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"L.I.E."; "My First Mister"; "On The Line"; "13 Ghosts" 

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!B! "L.I.E."!B! "My First Mister"!B! "On The Line"!B! "13 Ghosts"

Movies are rated out of a possible 5 popcorns.




"L.I.E." — Rated NC-17 simply for its theme of pedophilia, this feature debut from Michael Cuesta is one of the year's most provocative and disturbing films. Never mind that there's no on-screen sex, graphic or otherwise, to be found, the rating sticks. At the heart of Cuesta's brave but deeply flawed first effort is the relationship between a 15-year-old Howie (Paul Franklin Dano) and a predatory older man (Brian Cox). The two meet when Howie breaks into Big John's (Cox) house. What follows is an intriguing, ever-shifting game of hunter/hunted vs. platonic buddy/mentor hardiness. Cox and Dano handle the two contradictory themes with incredible skill. Only Cuesta drops the ball, giving us a cheesy conclusion that we can smell heading our way like a ball of Limburger.






"My First Mister" — The year of Leelee continues with Sobieski starring in yet another interesting but ultimately disappointing movie. But for once, it's not Sobieski who walks away with the acting kudos in this tearjerker romance that jerks just too hard. Albert Brooks is definitely the reason to catch this lopsided romance. He's a grumpy store manager; she's an alienated teen who needs a job and someone to love. Jill Franklyn's hackneyed script starts out over-the-top and continues to grate as it escalates.






"On The Line" — If you're not a female between the ages of 9 and 15, stop reading now! Trust me, there is nothing to interest you in this vain star vehicle for two members of the waning boy band 'N Sync. A youthful take on "Sliding Doors" meets "Serendipity," 'N Sync-er Lance Bass is an ad exec who fails miserably with the ladies. After he spends a magical commute with the lovely Emmanuelle Chriqui and doesn't get her name or number, he and his buds (including fellow 'N Sync-er Joey Fatone) scour Chicago tracking her down. For serious 'N Sync fans only.






"13 Ghosts" — This haunted-house thriller may be gruesome enough and certainly loud enough, but when the best thing is the set design, horror fans know they're in trouble. Tony Shalhoub and "American Pie's" Elizabeth Shannon star in this remake of the 1960s B-movie horror cult classic as a father and daughter who inherit this demonic behemoth of a house. Once widowed Shalhoub moves his brood in, all sorts of creepy, bloody things transpire. But we don't ever really learn enough about the characters to feel their fear. So when the Bogeymen come, who cares?

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