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The Red Sneakers

A clumsy young math whiz at an east Brooklyn high school (Dempsey Pappion) suddenly finds himself on the cusp of college baetball stardom, thanks to a magical pair of canvas high-tops that turn him into an air walker. For a teen transformation fantasy, this video feature takes some surprisingly sharp jabs at the packaging of […]

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The Web of the Witch

Kids can handle a lot more than we think, but this nightmarish Indian production—complete with claw-fingered abductions, bowls of blood, and a homicidal butcher—might appeal more to the Dario Argento set. A spunky young troublemaker is forced to confront the evil lurking on the outirts of her village after her sister is turned into a […]

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Tadpole

Sharply observed Manhattanites, with their books and wineglasses and articulated hang-ups, offer a welcome distraction from the underdeveloped sex comedy at the heart of this thin but casual DV feature by Gary Winick (producer of Tape). A Voltaire-quoting prep school student well on his way to premature ennui (Aaron Stanford) heads home for the Thanksgiving […]

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Monsoon Wedding

Comedies about brides with cold feet predictably vindicate the women’s doubts. Here more doubts than usual might seem justified: the marriage is arranged, and the groom is an American stranger arriving in New Delhi just days before the ceremony. But director Mira Nair makes you want the couple to hash things out before it’s too […]

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Mr. Deeds

Adam Sandler adapts his sweet-natured doofus shtick to this remarkably faithful remake of Frank Capra’s 1936 rube-in-the-big-city comedy Mr. Deeds Goes to Town—which suggests that Capra may have invented dumb movies before their time. The new version, directed by Steven Brill, inflates Deeds’s inherited windfall into the billions, but he still gets his innocent kicks […]

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Life or Something Like It

Leaving Lara Croft: Tomb Raider behind her, Angelina Jolie goes for blond, playing a happy-talk TV news reporter whose careerist attitude is shaken when a street prophet tells her she’ll die within a week. In the hands of Preston Sturges, this could have been the basis for some snappy mordant comedy, but Stephen Herek (Mr. […]

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The Other Side of Heaven

Blurring the line between fact and faith, this dramatization of Mormon leader John Groberg’s three years as a missionary in Tonga suffers from suspense-killing righteousness. The teenage messiah revives a dead native boy, cures members of his flock of smoking and drinking (sometimes in a single take), and makes short work of the language barrier, […]