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August 21, 2009|By Chris Kaltenbach

(500) Days of Summer: *** ( 3 STARS) The opening insists this movie is not a love story, and maybe that's right. Maybe it's more about timing than love. But that time-worn emotion, not to mention maturity, grace and wonder, all play key roles in this engaging variation on the relationship film, featuring finely nuanced performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt (whose character, Tom, is ready for a relationship) and Zooey Deschanel (whose character, Summer, isn't). OK, it's too cute at times, and the ending is a bit of a feel-good sellout, but much of the movie (including the year's best musical number) is perceptive, honest and even daring.

- Chris Kaltenbach

Opening next Friday

Halloween 2: (The Weinstein Co.) Director Rob Zombie returns to remake the second chapter in the classic horror franchise. With Malcolm McDowell and Scout Taylor-Compton.

Taking Woodstock: (Focus Features) A man working at his parents' motel in the Catskills inadvertently sets in motion the generation-defining concert in the summer of 1969. With Demetri Martin and Jonathan Groff.

Release dates are subject to change.

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