Picks and Pans Review: Also Playing

updated 11/07/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/07/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST

PARADISE NOW

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Two young Palestinian men living in the West Bank are recruited as suicide bombers in a compelling drama by Palestinian-born writer-director Hany Abu-Assad. When their mission hits a snag, each must decide whether to stay the course. The thought-provoking film was shot on location, heightening its immediacy.(PG-13)

KISS KISS, BANG BANG

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The action, jokes and plot complications never stop in a wacky, self-aware whodunit set in Hollywood. Robert Downey Jr. plays a thief turned actor turned detective who teams up with a gay private eye nicknamed Gay Perry (Val Kilmer, in a lively comic turn) to solve a murder or two. It's sometimes hard to keep track of what's going on here, but the effort is worth it. Kiss marks a promising directing debut for screenwriter Shane Black (Lethal Weapon). (R)

SAW II

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This lifeless follow-up to last year's gorefest about a resourceful serial killer named Jigsaw follows his latest prey: eight stereotypes (one of whom is dirty cop Donnie Wahlberg's son) stuck in a booby-trapped building. Unlike its oft-inventive predecessor, this one just twiddles its bloody thumbs until the too-little-too-late final twist. (R)

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