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What's new in entertainment

A look at what's new in movies, books, music, television, video games and DVDs for the weekend.



Adapted from a short story by Stephen King, "1408" stars John Cusack as skeptical writer named Mike Enslin who spends the night in a supposedly haunted New York hotel room for a book he's writing on ghosts and paranormal events, despite the protestations of the hotel's grim manager (Samuel L. Jackson). Once he's in the room, Enslin realizes the legends were right and he's in genuine danger from an unseen, malevolent entity. With Mary McCormack. Directed by Mikael Hafstrom. Released by Dimension Films. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"A nifty Stephen King horror film (that) downplays the gore in favor of less predictable chills."

-Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter

"It's a surprisingly effective movie."

-Robert Wilonsky, The Village Voice


A sequel of sorts to the 2003 comedy "Bruce Almighty" has Steve Carrell reprising his role as beleaguered TV anchor-turned-congressman Evan Baxter, who has been chosen by God (Morgan Freeman) to fulfill an important mission: Build an ark and fill it with animals, just like Noah. Naturally, his family and friends worry that Evan has lost his mind. With Lauren Graham, Wanda Sykes, Ed Helms and John Goodman. Directed by Tom Shadyac. Released by Universal. Rated PG.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"'Evan Almighty' runs out of comic invention early, and the filmmakers fall back on what real politicians do when they exhaust their small stash of ideas: brainless piety."

-David Edelstein, New York Magazine

"The message is so good-hearted, so inarguable, so dull."

-Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly


Angelina Jolie stars in this drama about Daniel Pearl (Dan Futterman), the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and killed in Pakistan in 2002. Jolie stars as Pearl's widow Mariane, who wrote the memoir on which the movie is based. With Will Patton, Sajid Hasan and Irfan Khan. Directed by Michael Winterbottom. Released by Paramount Vantage. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"The film's strict avoidance of exploitation and sensationalism only adds to the film's emotional impact."

-Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"Winterbottom's aversion to sentimentality doesn't mean you won't be moved by 'A Mighty Heart'."

-David Ansen, Newsweek

OPENING IN LIMITED RELEASE (check local listings):


A group of New Zealanders battle genetically mutated killer sheep in this gore-soaked horror comedy. It's not just that the mutant animals are hostile and have razor-sharp teeth - their bite turns people into killer sheep as well. Starring Nathan Meister, Danielle Mason, Peter Feeney, Tammy Davis and Oliver Driver. Directed by Jonathan King. Released by IFC Films. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"There is no such thing as an unfunny cutaway to a sheep."

-J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

"(An) endearingly amusing horror pic."

-Jay Weissberg, Variety


An alcoholic hit man named Frank (Ben Kingsley) tries to kick the bottle by relocating to San Francisco and attending AA meetings in this dark comedy from director John Dahl ("Red Rock West," The Last Seduction"). Things start looking up for Frank when he finds a girlfriend (Teo Leoni) and an AA buddy (Luke Wilson), but some rival mobsters from back home still want him dead. With Bill Pullman, Philip Baker Hall and Dennis Farina. Released by IFC Films. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"Yet another hilarious cinematic depiction of a professional hit man's angst."

-Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

"(A) precious, inert dud of a hitmen-are-people-too comedy. "

-Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment weekly


"Black Snake Moan"

An aging bluesman (Samuel L. Jackson) who's just been abandoned by his wife finds a young woman (Christina Ricci) bruised and unconscious near his home. He takes in the young woman, chains her up and decides he's going to reform her of her wicked ways, no matter what. With Justin Timberlake, S. Epatha Merkerson and John Cothran. Directed by Craig Brewster ("Hustle and Flow"). Released by Paramount Home Video. Rated R. Available June 26.

"High School Musical: The Concert"

Stars Corbin Bleu, Vanessa Anne Hudgens and Ashley Tilsdale take the stage to perform numbers from the phenomenally popular Disney Channel musical. Released by Walt Disney Video. Not rated. Available June 26.

"La Jetee" & "Sans Soleil"

A set containing two remarkable works by the elusive French filmmaker Chris Marker. "La Jetee" is a 24-minute science-fiction film told hauntingly with still photographs and sound; "Sans Soleil" is a feature-length documentary hybrid that combines images filmed around the world with narration by a fictional character who muses on the workings - and erasing - of memory. Released by Criterion Collection. Not rated. Available June 26.

"Land of the Pharaohs"

The great Howard Hawks produced a rare dud with this campy potboiler set in ancient Egypt about a scheming queen (Joan Collins) who plots to do away with the pharaoh (Jack Hawkins) and take his vast kingdom and riches. But since she's a foreigner by birth, she's got some harsh lessons to learn about ancient Egyptian customs. Co-written by William Faulkner (!). With Dewey Martin and Alexis Minotis. Released by Warner Home Video. Not rated. Available June 26.

"Reno 911: Complete Fourth Season"

This two-disc set of the comedy Central show about a bunch of hilariously inept cops includes all the stuff that had to be edited for basic cable. Released by Comedy Central. Not rated. Available June 26.


An ex-military marksman (Mark Wahlberg) is coaxed back into service to help prevent the president's assassination, but before long he finds he's been framed for a crime and is the target of a nationwide manhunt. With Danny Glover, Michael Pena and Rhona Mitra. Directed by Antoine Fuqua. Released by Paramount Home Video. Rated R. Available June 26.


Note: Release dates subject to change

"The Bigs"

Another baseball game, but one that maker Take 2 Interactive promises will feel bigger than life. Published by Take 2 Interactive for Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360 and Sony PSP. Rated E. Available June 25.

"The Darkness"

Adapted from a comic book, this game has players control a young mobster who learns he has dark magical powers and that must use them if he is to gain control of his crime family. Published by 2K Games for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 360. Rated M. Available June 25.

"Driver: Parallel Lines"

A racing game set amid the New York underworld that incorporates violence and revenge into all the driving and crashing cars. Published by Atari for Nintendo Wii and PC (title already available for PlayStation 2). Rated M. Available June 26.

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"

Wield magic and defend Hogwarts against practitioners of the dark arts in this action game based on the upcoming movie. Published by Electronic Arts for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, Game Boy Advance and PC. Rated xx. Available June 25.


A fantasy-role playing game with a twisted sense of humor that features a main character who is simply evil and who controls an army of Minions, goblin-like creatures that are ready to do whatever awful thing the player asks. Published by Warner Home Video Games for Xbox 360 and PC. Rated T. Available June 26.


This game based on the upcoming animated film re-creates some of the film's comedic action scenes and gives players more than 20 missions and mini-games. Published by THQ for PlayStation 2, Sony PSP, Xbox, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, GameCube, Game boy Advance, Nintendo DS and PC. Rated E. Available June 25.


Ryan Adams, "Easy Tiger": Adams returns to a more mellow sound on his ninth album that features a guest appearance by Sheryl Crow. Released by Lost Highway. In stores June 26.

Beastie Boys, "The Mix Up": The boys are back with their first-ever album of original, purely instrumental songs. Released by Capitol. In stores June 26.

Marc Broussard, "S.O.S.: Save Our Soul": The young Louisiana singer offers his own versions of R&B classics from the likes of Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and Al Green. Released by Vanguard Records. In stores June 26.

Kelly Clarkson, "My December": The "American Idol" champ moves away from the pop-rock sound of her earlier albums for a rawer, more indie style. Released by RCA. In stores June 26.

"Hannah Montana, Vol. 2: Best of Both Worlds": A two-disc selection of songs from the popular Disney TV show for children. Released by Disney. In stores June 26.

Pearl Jam, "Live at the Gorge 05/06": A generous seven-disc set recorded from live performances that has the band playing a selection of songs that span their whole career. Released by Rhino/Wea. In stores June 26.

Rush, "Snakes & Arrows": The veteran rockers' first album of new material in more than five years. Released by Atlantic/Wea. In stores June 26.

Sinéad O'Connor, "Theology": The Irish singer's new album features two discs of the same material. One disc, the "London Sessions," features a full-band arrangement with numerous instruments, while the "Dublin Sessions" offers a sparer, acoustic performance of the same material. Released by Koch Records. In stores June 26.

Andre Previn, "Alone: Ballads for Solo Piano": the legendary composer, conductor and musician returns his early love of jazz piano with these renditions of popular ballads. Released from Decca U.S. In stores June 26.


All times are EDT/PDT.

Monday, June 25

"Semper Fi: One Marine's Journey": Writer-performer Jeff Key recounts his experience as a gay soldier in the Marines and the war in Iraq. 8:30 p.m., Showtime.

Wednesday, June 27

"Paul Simon: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song": The singer-songwriter is honored in this event that includes guest appearances by Art Garfunkel and Marc Anthony 9 p.m., PBS.

"Rescue Me": Tommy's girlfriend (Jennifer Esposito) is intimidating him, and he's still got problems with that arson investigation that could land him in jail. 10 p.m., FX.

Thursday, June 28

"Burn Notice": Jeffrey Donovan of "Crossing Jordan" plays a cashiered CIA agent who takes on work as a private detective in this new series. 10 p.m., USA.

"Hey Paula": A reality show about the reality-challenged co-host of TV's "American Idol." 10 p.m., Bravo.


Stephen L. Carter, "New England White": The new novel from "The Emperor of Ocean Park" concerns a murder that divides a new England town and causes trouble for two African-American academicians who are also husband and wife. Published by Knopf. In stores June 26.

Jon Katz, "Dog Days: Dispatches from Bedlam Farm": The author and host of radio's "Dog Talk" recounts his experiences living on a farm with a menagerie of animals. Published by Random House. In stores June 26.

Lisa See, "Peony in Love": A Chinese girl's love of opera and one man manage to survive death in 17th-century China. Published by Random House.