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Immersed in the 'Matrix'

More fun in the rabbit hole with Neo & Co.

By Todd Leopold
CNN

Matrix Reloaded
Neo (Keanu Reeves, right) takes on dozens of Agent Smiths (Hugo Weaving) in a scene from "The Matrix Reloaded."

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(CNN) -- You say you want "Revolutions"? Well, you know ... Neo wants to change the world.

But to get to that final chapter of "The Matrix," first he -- and us -- must go through "The Matrix Reloaded," the sequel to the blockbuster 1999 film.

"Reloaded" is full of car chases, martial arts battles, explosions, hundreds of Agent Smiths (Hugo Weaving), Monica Bellucci in a tight white dress, Carrie-Anne Moss in leather and latex, Laurence Fishburne in full philosophical ominousness, and Keanu Reeves flying.

In short, it's the greatest movie a 16-year-old boy could ask for.

Eye-opener

The first "Matrix" was a surprise hit. Few -- least of all, the cast -- thought a science fiction film that mixed philosophy, comic books, special effects and old Bruce Lee moves would be a success. Instead, the film made $170 million domestically and became the template for dozens of movies since.

"The Matrix Reloaded" takes the story of Neo, the one-time computer hacker played by Reeves, to the next level. He's now an established member of Morpheus' (Fishburne) team and perhaps the One who can save humanity from the machines that imprison the race in the Matrix. He's also now hot-and-heavy with Trinity (Moss).

In the new film, the group visits Zion, humanity's last hideout, and pursues the Keymaker, who literally holds the key to some of the Matrix's secrets. To find him, they have to go through a host of oddballs, including wheeler-dealer Merovingian, his wife Persephone, the albino-dreadlocked Twins, and the ever-more-present Agent Smith. (Read CNN reviewer Paul Clinton's review.)

And after the movie's over, libraries will be overrun with moviegoers perusing Kierkegaard, Descartes, Edith Hamilton and collections of Zen koans to make sense of it all.

On screen

• If you're a studio faced with a "Matrix" onslaught, perhaps the best thing to do is counter program. So "Matrix" will get all the males under 25? Twentieth Century Fox goes for the date-movie crowd with "Down with Love," an homage to and parody of the old Doris Day/Rock Hudson films. Renee Zellweger plays a protofeminist author; Ewan McGregor plays the British magazine writer attempting to land her. David Hyde Pierce has the Tony Randall role and Tony Randall plays someone else.

On the tube

• Now that Susan Lucci's won, there's a lot less tension at the Daytime Emmy Awards. Check out who's going to win this year at 8 p.m. Friday, ABC.

• Dan Aykroyd returns to "Saturday Night Live" as host for the comedy show's season finale, 11:30 p.m. Saturday, NBC.

• Few shows have been as roundly condemned as "Hitler: The Rise of Evil" -- and that was just after it was first announced. The special, which airs in two parts -- 9 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday on CBS -- changed substantially between announcement and final cut, and not for the better, according to some TV critics. Robert Carlyle stars as the German dictator.

• Kiefer Sutherland's agent Jack Bauer saves the world -- again -- on the finale of "24." 9 p.m. Tuesday, Fox.

Sound waves

• Whenever rock stars get too big for their Gretsches, there's always Weird Al Yankovic to put them in their place. The parodist's new album, "Poodle Hat" (Volcano), is out Tuesday.

• Staind's new album, "14 Shades of Grey" (Elektra/Asylum), also releases Tuesday.

Paging readers

• "Gritos" (Grove Press), a collection of essays on the Mexican-American experience by author Dagoberto Gilb, is due out Monday. The book's subjects include cockfighting, psychics, and fatherhood.


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