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Movies: 'Cassandra's Dream' (PG-13), 'Mad Money' (PG-13), '27 Dresses' (PG-13)
by: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures, "Mad Money"

Edited by Lee Williams

'Cassandra's Dream' (PG-13)

Woody Allen's latest also is one of his most peculiar, a somewhat tense but generally glum side street off the new avenue he opened with 'Match Point.'

Also set in London but in less swanky surroundings, this one concerns two financially strapped brothers (Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell) who agree to help their wealthy uncle (Tom Wilkinson) with a problem.

The solution is a desperate one that will benefit all three, if they can live with it.

It's a study of violent acts and moral compromises à la 'Match Point' and 'Crimes and Misdemeanors,' but more confined in both its scope and its unrelieved, grayish bleakness.

Atypically cast as the 'weak' brother (that is, the one who can't square things with his conscience), Farrell gives what is easily one of his best performances. His disintegration is a gripping and sympathetic contrast to the easy adjustments made by his brother and uncle.

But though Allen regulars will want to see it, the film as a whole never quite expands to the dramatic/mythic dimension suggested by the title.

- Pat Holmes

Fox Tower

'Mad Money' (PG-13)

Diane Keaton probably should just get her own sitcom so she can stop doing movies that play like pilots for one.

While last year's 'Because I Said So' was painful, this one is just sort of numbing in its clunkiness.

Keaton plays a formerly wealthy, never employed wife whose failed fortunes drive her to a janitorial position at a Federal Reserve bank, where she devises a plan to rip off bunches of about-to-be-shredded old currency.

She is joined by struggling single mom Queen Latifah and resident kook Katie Holmes, whose kookiness is so overplayed she might be auditioning for a Britney Spears biopic.

After all, Holmes has garnered more attention for her recent hairstyle changes than for her entire acting career, so …

But we digress. And you may seek egress long before these ought-to-be-shredded proceedings sputter to a conclusion that strains to have it every way possible.

- PH

Eastport, Clackamas Town Center, Broadway, Lloyd Mall, Hilltop, Division Street, Stark Street, Bridgeport

'27 Dresses' (PG-13)

Let's face it - you don't care about the plot of this movie. It's standard chick-flick fare, and if you're a sucker for chick flicks you'll go see it regardless. If you don't like chick flicks then you're already planning to avoid it - and you should definitely follow your instincts.

But in case you're curious: Katherine Heigl ('Knocked Up') plays a wedding-obsessed woman whose sister (Malin Akerman) snags the man she loves (Edward Burns) while a newspaper writer (James Marsden) contrives to write a story about Heigl's wedding obsession. Idiocy ensues.

Every stupid rom-com convention is dumbed down even further here, compounded by sluggish direction by Anne Fletcher (who directed 2006's more kinetic 'Step Up'), terrible acting, and a script that forces the likable Heigl to behave like a buffoon.

The only good thing about the film is 'Arrested Development's' Judy Greer as Heigl's best friend, but no matter how hard she tries she can't save this dreadful, dreadful waste of celluloid.

- Dawn Taylor

Eastport, Clackamas Town Center, Pioneer Place, Lloyd Center, Hilltop, Division Street, Stark Street, Bridgeport

Also new this week:

Living Room Theaters revisits a cautionary and chill-inducing classic from legendary director Stanley Kubrick. 'A Clockwork Orange,' Kubrick's iconic thriller from 1971, starts tonight.

A monthlong celebration of comedies continues over at the Laurelhurst, with Tim Burton's first mainstream hit, 'Pee-wee's Big Adventure.'

Also this weekend, director Peter Bogdanovich ('Paper Moon,' 'The Last Picture Show') chases down famed rocker Tom Petty in 'Runnin' Down a Dream' a documentary on the bristle-voiced singer-songwriter and his band the Heartbreakers.

The film is another sonic highlight of this year's Reel Music Festival, and shows at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at Whitsell Auditorium.

Monday, Jan. 21, the Clinton Street Theater screens the 1970 film 'King: A Filmed Record … Montgomery to Memphis,' a compilation of newsreel clips about and speeches by Martin Luther King Jr.

The landmark documentary (it has been selected for the Library of Congress' National Film Registry) includes the complete version of King's 'I Have a Dream' speech, and screens at 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.