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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

new on DVD: on the ice, in the desert, and descending into hell

Obviously Paul Walker never heard the old Hollywood maxim about never appearing on film with kids and dogs. But hell, not even the most charismatic screen presence could withstand the plucky-adorableness factor of the team of sled dogs in Eight Below (read my review/buy at Amazon), an animal adventure in the best spirit of classic Disney family films. If you’re any kind of dog lover, make sure you’ve got a fresh box of Kleenex nearby when you’re watching this one — you’re gonna need it. Cry? I bawled.

Do not let the kiddies near the astonishingly disturbing remake of the 70s horror flick The Hills Have Eyes (read my review/buy at Amazon). I’m still freaking out from its combination of inhumanly remote setting, distressingly sympathetic “monsters,” and unwillingness to follow some of the rules of horror flicks that typically assure you that some things will turn out okay. *shudder*

On the other hand, I didn’t get much of a thrill from the Russian fantasy/horror movie Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor) (read my review/buy at Amazon). Oh, it’s got style to spare, but it borrows an awful lot from an awful lot of other stories we’ve seen done too many times before.

The oil thriller Syriana (buy at Amazon) also arrives on DVD today. I’ll have a closer look at the film later tonight or tomorrow.

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