing, and Big Mike slowly lets down his protective walls. It's not all Friday night lights once Michael hits the football field, as his already-established sports skills need coaching, just like he needs nurturing, to reach full potential. (Wendy Ward) At Fells Point's Broadway Pier Aug. 11 at 8:45 p.m .

G-FORCE Sam Rockwell, Penelope Cruz, Jon Favreau, and Tracy Morgan voice the guinea pig secret agents in this family-friendly flick. At the Enoch Pratt Free Library's Wheeler Auditorium Aug. 7 at 2 p.m .

THE ITALIAN JOB At first blush, it's hard to imagine why anyone would want to remake the 1969 original, a relatively obscure and very dated British caper comedy. But then again, it's most memorable for an over-the-top car-chase finale involving three Mini Coopers--the same cute lil' anti-SUVs that BMW reintroduced to the U.S. market in 2003, the same year as this remake. Fortunately, screenwriters Donna and Wayne Powers and director F. Gary Gray manage to peddle a fairly entertaining movie along the way. Charlie (Mark Wahlberg) is helping his mentor, John (Donald Sutherland), pull off One Last Job in Venice with the help of Seth Green doing his geeky comic-relief thing, Jason Statham doing his cocky Cockney-thug thing, and Mos Def doing his literate B-boy thing. As almost anyone will be able to see coming, Steve (a slumming Edward Norton) betrays the crew, who reassemble in Los Angeles to steal back the loot and exact revenge, with the help of John's daughter Stella (Charlize Theron), a hottie legal safecracker (whatever). Very little surprising happens, but the movie is just the sort of not-that-great but not-bad diversion that summer flicks so often fail to deliver. (Lee Gardner) At the intersection of High and Stiles streets Aug. 6 at 9 p.m .

IT ALWAYS RAINS ON SUNDAY Housefrau Rose (Googie Withers) leads a life of quiet desperation in a tatty corner of post-WWII London, barely making ends meet for older husband George (Edward Chapman) and teenage stepdaughters Vi (Susan Shaw) and Doris (Patricia Plunkett). Into this drab little existence bursts handsome bad boy Tommy (John McCallum), Rose's long lost true love, who just broke out of prison and needs a place to hide. Rose's hard choices and heartache form the core narrative of co-writer/director Robert Hamer's 1947 melodrama, but all manner of subplots and slices of hard-knock life play out under its pelting rain. Despite the grimy setting, It Always Rains on Sunday boasts some beautiful black-and-white cinematography (courtesy Douglas Slocombe), and all the humble little dilemmas build to a surprisingly energetic trainyard chase. Fans of the movies of Mike Leigh and Ken Loach shouldn't miss this little-seen forbearer. (Lee Gardner) At the Charles Theatre at noon Aug. 7, at 7 p.m . Aug. 9, and 9 p.m . Aug. 12.

JULIE AND JULIA Writer/director Nora Ephron tells the story of unconventional/famed culinary goddess Julia Child (Meryl Streep) becoming the cookbook-writing and TV-show kitchen legend people know and love alongside that of Julie Powell (Amy Adams), who conquers her existential crisis by cooking her way through Child's 1961 masterpiece Mastering the Art of French Cooking within one year: 524 recipes in 365 days. Streep's Julia has enthusiasm to spare, but the 29-year-old Julie is a bitch--contained and humorless much of the time, at odds with her husband when there doesn't appear to be a reason, cooking calms her down as she senses a purpose her life suddenly has. Ephron bounces between these two stories, their connectedness and differences, during a pivotal time in their lives and careers. (WW) In Mount Vernon Place West Park Aug. 4 at 8:30 p.m .

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN Penny Marshall's 1992 comic mash note to wartime professional women's baseball stars Geena Davis, Madonna, Lori Petty, Rosie O'Donnell, Megan Cavanagh, Anne Ramsay, and Bitty Schram as competitive athletes in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Yes, it can be hokey and sentimental, but it's also a frequently entertaining sports joint. At the American Visionary Arts Museum Aug. 5 at 9 p.m.

MONDO BALTIMORE The film series devoted to the top shelf of the absolute worst shouts it out loud tonight with its Kiss-centric lineup. First up, the Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad presents "Kiss Interviews," a collection of perhaps inebriated members of the 1970s make-up rockers being interviewed. That's followed up with 1986's Never Too Young to Die, in which John Stamos and Vanity team up to try to thwart Gene Simmons' plan to poison the water supply. Stamos is a gymnast, Vanity is the assistant to Stamos' character's super-spy father, and Simmons is a transsexual. No, really. At the Windup Space Aug. 5 at 6:30 p.m .

THE OTHER GUYS Writer/director Adam McKay and actor Will Ferrell's latest collaboration pairs Ferrell with Mark Wahlberg as a duo of wannabe top cops. If it sounds familiar, it's because this was called Cop Out when it came out five months ago. Opens Aug. 6.

STEP UP 3-D Third installment in the set-in-Baltimore teen-dance flicks brings back the Step Up's bit player Alyson Stoner--better known as the funky white girl in those Missy Elliott videos--and Step Up 2: The Streets' Adam Sevani and Harry Shum Jr. and ships them off to New York for some hip-hop dance-offs. Opens Aug. 6.

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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