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FEBRUARY 2008

VANTAGE POINT: Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt (Directed by Pete Travis; Written by Barry Levy; Columbia Pictures) Why would anyone want to terminate our commander in chief? British writer-director Gabriel Range answered that question in his controversial docudrama about the assassination of President Bush. Now Irish director Pete Travis is taking another shot, so to speak, at the chilling subject. Working from a screenplay by Barry Levy, Travis will depict the attempted killing of a future non-Bush U. S. president, to be played by William Hurt. The horrific event, photographed by a tourist, is replayed from the conflicting perspectives of eight witnesses. Now Playing

THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL: Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana, Rue McClanahan (Directed by Justin Chadwick; Written by Peter Morgan; Sony) Quick! Who was Mary Boleyn? You know, of course. She was the younger sister of Anne Boleyn, the regal mate of England’s King Henry VIII who literally lost her head in 1536 as a result of trumped-up charges that she was guilty of adultery, incest and witchcraft. Mary, who was married to William Carey at the ripe old age of 12, was by no means a stranger to the lascivious king herself, having served as his infamous mistress--and possibly the mother of his son--before Anne popped onto the scene. Why should you care about all this ancient history? Because Anne and Mary are being played by Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson, respectively, in this adaptation of Phillipa Gregory’s fact-based novel. Eric Bana will undoubtedly have a romp as horny Henry. Now Playing

PENELOPE: Christina Ricci, James McAvoy, Catherine O'Hara, Reese Witherspoon, Richard E. Grant, Peter Dinklage, Simon Woods, Ronni Ancona, Nick Frost, Lenny Henry (Directed by Mark Palansky; Written by Leslie Caveny; Type A Films) What’s a girl to do when she is literally born with the face of a pig? With a little luck and a lot of pluck, she could follow the example of Miss Piggy and become a superstar. But that’s not what the heroine of this cheeky flick, produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Type A Films, does. She finds another path to a happy fairy-tale ending. Somewhat surprisingly, the red-hot Witherspoon does not play porcine Penelope. That plum goes instead to the equally talented Ricci, whose career has turned lukewarm of late. Now Playing