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February 15, 2008

"Caramel" Director/co-writer/star Nadine Labaki sets her bustling cast in a Beirut beauty shop to act out familiar melodramas. In a culture where female sexuality is problematic at best, how's a woman supposed to feed both body and heart? Through makeovers, support, and necessary lies, Labaki curtly answers. In Arabic and French, with subtitles. (95 min., PG) (Ty Burr)

"Fool's Gold" Nothing works in this would-be adventure-romance about a himbo treasure hunter (Matthew McConaughey), his soon-to-be ex wife (Kate Hudson), and the hundreds of millions of dollars in ancient treasure they stop squabbling long enough to find. With Donald Sutherland as a rich guy with a boat, Alexis Dziena as his spoiled daughter, and bodies of water that, under the garbagey circumstances, may as well be colored with 2000 Flushes. (110 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

"4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days" Writer-director Cristian Mungiu creates a paradox: a bleak tale of illegal abortion that powerfully affirms one's faith in people. Anamaria Marinca plays a tough-skinned college student helping her friend (Laura Vasiliu) procure a "termination" in a culture that treats men like dirt and women like even less. As the heroine's day becomes thankless in ways almost impossible to comprehend, she becomes strangely purified. In Romanian, with subtitles. (113 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

"Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour" For much of last year, the hottest act on the pop music circuit wasn't U2 or Bruce but Miley Cyrus, the 15-year-old actress-singer who plays Hannah Mon tana on the eponymous Disney Channel series. Now comes a 3D movie version of the stage show. One's opinion of it may depend more on age and parental status than exposure to other rock-concert films. But there's no denying the film delivers on its promise. (74 min., G) (Joseph P. Kahn)

"In Bruges" What are two Irish hitmen (Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell) doing doing in Belgium's most well-preserved medieval city? Hiding out after a job goes south, waiting to hear from their gangster boss (Ralph Fiennes, sleek and nasty), and soaking up culture against their better instincts. Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, writing and directing his feature debut, slums with style. (107 min., R) (Ty Burr)

"Jumper" Android actor Hayden Christensen plays a guy whose teleportation powers land him in the persecuted half of an eons-long war - headed up by Samuel L. Jackson in a silver haircut. Sigh. Doug Liman directs this ordinary action movie in search of franchisehood. The small, scientific details in this movie are rather cool. But the action sequences would be a lot better if we cared about the characters or the actors playing them. (88 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

"Persepolis" Marjane Satrapi's adaptation of her tale about growing up in revolutionary Iran and hedonistic Europe is absurdly entertaining when it's not breaking your heart. The story filters questions about identity and homeland through sardonic feminism and the immediacy of good comic art. In French, with subtitles. (95 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

"Step Up 2 the Streets" A so-so sequel to the so-so 2006 Channing Tatum hit "Step Up." This time it's love between a b-girl (Briana Evigan) and a rich-boy heartthrob (Robert Hoffman). The movie has an instant-messenger title, a text-message story, and camera-phone cinematography. Some people won't know whether to watch it or hold it up to their ear. The dancing, meanwhile, is sometimes ingenious. (98 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

"Taxi to the Dark Side" Alex Gibney's military-torture documentary travels the legal-moral avenues of modern interrogation, from the floors of Bagram Air Base's prison in Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib in Iraq, and the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay to the Pentagon, which allegedly sanctioned the cruel and unusual means of intelligence gathering. Some of these facts have been covered elsewhere, but so much of the film's extraordinary potency is visual. The sustained shots of photos from, say Abu Ghraib, highlight the evil glow in the soldiers' faces, like an X-ray does bones. The victims have been dehumanized. But their abusers have been, too. (104 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

"Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show" In September 2005 the star of "Wedding Crashers" picked four stand-up comedians, invited some friends, and set out on a monthlong rolling revue through the heartland. The resulting tour film can't make up its mind whether to be a document or a documentary; it's unfocused but amiable. (105 min., R) (Ty Burr)

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