Licking lips for ‘Lara,’ latest luscious Jolie pic

Actress reaps praise; theater sound system doesn't

Call them the lips that launched a franchise.

Angelina Jolie — she of the mega-sensuous pout — was the focus of attention at Monday’s “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life” Chinese Theater preem.

“This is the first time a single female has handled the lead in a big, $100 million-plus action movie,” said producer Larry Gordon. “I worked with Arnold, Sly, Bruce and whoever. Angelina is as good an action lead as they are.”

Par execs were stressing two points: The pic is an improvement over the first “Lara Croft” movie, and it stands out from the summer’s other action films because the stunts are not computer-generated.

Regarding the pic’s limited use of CGI, director Jan De Bont said: “Movies today, you don’t know what’s real and what’s not. Those are real lips.” Par topper Sherry Lansing said she saw the film as “more in the vein of Indiana Jones.”

And while Jolie was reaping praise, the Chinese theater’s sound system was not. Just as at the “Charlie’s Angels 2” preem, there were multiple aud complaints about muddy sound, mostly from those seated on the theater’s sides.

One “Croft” guest said: “I was grateful when they were in China and there were subtitles.”

Among those at the nearby open-air after-party were Par’s Sherry Lansing, Jonathan Dolgen, Rob Friedman and John Goldwyn; producer Lloyd Levin; stars Gerard Butler and Djimon Hounsou; plus guests Oliver Stone and his “Alexander” star Colin Farrell (Jolie co-stars); Rosario Dawson, George Schlatter, Lou Pitt, David Spade, Jeff Robinov, Linda Thompson, Howard Weitzman and Jim Sheridan.

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