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What's new in entertainment

A look at what's new in movies, books, music, television, video games and DVDs for the weekend.

MOVIES:

"THE CONDEMNED"

A man named Conrad (pro wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin) who's being held in a Central American prison is bought by a television producer and forced to participate in a reality show in which the contestants fight to the death. With Vinnie Jones and Rick Hoffman. Directed by Scott Wiper. Released by Lions Gate. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"(The movie) could use more humor, though it does have scattered unintentional laughs, particularly one late, solemnly admonishing speech about how those producing entertainment need to take responsibility for glorifying violence."

-Dennis Harvey, Variety

"This WWE Films enterprise should have been condemned to fight for space on the DVD shelves rather than be thrust upon unsuspecting moviegoers."

-Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter

"THE INVISIBLE"

A supernatural thriller about a teen (Justin Chatwin) who's trapped in limbo between life and death after a brutal attack. To return to life he must discover his attacker's identity, and it's not east playing sleuth when you're a ghost. With Marcia Gay Harden, Maggie Ma, Michelle Harrison and Christopher George Marquette. Directed by David S. Goyer. Released by Touchstone Pictures. Rated PG-13.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

This film was not available for review.

"KICKIN' IT OLD SKOOL"

After a break-dancing accident puts him into a coma for 20 years, a guy named Justin (Jamie Kennedy) finds his world has changed for the worse - his parents are deep in debt and his childhood sweetheart is now engaged to a jerk. To save the day, he must reunite his dance team and win $100,000 in a TV contest. With Michael Rosenbaum, Maria Mennous and Christopher Macdonald. Directed by Harv Glazer. Released by Yari Film Group. Rated PG-13.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

This film was not available for review.

"NEXT"

A psychic (Nicolas Cage) whose gift enables him to see several minutes into the future is lying low as a magician in Las Vegas when he's coerced by the government to help stop a nuclear attack on Los Angeles. Based on a short story by acclaimed science-fiction author Philip K. Dick. With Julianne Moore, Jessica Biel and Thomas Kretschmann. Directed by Lee Tamahori. Released by Paramount Pictures. Rated PG-13.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"Irresistible junk food."

-Jan Stuart, Newsday

"What starts out as a mildly diverting thriller blows itself to smithereens in the final reel."

-Justin Chang, Variety

OPENING IN LIMITED RELEASE (check local listings):

"DIGGERS"

On Long Island in 1976 a group of longtime friends cope with sudden loss and wonder if they're taking the right path in their lives as a corporation threatens to usurp the town's main livelihood, clam digging.Starring Paul Rudd, Maura Tierney, Ron Eldard, Josh Hamilton and Lauren Ambrose. Directed by Katherine Dieckmann. Released by Magnolia Pictures. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"'Diggers' is sensitive and insightful without ever being maudlin."

-Christy Lemire, The Associated Press

"(The movie) offers the undeniable pleasures of a well-observed, well-played modest seriocomedy."

-Dennis Harvey, Variety

"JINDABYNE"

A bunch of fishing buddies finds the body of a dead girl floating in their favorite fishing spot. When they decide to delay reporting the body until after they've finished their trio, they raise suspicions all over their home town in remote Australia. Starring Gabriel Byrne, Laura Linney, John Howard and Leah Purcell. Directed by Ray Lawrence. Released by Sony Pictures Classics. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"A coiled and enigmatic psychodrama that cements Australian director Ray Lawrence's standing as a fine, if not prolific, filmmaker."

-Megan Lehmann, The Hollywood Reporter

"A soberly, if sluggishly, crafted movie in which the bitterness never stops."

-J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

"SNOW CAKE"

A man (Alan Rickman) who's traumatized by the accidental death of a hitchhiker he picked up seeks out the woman's mother (Sigourney Weaver), an autistic recluse. With Carrie-Anne Moss and Callum Keith Rennie. Directed by Marc Evans. Released by IFC Films. Not rated.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"'Snow Cake' features one smart, pared-down performance. Unfortunately it's trapped in a stupid, overcrowded story."

-Stephen Witty, The Newark Star-Ledger

"The key dramatic moments feel as forced as they are predictable."-Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter

"WIND CHILL"

A college student (Emily Blunt) catches a ride home with a strange classmate who seems to be obsessed with her, and matters only get worse when a shortcut leaves them stuck in rural, snowy country. Soon they learn that over the years awful things have befallen travelers stranded in that same area, so the fun is really just starting. With Ashton Holmes, Martin Donovan and Ned Bellamy. Directed by Greg Jacobs. Released by TriStar. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

This film was not available for review.





VIDEO:

"Alpha Dog"

A group of low-level drug dealers (Justin Timberlake, Emile Hirsch and Shawn Hatosy) from L.A.'s privileged neighborhoods take a teen hostage when his hot-headed brother refuses to pay his debts. At first the teen hostage enjoys the decadent lifestyle of his kidnappers, but things take a tragic turn when the dealers wonder if they can afford to leave the kid alive. With Ben Foster, Sharon Stone and Bruce Willis. Directed by Nick Cassavetes. Released by Universal Home Entertainment. Rated R. Available May 1.

"Dreamgirls"

A big-screen version of the Broadway hit about a trio of women singers known as the Dreamettes who get their big break when asked to be the backup vocals for headliner James "Thunder" Early (Eddie Murphy). But fame and fortune exact a painful price, as always. Jennifer Hudson won a best support actress Oscar for a performance that included the show-stopping number "With Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles and Danny Glover. Directed by Bill Condon ("Gods and Monsters"). Released by Dreamworks Video. Rated PG-13. Available May 1.

"Happily Ever After"

An animated spoof of Brothers Grimm fairy tales about an evil stepmother who's trying to make unhappy endings for a bunch of well-known characters, including Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Prince Charming. Featuring the voices of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Patrick Warburton, George Carlin, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Andy Dick. Directed by Paul J. Bolger. Released by Lions Gate Films. Rated PG. Available May 1.

"The Hitcher"

A remake of the 1985 horror film, "The Hitcher" concerns a pair of college kids who pick up a hitchhiker (Sean Bean) one rainy night, a decision that turns bad because their passenger is a serial killer with some pretty nasty plans for them. With Zachary Knighton, Sophia Bush and Neal McDonough. Directed by Dave Meyers. Released by Universal Home Entertainment. Rated R. Available May 1.

"Little Children"

Kate Winslet, Jennifer Connelly and Patrick Wilson star in this darkly comic drama about suburban despair. Lonely wife and mother Sarah (Winslet) begins an affair with stay-at-home dad Brad (Wilson), who's supposed to be studying for the bar exam. Brad's wife Kathy begins to suspect her husband is having an affair, and matters are further compounded by the arrival in their community of a convicted sex offender (Jackie Earle Haley, who received an Oscar nomination for his wrenching performance). with Noah Emmerich and Kathy Adamson. Directed by Todd Field. Released by New Line Home Video. Rated R. Available May 1.

"Melrose Place - Season 2"

The second season of the 1990s show you were ashamed to watch is now a DVD set you'll be ashamed to own. Released by Paramount Home Video. Available May 1.

"Old Joy"

Two longtime pals - one successful and responsible, the other not - take a camping trip that casts painful light on the slow dissolution of their friendship in this independent drama. Starring Will Oldham, Daniel London and Tanya Smith. Directed by Kelly Reichardt. Released by Kino. Available May 1.





VIDEO GAMES:

"Heatseeker"

Pilot the latest modern fighter jets in air battles as you fight a dictator who controls a cache of nuclear weapons. The makers also say the game lets you see "results of your attack in all their devastating glory," which means lots of things get blown up nicely. Published by Codemasters for Nintendo Wii. Rated T. Available May 1.

"Legend of the Dragon"

A combat-action game based on the animated series that has players control one of 24 characters in story-based quests or other modes including Arcade, Training and Survival. Published by American Game Factory for Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2 and Sony PSP. Rated T. Available May 1.

"Supermom"

A simulation game that has players balance a career and family life and run a busy household. In other words, it's like many people's lives except it's supposed to be fun. Published by DreamCatcher Interactive for PC. Rated E. Available May 1.

"Travelogue 360 Paris"

An adventure game that has players tour virtual versions of Paris' most famous landmarks to find hidden objects, learn facts about the city and participate in numerous mini-games. Published by Activision for PC. Rated E. Available May 1.

"Winx Club: Join the Club"

Based on the hit animated series, this game allows players to guide each of the six Winx Club fairies in an effort to thwart an evil tyrant. Includes story-based mode and mini-games. Published by Konami for Sony PSP. Rated E. Available May 1.





MUSIC:

Tori Amos, "American Doll Posse": Amos takes on ideas of femininity through five different characters intended to represent sides of her personality. Released by Sony. In stores May 1.

Joan Armatrading, "Into the Blues": The singer-songwriter makes her first foray into blues with this disc of original songs. Released by Savoy Jazz. In stores May 1.

Dinosaur Jr., "Beyond": The original trio that comprised Dinosaur Jr. reunite for the indie rock band's first LP in nearly a decade. Released by Fat Possum. In stores May 1.

Angélique Kidjo, "Djin Djin": The Beninese singer celebrates a blending of African and Western music in this album that includes such collaborators as Carlos Santana, Alicia Keys, Joss Stone, Peter Gabriel, Ziggy Marley and Branford Marsalis. Released by Razor & Tie. In stores May 1.

Rush, "Snakes & Arrows": The veteran rock band returns with its first album of original material in nearly five years. Released by Atlantic/WEA. In stores May 1.

Blake Shelton, "Pure BS": Shelton seeks to cement his status as one of country music's rising stars with this mix of romantic ballads and good ol' honky-tonk. Released by Warner Bros./WEA. In stores May 1.

Various artists, "We All Love Ennio Morricone": A truly eclectic array of performers, from Bruce Springsteen to Metallica to Renee Fleming, take a crack at some favorite compositions by the Italian master responsible for the scores for such films as "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and "The Mission." Released by Sony. In stores May 1.





TV:

All times are EST/PST.

Sunday, April 29:

"The Simpsons": Bart's team seems poised to win the Little League championship - until Bart blows it. 8 p.m., Fox.

"Entourage": Things are already tense between Vince and his new agent. 10 p.m., HBO.

Monday, April 30

"24": Jack gets to be a sensitive therapist-type because Audrey may have post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Heroes": The show takes a look five years into the future, or at least five years into a future that could exist for the characters. 9 p.m., NBC.

Tuesday, May 1

"Newton's Dark Secrets": This "Nova" program looks at sir Isaac Newton's explorations of the Bible and experiments in the now-discredited field of alchemy. 8 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

"The Mormons": A "Frontline" presentation that delves into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one of the fastest-growing and most controversial religions in America. 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

Wednesday, May 2

"Lost": The survivors learn some surprising things about Oceanic Flight 815. 10 p.m., ABC.





BOOKS:

Michael Chabon, "The Yiddish Policeman's Union": The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" sets his latest novel in an alternate America following World War II. Alaska has been designated the homeland of the Jews, and a washed-up cop who lives in one of its major cities investigates the death of a neighbor that occurs seemingly without motive. Published by HarperCollins. In stores May 1.

Robert D. Hormats, "The Price of Liberty: Paying for America's Wars": Goldman, Sachs & Co. managing director Hormats looks at the high costs of waging war and how the current and previous administrations addressed the problem of raising the needed funds. Published by Henry Holt & Company. In stores May 1.

Barbara Kingsolver, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life": The author of the bestselling "The Poisonwood Bible" recounts her family's effort to grow their own food amid a community of organic farmers in Appalachia. Published by HarperCollins. In stores May 1.

Chuck Palahniuk, "Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey": A comic nightmare from the author of "Fight Club" about a man who intentionally spreads rabies through a violent, oppressive America of the future. Published by Doubleday. In stores May 1.

George Tenet, "At the Center of the Storm": The former CIA director recounts his years on the job and the intelligence community's attempts to battle al-Qaida before the Sept. 11 attacks. Published by HarperCollins. In stores May 1.

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