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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:

OPENED WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4

"ARE WE DONE YET?"

This sequel to the family comedy "Are We There Yet?" has Nick (Ice Cube) taking his new wife (Nia Long) and her kids to the country to escape the stressful city life. The house Nick buys proves to be a fixer-upper, and soon he's tangling with a bizarre contractor (John C. McGinley of "Scrubs") as the renovation becomes an aggravation. With Aleisha Allen and Philip Daniel Bolden. Directed by Steve Carr. Released by Columbia Pictures. Rated PG.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"A feeble fable of better parenting through home improvement."

-Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

"If only someone had thought to fix the script."

-Claudia Puig, USA Today

"FIREHOUSE DOG"

A celebrity dog named Rex bolts from the movies and winds up in an urban firehouse, where a fireman's son takes a shine to him. The well-trained and athletic Rex proves he's got serious skills when it comes to saving people, but soon his old masters come looking for him. Starring Josh Hutcherson, Bruce Greenwood and Bill Nunn. Directed by Todd Holland. Released by 20th Century Fox. Rated PG.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"A dog star is born in (this) wonderful new family movie."

-Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"'Firehouse Dog' isn't quite the equivalent of the 1999 talking-infant bomb 'Baby Geniuses,' but at times it's close enough for discomfort."

-Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

OPENING FRIDAY, APRIL 6

"GRINDHOUSE"

A double feature of horror films directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino that pays homage to the days of "grindhouses," low-rent theaters that played grubby exploitation films. Rodriguez's "Planet Terror" pits a stripper with a machine-gun leg against a horde of zombies. Tarantino's "Death-Proof" has Kurt Russell as "Stuntman Mike," a serial killer who dispatches his victims with a muscle car until he meets a group of women determined to stop him. Includes cheesy, tongue-in-cheek fake movie trailers. With Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Rosario Dawson, Marley Shelton and Josh Brolin. Released by Dimension Films. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"It summons the most crackerjack pop charge of any movie with Tarantino's name on it since 'Pulp Fiction'."

-Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

" I don't feel guilty about calling 'Grindhouse' a pleasure."

-Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"THE REAPING"

Hilary Swank stars in this horror film about an ex-minister who spends her time debunking miracles when she's called to a rural Louisiana town, where strange things suggest that God is punishing the town Old Testament-style. With David Morse, Idris Elba and Stephen Rea. Directed by Stephen Hopkins. Released by Warner Bros. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"'The Reaping' proves that you reap what you sow, and what these particular screenwriters have sown is just another word for manure."

-Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune

"(The movie) resorts to the standard cheap thrills: cold-sweat nightmares, creaking doors, candles that mysteriously burn out, etc."

-Justin Chang, Variety

"THE TV SET"

A writer (David Duchovny) sees his latest sitcom pilot slowly get changed by an uncomprehending network led by an ambitious executive (Sigourney Weaver) in this satire about the TV industry and the creative compromises it demands. With Judy Greer, Justine Bateman and Ioan Gruffudd. Directed by Jake Kasdan. Released by ThinkFilm. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"Deftly calibrated and acted with relish."

-David Edelstein, New York Magazine

"Kasdan should have the expertise to write a backstage exposé of the TV industry. This one simply isn't funny."

i>-Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com

OPENING IN LIMITED RELEASE (check local listings):

"THE HOAX"

Richard Gere stars in this drama based on a true story about author Clifford Irving, a writer who sold a tell-all biography of Howard Hughes to a big publishing house in the 1970s, only to discover he'd been manipulated by the reclusive Hughes into telling lies about the billionaire's dealings with the Nixon administration. With Michael J. Burg, Julie Delpy, Hope Davis and Marcia Gay Harden. Directed by Lasse Hallström. Released by Miramax Films. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"A provocative and blackly comic portrait of a con artist who is ultimately a pawn in a much larger and more intricate conspiracy than even he can fabricate."

-David Ansen, Newsweek

"(Director) Hallstrom cleverly blends the details of Irving's hoax with the American need to believe the tallest of tales."

-Peter Travers, Rolling Stone





VIDEO:

"American Idol Unauthorized"

An unofficial (and uncensored) look at "American Idol" that features audition tapes, revealing backstage footage and interviews with contestants. Released by Medialink Ent. LLC. Not rated. Available April 10.

"Bobby"

Emilio Estevez directed this drama about the many guests, workers and campaign volunteers at Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel on the night that Robert F. Kennedy was shot in 1968. The large cast includes William H. Macy, Anthony Hopkins, Sharon Stone, Demi Moore, Elijah Wood, Harry Belafonte and Martin Sheen. Released by The Weinstein Company. Rated R. Available April 10.

"How William Shatner Changed the World"

Who could resist a title like that? First broadcast on the Discovery Channel, this 90-minute documentary looks at how the ideas and technology of "Star Trek" influenced scientists and changed our conception of the future. Released by Allumination. Not rated. Available April 10.

"Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple"

A portrait of Peoples Temple, a commune that mixed religion with ideas about social justice before its leader, Rev. Jim Jones, led his followers to death in the jungles of Guyana. Directed by Stanley Nelson. Released by PBS Paramount. Not rated. Available April 10.

"Scooby Doo, Where Are You! - The Complete Third Season"

The talking Great Dane, his buddy Shaggy and the rest of the gang solve more supernatural-tinged crimes perpetrated by men who would have gotten away if it wasn't for those meddling kids. Released by Turner Home Entertainment. Not rated. Available April 10.

"Steven Wright: When the Leaves Blow Away"

This disc showcases the singular talent of the sleepy-voiced, deadpan comedian with a live 2006 performance filmed in Toronto, a 1988 peformance in Boston and a short film, plus other materials. Released by Image Entertainment. Not rated. Available April 10.

"The Streets of San Francisco - Season 1, Vol. 1"

A set of episodes of the hit cop show from the 1970s that paired Karl Malden as a veteran detective with Michael Douglas as his young, idealistic partner. Released by Paramount Home Video. Not rated. Available April 10.

"The Untouchables"

The first season of the crime drama that had federal ageny Elliot Ness taking on Chicago's underworld includes guest appearances by Peter Falk, Lee Van Cleef and Harry Dean Stanton. Includes the original two-hour pilot. Released by Paramount Home Video. Not rated. Available April 10.





VIDEO GAMES:

"Hard Rock Casino"

You can play a wide range of table games, machine games and poker games, and get tutorials to finally understand all those dang rules. Published by Crave Entertainment for PlayStation Portable (title already available for PlayStation 2). Rated T. Available April 9.

"Super Paper Mario"

This twist on the Mario game series has the action vary between flat, two-dimensional-looking graphics and a more fleshed-out third dimension that offers secrets, hidden paths and new foes. Published by Nintendo of America for Nintendo Wii. Rated E. Available April 9.

"Tokyo Xtreme Racer Drift 2"

An auto racing game that incorporates the driving technique of "drifting" to allow sharp turns and hazardous twists amid detailed backdrops depicting Japan's most famous locations. Published by Crave Entertainment for Playstation 2. Rated T. Available April 10.

"Whirlwind Over Vietnam"

A helicopter-combat simulation game that has players fly 10 story-based missions over hostile jungles during the Vietnam War. Includes a virtual array of Vietnam-era weapons and a selection of different aircraft for missions. Published by Take 2 Interactive for PC. Rated T. Available April 9.





MUSIC:

Blonde Redhead, "23": Moving further away from their Sonic Youth-inspired early days, the band gets more experimental and wistful on their seventh album. Released by 4ad/Ada. In stores April 10.

Bright Eyes, "Cassadaga": The rock band blurs genre distinctions further by blending string arrangements and female vocals with ruminations on life and a smattering of political commentary. Released by Saddle Creek. In stores April 10.

Grinderman, "Grinderman": Nick Cave and members of his band the Bad Seeds get down and dirty on this album that shows Cave's more humoruous side. Released by Anti-. In stores April 10.

MIG, "MIG": One of the finalists from the CBS reality show "Rock Star: INXS" makes his album debut.Released by Decca. In stores April 10.

Christopher O'Riley, "Second Grace: Music of Nick Drake": Classical pianist O'Riley plays songs by the late Nick Drake, including "Rider on the Wheel," "Northern Sky" and "Pink Moon." Released by World Village. In stores April 10.

Martin Short, "Fame Becomes Me": The score to actor-comedian Short's successful one-man Broadway show, with songs written by "Hairspray" co-creators Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Released by Ghostlight. In stores April 10.

Laura Veirs, "Saltbreakers": The folk singer incorporates a choir and fuzzy guitar noise into her typically ethereal sound. Released by Nonesuch. In stores April 10.





TV:

All times are EST/PST.

Sunday, April 8

"The Sopranos": A piece of Tony's past comes to haunt him as the show begins its final nine-episode run. 9 p.m., HBO.

"Entourage": Ari's depressed after he was fired by Vince at the end of last season, Vince has a new, no-nonsense agent and Johnny Drama lets his new series go to his head. 10 p.m., HBO.

Monday, April 9

"The King of Queens": The 200th episode of the sitcom, and also the first of the final seven. 9:30 p.m., CBS.

Tuesday, April 10

"Thank God You're Here": A new comedy improv show in which actors are placed in outrageous situations, all beginning with the titular line. First up: Jennifer Coolidge, Bryan Cranston and Wayne Knight. 9 p.m., NBC.

Wednesday, April 11

"Friday Night Lights": It's the season finale as the Dillon Panthers play in the state championship against a team led by quarterback Voodoo Tatom, that arrogant showboat who couldn't get along with Coach Taylor. 8 p.m. NBC.

"Lost": Jack is reunited with the other survivors, but someone else came with him. 10 p.m., ABC.





BOOKS:

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, "Lidia's Italy: 140 Simple and Delicious Recipes from the Ten Places in Italy Lidia Loves Most": Author, restaurant owner and TV personality Bastianich takes readers to some out-of-the-way places in Italy and shares regional Italian recipes. Published by Knopf. In stores April 10.

Walter Isaacson, "Einstein: His Life and Universe": Using newly available archival materials, biographer Isaacson ("Benjamin Franklin," "Kissinger") examines the scientist's groundbreaking theories and his unconformist, sometimes messy personal life. Published by Simon & Schuster. In stores April 10.

Ann Perry, "We Shall Not Sleep": The final volume in Perry's series of World War I novels about the Reavely siblings and their attempt to unmask a traitor who may have murdered their parents. Published by Random House. In stores April 10.

Stuart Woods, "Fresh Disasters": Woods' lawyer hero Stone Barrington returns for a 13th outing with his cop pal Dino Bacchetti. Stone is ordered to represent a client who wants to sue a mafia boss, an idea that proves as bad as it sounds. Published by Penguin Group. In stores April 10.

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