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box office

October 24, 2008

Max Payne

* 1/2 ( 1 1/2 Stars)

$17.6

million

$17.6 million

1 week

Rated: R

Running time: 100 minutes

What it's about: Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg, above), a former New York lawman, now the chief librarian of his precinct's cold-case files, chases the most frigid case of all: the murder of his wife and infant child.

Our take: You can forgive the slow-mo bullet effects since they're endemic to the genre. What kills Max Payne is that the characters think in slow motion.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua

* 1/2 ( 1 1/2 Stars)

$11.4

million

$69.3 million

3 weeks

Rated: PG

Running time: 91 minutes

What it's about: A spoiled Chihuahua named Chloe (voice of Drew Barrymore) gets dognapped and taken to Mexico City, where some newfound friends (including a German shepherd named Delgado) try to help her and her million-dollar Harry Winston collar get home.

Our take: Lots of talking dogs, little of anything else.

The Secret Life of Bees

*** 1/2 ( 3 1/2 Stars)

$10.5

million

$10.5 million

1 week

Rated: PG-13

Running time: 111 minutes

What it's about: A motherless white girl (Dakota Fanning) seeks a refuge from her abusive father with her surrogate mother (Jennifer Hudson, above) in the home of the black Boatwright sisters.

Our take: The film's honest emotions keep it from getting too sappy, and the performances of Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo as the Boatwright sisters give it substance.

W.

* 1/2 ( 1 1/2 Stars)

$10.5

million

$10.5 million

1 week

Rated: PG-13

Running time: 131 minutes

What it's about: The film portrays the greatest flops of George W. Bush (Josh Brolin, above), a washout as a student and a president but brilliant as a frat boy.

Our take: The movie plays like a dunk-the-clown game at a carnival. Through intent or ineptitude, director Oliver Stone sets up the Bush family and administrations as caricatures.

Eagle Eye

** 1/2 ( 2 1/2 Stars)

$7.0

million

$81.0 million

4 weeks

Rated: PG-13

Running time: 118 minutes

What it's about: A mysterious woman who seems able to control any electronic device coerces an aimless slacker (Shia LaBeouf) and a single mother (Michelle Monaghan, above) into implementing a plot that may bring down the U.S. as we know it.

Our take: It's moderately gripping, but, too often, watching this movie is like seeing someone else crack a jigsaw puzzle.

Body of Lies

*** ( 3 Stars)

$6.8

million

$24.4 million

2 weeks

Rated: R

Running time: 128 minutes

What it's about: Leonardo DiCaprio's (above) deceptively rugged CIA agent masterminds the capture of a new world-class terrorist despite the interference of his boss (Russell Crowe).

Our take: DiCaprio's Roger Ferris is an existential juggler throwing a fistful of knives up in midair - and DiCaprio doesn't drop a single blade. The movie is emotionally as well as intellectually gripping.

Quarantine

** ( 2 Stars)

$6.0

million

$24.5 million

2 weeks

Rated: R

Running time: 89 minutes

What it's about: A TV reporter (Jennifer Carpenter, above) and her cameraman are trapped in a CDC lockdown when a virus strikes residents of an L.A. apartment building.

Our take: There's no ground broken here and the dialogue is not memorable, but once the fur and fluids start flying, it does achieve a video-game-like enjoyability.

Nick & Norah's ... Playlist

** 1/2 ( 2 1/2 Stars)

$3.7

million

$26.5 million

3 weeks

Rated: PG-13

Running time: 90 minutes

What it's about: Two high school seniors (Michael Cera and Kat Dennings, above), who are meant for each other but don't know it, spend a long night searching for a cult band.

Our take: It contains some intelligent humor and high-SAT comedy as well as high jinks so crude they're really low jinks; the movie's attitude veers between hipper- and more-sensitive-than-thou.

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