New Reviews

Dance of the doomed

There are no recommendations this week.

See "Built to Spill." (Landmark's Westside Pavilion, West LA; HDNet Movies, Fri., 5:30 & 8 p.m.; on sale Tues. on DVD)

See "Don't Know Smack." (Edwards University, Irvine)

It isn't as if the first Van Wilder set any kind of high standard for comedy to begin with, but the National Lampoon folks don't care. They have, after all, foisted on us such unique cinematic tortures as Barely Legal and Gold Diggers in the past few years, so why not a sequel that subtracts the only good thing about the first movie, Ryan Reynolds? When even Tara Reid won't come back, you know things can't be good. So Kal Penn, who should have done a Harold & Kumar sequel instead, gets elevated to dubious leading man status in this laugh-free campus "comedy" set in England and mostly shot in Romania. Will the awkward Indian lead the campus misfits to an unlikely victory over the elitist frat boys? Will he get the girl? Will there be yet more jokes involving dog semen? Will you enjoy yourself? The answers: Yes, yes, yes, and hell no. (Luke Y. Thompson) (Countywide)

See "The Passion of the Christ: A Very Special Episode." (Countywide)

It doesn't come as much of a surprise when the hot babes and ripped studs of Turistas are strapped to a table and gutted like pigs. The trailer dropped more than a hint, and the movie itself begins with a montage of bound wrists, dilated pupils, and the molestation of various quivering innards. Let this serve as a warning to those who suppose the following hour of hot young white people frolicking on the beaches of Brazil will come at no cost. The tourists of Turistas (Josh Duhamel, Olivia Wilde, and Melissa George among other disposables) must pay for something, sexuality and stupidity being the typical downfalls of the horror film hottie. As written by Michael Ross and directed by John Stockwell, they might just have well have been neutered philosophers since the conspiracy to harvest their organs is masterminded by a demented surgeon (Miguel Lunardi) exacting payback on behalf of third world misery. Given the dullness of the protagonists and the heavy dose of anesthetic administered during the operations, that's not an entirely unsympathetic cause, and though Turistas eventually bogs down in an underlit mess, it more or less scratches the neo-exploitation itch. Bonus point for best tagline of the year: "Go Home." (Nathan Lee) (Countywide)


Sat., 7 or 7:30 p.m. (Countywide)

Sat., 7 or 7:30 p.m. (Countywide)

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