Movie guide

Reviews of '28 Weeks Later' and 'The Hip-Hop Project.'

New in theaters The Hip-Hop Project (R)

Director: Matt Ruskin. With Bruce Willis, Russell Simmons, Doug E. Fresh, Chris 'Kazi' Rolle. (88 min.)Kazi, a formerly homeless kid, is the focus of this inspirational documentary. Turning his life around, he sets up a workshop in New York that encourages teens to use hip-hop as a force for personal expression and social good. After several years, we see the results – a produced CD that all involved can be proud of. Kazi is a bundle of energy, and the film touches on an important and often-overlooked issue: The commercial pressure that is often brought to bear on rappers to be scurrilous and offensive. This project, which was produced by Bruce Willis and Queen Latifah, shows that there is another way. Grade: B+
– Peter Rainer

28 Weeks Later (R)

Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. With Robert Carlyle, Catherine McCormack, Amanda Walker. (99 min.)This strong follow-up to "28 Days Later" picks up the story six months after a rage virus has wiped out the British mainland. The virus is supposedly eradicated, the US Army has begun reconstruction, refugees return. Of course, the virus isn't dead, or else there'd be no movie. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, a Spanish director best known for "Intacto," takes over for Danny Boyle this time around. He has a disconcerting gift for shock effects. The ending is a set-up for yet another sequel: Can "28 Months Later" be very far away? Grade: B+
– P.R.

Still in release
Spider-Man 3 (PG-13)

Director: Sam Raimi. With Tobey McGuire, Kirsten Dunst, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace. (140 min.)The first Spider-Man movie was OK and the second much better. The new one, however, is a letdown – too much going on with too little to show for it. In "Spider-Man 3," we are brought into Spidey's "dark side" – which turns out to be grayish. It all begins with a gloppy substance that crashes to the earth and affixes itself to Spider-Man's suit, turning it black and enhancing his powers. Also his ego. He spiffs up his hairstyle and struts the city streets while women gasp. Director Sam Raimi will do anything to hold the audience's attention, even if it means clogging the landscape with so many bad guys – including Venom, the Green Goblin, and Sandman – that the movie develops villain gridlock. Spidey gets lost in the shuffle. "Spider-Man 3" is far from a flop, but it's a buffet without much aftertaste. Grade: B–
– P.R.

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