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Media That’s a wrap 

The low-down on this week’s premieres

Tales of inspiration dominate this weekend’s wide releases, beginning with Take the Lead, a PG-13, Stand and Deliver-style tale with tails and waltzes. Antonio Banderas stars as a professional ballroom dancer who volunteers to teach in a NYC public high school, only to find that his foxtrot will have to accommodate hip-hop.

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Antonio Banderas as “Pierre” and Anna Dimitrie Melamed as Pierre’s dance partner in Take the Lead.

The full-figured and fuller-mouthed Mo’Nique (Jazmin Biltmore) takes on the fashionistas’ fat-free reign of terror in Phat Girlz (PG-13), which one Imdb.com user tagged “A theatrical Facts of Life.” We were hoping for Project Runway sans the “no consorting with fellow cast members” clause.

Rob Schneider, David Spade, and Jon Heder channel their inner nerds for The Benchwarmers, yet another comedic take on the coordination-challenged and organized sports.

Current critic Steve Kellman says Lucky Number Slevin may star a slew of cool (Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Lucy Liu, and Ben Kingsley) but it’s too smarty-pants for the viewer’s good. `See review, page 26.` You could always stay in and rent Sexy Beast, Jonathan Glazer’s underappreciated 2000 gangster film starring Sir Ben as a truly frightening thug.

Santikos’s Bijou and Fiesta Regal are opening Thank You For Smoking, the much-anticipated satire of contemporary mores and consumer culture based on Christopher Buckley’s novel of the same name `read Cole Haddon’s interview with director Jason Reitman and Kellman’s review, page 25.`

Opening dates for limited-release films are tentative and can change at the last minute. Please check your local theater listings to confirm showtimes.


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