Picks and Pans Review: Also Playing

updated 01/22/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/22/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST

Curse of the Golden Flower Palace
intrigue fills this sumptuous melodrama set in 10th-century China and directed by Zhang Yimou (Hero). The Emperor (Chow Yun-Fat) is plotting to poison his wife (Gong Li), who's cooking up a power grab of her own. It's all lovely to look at, and yet somehow uninvolving.

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Stomp the Yard
A sort of recruiting picture for black fraternities, this clich├ęd drama shows how a disaffected young man (Columbus Short) matures after enrolling in an Atlanta college. There he discovers "stepping," the tradition-steeped dance form famously associated with African-American Greek organizations. Stomp is little more than a rehash of tried-and-true steps, but its dance scenes do give it kick. (PG-13)

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