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Summary Judgment: 'Accepted,' 'The Illusionist,' 'Snakes on a Plane'


On Fridays, we tell you whether any of the new movie releases are worth your business over the weekend. It's our digest of what the critics are saying, as compiled by the online magazine Slate.

Here is Mark Jordan Legan with Summary Judgment.


First up in wide release, we have the raucous comedy Accepted. A group of teenagers decide to open their own university after getting rejected by other colleges.

Justin Long and Lewis Black star.

(Soundbite of movie Accepted)

Unidentified Man #1 (Actor): (As character) Do you really how stupid this is? You invited everyone to a college that doesn't exist?

Unidentified Man #2 (Actor): (As character) I just couldn't do it, okay. You saw their faces. They got rejected from everywhere. What kind of message does that send, if I reject them from my college?

Unidentified Man #1: (As character) You don't have a college.

LEGAN: The critics are split on this one, some finding it funny and others wanting to drop out and backpack through Europe instead. Sweetly amusing and gently anarchic, says Variety. The Onion gripes, It's kind of a snore. And The Hollywood Reporter lectures, After a very funny start there just isn't enough content to fill the feature length curriculum.

Next up, also in wide release is the period mystery The Illusionist. Set in turn of the century Vienna, this supernatural piece combines romance, politics and magic. Edward Norton, Jessica Biel and Paul Giamatti star.

(Soundbite of movie The Illusionist)

Unidentified Man #3 (Actor): (As character) Your assistants are behind the mirror somewhere in robes, obviously. Lights in the frame perhaps to illuminate them or angled mirrors.

Unidentified Man #4 (Actor): (As character) That would be one way to do it.

Unidentified Man #3: (As character) I think I understand it all except the ghost. That was very, very good.

LEGAN: The nation's critics are mesmerized by The Illusionist.

The Village Voice cheers, Beautifully acted and handsomely mounted, this gorgeous period piece is intelligent and intriguing.

Premiere calls it, A visual delight as well as a satisfying period drama.

And USA Today says, The Illusionist casts an exquisitely bewitching spell.

And we close with a little film that has gotten a wee bit of pre-publicity, Snakes on a Plane. Not to be confused Jane Austen's classic novella, Reptiles Upon A Carriage.

Samuel L. Jackson stars in this thriller about an assassin who unleashes a crate full of lethal snakes onto a packed passenger jet, which as we know is fine as long as none of the snakes are carrying hair gel or toothpaste.

(Soundbite of movie: Snakes on a Plane)

Mr. SAMUEL L. JACKSON (Actor): (As character) Enough is enough. I've had it with these (bleep) snakes. Everybody find a way to secure yourself to this plane. I'm about to open some windows.

LEGAN: What a shock. There were no advance screenings for the critics. They usually do this because the studio fears negative reviews, but a movie that ignited an Internet wildfire of excitement is probably critic-proof anyway. If Snakes on a Plane makes a ton of money, get ready for the endless sequels starring Samuel L. Jackson.

I'm telling you there are fire ants in this mother-(bleep) condominium! And...

I'm telling you there are scorpions on this mother-(bleep) space shuttle!

The possibilities are endless.

BRAND: Mark Jordan Legan is a writer living in Los Angeles. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mark Jordan Legan