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On Screens in Orlando: Blair Witch, Bridget Jones' Baby and more



Blair Witch A good sign: The Orlando boys who made the original Blair Witch Project have been willing to informally promote this second sequel to their groundbreaking "found"-footage picture. And if that doesn't seem like such a big deal, understand that they have no more artistic or financial connection to this installment than they did to 2000's Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, which will always be remembered as one of the most simultaneously crass and pretentious cash-in moves ever made by a major studio. Sixteen years later, this Blair Witch has earned pretty strong advance praise from just about everybody who's seen it, meaning that the execution of the project must have been far superior to its lackluster-on-paper premise: Relatives of the missing kids go looking for them in those threatening woods and enter a nightmare of their own. As long as there's no Scrappy-Doo or Ted McGinley, I'm willing to play along. Prediction for next year: a prequel entitled Enter Stickman. (R)

Bridget Jones' Baby Remember that old Benny Hill joke about facelifts? "She had her face lifted, and when they saw what was underneath, they let it drop again." But we can't say things like that about Renee Zellweger anymore, and I thoroughly understand why. So instead, I'll just point out that she remains a really terrible actress, and that no one I know has one iota of interest in seeing her revisit her horrendous miscasting as Bridget Jones – especially in a Mamma Mia-esque story that sees Bridget trying to figure out which one of two fellas is the biological father to the limey fetus she's hauling around. You think she'd find it easier to make a positive ID, now that she can squint again. Sorry! (R)

Hillsong – Let Hope Rise Back in the 1970s, Ace Frehley suggested to his bandmates in KISS that they incorporate their musical business as a church, to get out of paying taxes. In so doing, he had devised the one idea in history too nakedly avaricious for even Gene Simmons to take a run at it. I get a similarly disquieting vibe from the official synopsis of the Christian concert doc Hillsong – Let Hope Rise, which refers to its titular outfit interchangeably as a "band" and a "church." I guess the correct answer depends on the tax laws in their native Australia, from which this bunch of happily saved songbirds launched an international recording and performing empire that brings their music to an alleged tens of millions of worshipers every Sunday. And they still get to charge us to watch! Somewhere, Gene Simmons is kicking himself even harder than you've ever wanted to. (PG)

Snowden The problem with Oliver Stone is that he's never just crazy enough, and never at exactly the right time. His JFK sullied the memory of one of America's most beloved presidencies by subjecting it to every crackpot conspiracy theory in the book, but when he turned his attention to the George W. Bush administration – which not only invited but deserved the rankest speculation somebody like Stone could muster – he served up nothing more inflammatory than a tepid think piece. Something tells me Stone is going to be back in full anti-establishment hagiography mode in profiling whistleblower Edward Snowden, the latter of whom has become a hero to every social-media libertarian you just can't bring yourself to unfriend. A topic I don't expect to see covered: the unflinching pro-secrecy stance Snowden took before the White House opened its doors to a black guy. Even thornier is the Fathom event being held two days before the movie's release, in which Snowden will get to advance his self-righteous situational ethics directly from his hideout in Russia. Maybe Julian Assange will get to do likewise before the opening of Despicable Me 3. (R)

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The Disappointments Room If I were Kate Beckinsale, I sure wouldn't be making any movies right now that had the word "disappointment" in the title. Shocking though it may seem, the world apparently was not eagerly awaiting yet another supernatural suspenser centering on a family's efforts to unlock the secrets of a hidden room in their home. Don't expect a tie-in attraction at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights – especially since they still haven't gotten around to that Human Centipede house I've been pining for. (R)

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