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This week's reviews: 'Max,' Kelly Osbourne, JFK Jr. pic


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(PEOPLE) -- This week, PEOPLE.COM looks at the film "Max," Kelly Osbourne's album "Shut Up" and TBS's JFK Jr. pic "America's Prince."

Go to: Movies | Music | TV

Movie review: 'Max'

Max
In "Max," Noah Taylor paints a fascinating portrait of a young Adolf Hitler.

Rarely has a writer-director made a debut film as audacious as Menno Meyjes's "Max." This assured, provocative drama chronicles the fictional friendship between two German World War I veterans in Munich in 1918: Max Rothman (John Cusack), a Jewish art dealer, tries to help Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor), a struggling artist. Yes, that Hitler. Cusack is engaging as a man bitter about the past but hopeful for the future. Taylor, playing Hitler with the furtiveness and fury of an underfed rodent, is mesmerizing.

Bottom line: Worth seeking out

-- Leah Rozen

Music review: 'Shut Up'

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Kelly Osbourne (Epic)

Kelly Osbourne should have quit while she was ahead. With its wink-wink nod to dad Ozzy , her cover of Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" (originally featured on "The Osbournes Family Album" released last June and included as a bonus track here) was cheesy fun. But as her forgettable first full-length CD shows, it takes a whole lot more than the right pedigree and the right haircut to make credible punk rock. The brattiness that may be amusing on MTV's reality show "The Osbournes" wears thin quickly on this disc, which was entirely cowritten by Osbourne. "Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah," she whines in her nasal, karaoke-level voice on the annoying title track. Worse, though, is when she slows things down for the album's only ballad, the overwrought "More Than Life Itself," on which she comes off as a cut-rate Courtney Love.

Bottom line: No, you shut up

-- Chuck Arnold

TV review: 'America's Prince'

TBS (Sunday, January 12, 8 p.m. ET)

No TV movie about the life and death of John F. Kennedy Jr. could be innocent of exploitation, but this effort is fairly responsible as well as capably acted. Kristoffer Polaha, a fresh face, effectively plays Kennedy as a young man seeking his true self in the glare of unsought publicity. Portia de Rossi ("Ally McBeal") fares even better as his wife, Carolyn, giving her a self-possession that the constantly sought-after JFK Jr. finds refreshing. Unfortunately the film is weakened by pseudo-documentary interviews with composite characters, including a pontificating Kennedy biographer. TBS is a unit of AOL Time Warner, as is CNN.com.

Bottom line: Respectable portrait

-- Terry Kelleher



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