Friday movie roundup – Oct. 23

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The biggest new release today is one of Hollywood’s Shameful Secrets®, “Saw VI,” the latest chapter in the impressively productive horror series. A new “Saw” film has come out every single year since the first one, in 2004; starting with “Saw III,” they haven’t been screened for critics before opening. I just got back from a Friday afternoon showing, though, and I can report that part 6 is better than parts 4 and 5, not as good as part 3. For whatever that’s worth. Review to come.

For the kids, more or less, there’s “Astro Boy” (review at Film.com), a sci-fi cartoon about a grieving father who makes a robot clone of his dead son. Wheee!

For teenagers, I think, we have “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant,” which offers some good ol’ Halloweentime fun and will probably be forgotten in a month or so.

And for people who enjoy being bored, there’s “Amelia,” about Amelia Earhart. (I was hoping Amelia Bedelia, but no luck.) Everyone assumed it was going to be an Oscar contender: biopic about a famous person, played by two-time Oscar-winner Hilary Swank, seems like a slam dunk. Then we learned that it wasn’t being screened until Wednesday night — too late for many daily papers to get reviews into their Friday entertainment sections. That’s unusual because “prestige” films like this usually rely on old-school critics to get the word out to the potential audience, which is generally older and actually listens to critics. Not letting those critics see it until the last minute was a bad sign, and watching the film only confirmed that. It’s quite dull. But at least I’m pretty sure there won’t be a sequel.

(Oh, and I finally got around to seeing “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” It’s really, really funny and clever.)

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