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Footloose

Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough | PG-13|

DRAMA

How can something so pointless be so much fun? This update of the ’84 teen classic that gifted us with Kevin Bacon and a killer soundtrack has slicker dance moves but keeps the original’s infectious spirit. Big-screen newcomers Wormald and Hough are compelling as Ren and Ariel, the rebel outsider and the minister’s kid in a small town that outlaws rock music and dancing. She’s the better actor, delivering in Ariel’s tense standoffs with her dad, Rev. Moore (Dennis Quaid). But they’re both pro hoofers, so the dance scenes are fantastic, with everything from country line-dancing to krumping. It’s what hasn’t changed between versions that falls flat: Ren’s hokey angry solo dance, Ariel’s wild ways and that anachronistic dance ban. In fact the new film is so slavish to the original it feels like cinematic karaoke. But when the music gets going, I dare you not to cut loose. (For more on Hough, turn to page 113.)

The Skin I Live In

Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes | R |

THRILLER

Beware The Skin I Live In. It’s as insidious as it is gorgeous, a depraved thing inching its way into the subconscious, just as director Pedro Almodovar intends. Dr. Robert Ledgard (Banderas) is a plastic surgeon testing a synthetic skin on patient Vera (Anaya). But why does Vera look so much like the doctor’s late wife? Why does she live in his house? And why, above all, is she his prisoner? Banderas and Anaya wisely underplay their parts, drawing sympathy as Almodovar teases out the tendrils of his jaw-dropping narrative. The secrets turn out to be so shocking that it’s easy to overlook Skin’s beauty, with its exquisitely framed shots and recurring images of blades and masks. Try to take it all in as you watch-and be sure to take a friend. You’ll need to talk this one out.