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Opening this week

56 Up, Dead Man Down, and Oz the Great and Powerful



56 Up Years ago on her HBO show, Tracey Ullman did a hilarious spoof of Michael Apted's "… Up" series of documentaries. The joke was that the subjects of the docs were so veddy British that they never actually did anything: From cradle to grave, all they could talk about was which public school they hoped to go to, were going to or had gone to. "Who's Tracey Ullman?" you ask? HAHAHAHAHA, exactly. The "… Up" series has truly outlived its satirists, with every new installment re-vindicating the prescience of Apted's original vision. Seven years after 49 Up, we get to see if our cast of class-defined characters have been transformed by their unexpected fame, or if they're instead locked into that system of stiff-upper-lip stratification Ullman once parodied. Or maybe, somehow, they've managed to do both. Whatever happens, discriminating audiences on both sides of the pond are with this project until the bitter end. 84 (Barely) Up, anyone? (NR; opens Friday, March 8, at Enzian Theater, Maitland) – Steve Schneider

Dead Man Down The director and star of the original, Swedish-made (i.e., "good") Girl With the Dragon Tattoo are back – this time, to tell a story of revenge and uneasy alliances set within the crime culture of New York City. The joke here would be "Chill out, they brought Colin Farrell with them," but honestly, that guy takes too much shit as it is. And anyway, the script is by the guy who did The Mexican, see, and … uh … it's a co-production with World Wrestling Entertainment, which … erm … nah, you're right. Nothing to see here. (R) – SS

Oz the Great and Powerful Once upon a time, it was a given that trying to mint new money out of the Wizard of Oz was a suicide mission. (Remember Journey Back to Oz? Return to Oz? You do? Liar!) But now we're living in a Wicked world, which means Disney saw the all-clear to hop on the prequel bandwagon. Learn just how a low-rent circus magician (James Franco) became the fabled man behind the curtain – among other backstories you were never exactly dying to have revealed. Sam Raimi directs, which means Bruce Campbell co-stars. Of interest: Playwright David Lindsay Abaire (Fuddy Meers) co-penned the script, and best of all, Bad Santa's Tony Cox plays a munchkin! (Hearing Dorothy told "Your soul is dogshit" – now that's what America has been
waiting for.) (PG) – SS

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