Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (PG-13) Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes. Warner Brothers let critics see the movie only on the condition that no reviews run until opening day. NUVO comes out on Wednesday and the movie opens Friday, so our lips are sealed. 150 minutes.
Walk the Line (PG-13) Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick. Dramatization of the life of music legend Johnny Cash (Phoenix) up to his landmark 1968 performance at Folsom Prison, with emphasis on his substance abuse and his tumultuous relationship with singer June Carter (Witherspoon). The film boasts rock-solid direction by James Mangold, well-chosen music by T-Bone Burnett, an authentic look and a fine supporting cast, but it's the terrific performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon - who do their own singing! - that knock this one out of the park. Walk the Line is a big, juicy film that works as well as a love story as it does as a biography. 136 minutes. - EJO
Good Night and Good Luck (PG) David Strathairn, George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Patricia Clarkson. Good Night and Good Luck, the second film directed by George Clooney, is about facing up to a bully. The bully in this instance is Joe McCarthy, a political thug on a power trip. The person standing up to the bully is Edward R. Murrow, a highly-respected television reporter for CBS. Don't come to the theater expected a sprawling, richly textured film like All the President's Men. At just 90 minutes, Good Night and Good Luck is a taut, focused look at one pivotal moment. The film is in black and white and it looks absolutely great. The cast is outstanding, particularly David Strathairn as Murrow. Joe McCarthy appears as himself in perfectly integrated film clips. 90 minutes. At Key Cinemas for one week only. - EJO
Paradise Now (PG-13) Kais Nashef, Ali Suliman, Lubna Azabal, Hiam Abbass, Amer Hlehel. Two youths from the Gaza strip are just 48 hours away from becoming the latest suicide bombers. Two young Palestinian men, Khaled and Said, are both recruited to carry out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. The two men are allowed to spend what is presumably their last night alive with their families. However, since absolute secrecy must be maintained and they can tell nobody of their mission, theirs can be no proper farewell. The next morning, the men are brought to the border. The bombs have been attached to their bodies in such a way as to make them completely hidden from view. However, the operation does not go according to plan and the two friends lose sight of each other. Separated from each other and left to their own devices, it's up to them to face their destiny and stand up for their convictions. 90 minutes. At Key Cinemas for one week only.
Aliens of the Deep (G) A follow up to James Cameron's IMAX Titanic documentary. Cameron is again ensconced in an underwater exploration vehicle. This time, he and his crew of marine biologists and NASA researchers are taking a look at the ocean floor in order to examine life that thrives without the benefit of the sun. Ploddingly slow at times, the pretty pictures are too few and too far between. - Lisa Gauthier
Capote (R) Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins Jr., Chris Cooper, Bruce Greenwood, Bob Balaban, Mark Pellegrino, Amy Ryan. Capote focuses on the years Truman Capote spent writing his greatest book, In Cold Blood, the story of a murdered family in Kansas. Here we get to see the minutiae that made the man Capote a real piece of work. Philip Seymour Hoffman's Capote is as big a queen as Elizabeth II without any of the grace. As much of a character, even caricature, as Hoffman is in this movie, he somehow remains believable. Director Bennett Miller keeps scenes intense, slow and detailed, which balances out the large and sudden jumps in time. 98 minutes. - Lisa Gauthier
Chicken Little (G) Zach Braff, Garry Marshall, Joan Cusack, Steve Zahn, Amy Sedaris. Disney's first in-house all-CG animated feature since splitting with Pixar is a let-down. The cartoon about a young chick (Braff), a belief that the sky is falling and an alien invasion has some clever moments, but most of its 81 minutes are terribly, terribly ordinary. Chicken Little strains to appear bright, zippy and irreverent - parts of it are positively frantic - but the result feels more desperate than fun. This is strictly formula fare, with an anemic script filled with stereotypical characters and based on some very tired ideas. 81 minutes. - EJO
Derailed (R) Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Melissa George, Vincent Cassel, Robert "The RZA" Diggs. Suspense thriller about a successful ad exec and loyal family man (Owen) who meets an alluring and sexy woman (Aniston) on his morning commute. Flirtation quickly escalates into passion. But this casual fling quickly turns dangerous when a violent criminal pulls them into a dangerous plot. 110 minutes.
Dolphins (NR) Narrated by Pierce Brosnan. Routine but pleasant IMAX nature documentary, elevated by the tropical-influenced score by Sting and its likable subjects. A fair amount of information about dolphins is mixed in with the pretty pictures (did you know that dolphins are more intelligent than most conservatives? Just kidding - don't write.). The best scenes showcase the long-term friendship between naturalist Dean Bernal and JoJo, a reclusive bottleneck dolphin. 89 minutes. At the IMAX Theatre in the State Museum. - EJO
Doom (R) Karl Urban, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Rosamund Pike, Ben Daniels, Razaaq Adoti. Video game turned movie. Barely. Guys with guns chase mutant monsters on Mars. The film even shows the POV of weapon-toting Sarge (Johnson), which looks a lot like the game, except you are watching someone else play it. And paying to do so. 100 minutes. - EJO
Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story t (PG) Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, Freddy Rodriguez, Kris Kristofferson, Elisabeth Shue. No surprises in this family story, but the performances are good and the filmmakers know what they're doing. Fanning plays a young horse fancier who dreams of winning the Breeders' Cup Classic. Clearly hers is but a foolish dream ... or could she have the mix of pluck and determination required to make the impossible happen? Gulp! 98 minutes. - EJO
Elizabethtown (PG-13) Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, Bruce McGill, Judy Greer, Jessica Biel, Paul Schneider. Bloom comes to Elizabethtown, Ky., to collect the body of his father and must deal with family, friends and kooky flight attendant Dunst. The latest from writer/director Cameron Crowe (Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous) has everything you would expect from the filmmaker: colorful characters, engaging conversations, bold gestures, laughter and tears, great music ... you get the idea. Unfortunately, the good stuff is contained within an awkwardly constructed, self-indulgent film that moves with the speed and finesse of an iceberg. 120 minutes. - EJO
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (PG-13) Tom Wilkinson, Laura Linney, Jennifer Carpenter, Colm Feore. Courtroom drama combined with exorcism thriller to form the subgenre of supernatural procedural. This story of a botched exorcism and the legal fallout is gripping and engrossing, but at times falls down on the job with the ham-handed delivery of its VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE of faith versus reason. It's a compelling idea and well worth exploring, but a little subtlety would have been nice. 118 minutes. - PFPP
Flightplan (PG-13) Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean, Marlene Lawston. The premise of this short, snappy Panic Room-style Jodie Foster thriller goes like this: During a flight from Berlin to New York, a mother claims that her young daughter has disappeared. But no one on the plane has actually seen the child. So did the girl ever get on the plane in the first place, or is everyone being drawn into the one woman's delusion? Foster is very good, no surprise there, and Flightplan works, even if the last few minutes are less like Alfred Hitchcock and more like Jerry Bruckheimer. Don't try subjecting logic to the premise, because that way lies madness. 88 minutes. - EJO
The Fog (PG-13) Tom Welling, Maggie Grace, Selma Blair, DeRay Davis, Rade Serbedzija. Despite a couple of scary moments, this ho-hum thriller is a mist opportunity (apologies for that). The story, a remake of the old not-so-hot John Carpenter flick, deals with a thick fog enshrouds a coastal town. The fog is reminiscent of one 100 years earlier that wrecked a ship and drowned the seamen aboard. You know what that means. 100 minutes. - EJO
G (R) Richard T. Jones, Blair Underwood, Chenoa Maxwell, Andre Royo. A hip-hop re-imagining of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. A young Great Gatsby-ish hip-hopper named Summer G (Jones) falls for a middle to upper class woman while in college. After she rejects him for a fellow social climber, Summer G spends 10 years building a hip-hop empire, then moves to the Hamptons where he finds the object of his affections. 97 minutes.
Get Rich Or Die Tryin' y(R) Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Joy Bryant, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Bill Duke. First there was director Curtis Hanson and Eminem in 8 Mile, now there's Irish director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In The Name Of The Father, In America) with 50 Cent in a film that's more Scarface with a dash of 8 Mile and Hustle and Flow. Jackson's acting range is limited and everybody knows it. Fortunately, he's surrounded by superior talent like Howard and Duke and an excellent director. At least this wasn't directed by a fellow rapper and released straight to video and/or the record store. 134 minutes. - Matthew Socey
Good Night and Good Luck (PG) David Strathairn, George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Patricia Clarkson. Good Night and Good Luck, the second film directed by George Clooney, is about facing up to a bully. The bully in this instance is Joe McCarthy, a political thug on a power trip. The person standing up to the bully is Edward R. Murrow, a highly-respected television reporter for CBS. Don't come to the theater expecting a sprawling, richly textured film like All the President's Men. At just 90 minutes, Good Night and Good Luck is a taut, focused look at one pivotal moment. The film is in black and white and it looks absolutely great. The cast is outstanding, particularly David Strathairn as Murrow. Joe McCarthy appears as himself in perfectly integrated film clips. 90 minutes. - EJO
The Gospel (PG) Boris Kodjoe, Nona Gaye, Idris Elba, Clifton Powell, Aloma Wright. The gospel music is great, but nothing else is the least bit convincing in this tale of a young singer who returns home when his father, a revered bishop in the local church, falls ill, only to find his lifestyle at odds with everything around him. 103 minutes. - EJO
In Her Shoes (PG-13) Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, Shirley MacLaine, Mark Feuerstein, Brooke Smith. The longest chick flick ever. OK, so that may not be a statement of fact, but at two hours and 10 minutes, a good editing could have improved the butt-numbing factor. The story of polar opposite sisters who come to realize they are two halves of a whole is sweet, and both Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette are likable, if a little over the top on the stereotype scale. Shirley MacLaine plays Grandma, a tough but fair older woman who has her own issue from the past that haunts her. 130 minutes. - Lisa Gauthier
Jarhead (R) Jake Gyllenhall, Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Foxx. This is a war movie that takes a bold approach: It doesn't have a lot of action. Instead, it focuses on examining the characters of a small group of Marines who spend most of their time waiting around for something that never happens. Based on a best-selling memoir from 2003, the movie feels like the truth. But don't expect it to uncover big secrets about the first Gulf War. What it does well is give the viewer a real idea of what it is like to be a Marine and to experience disappointment at its most devastating. Gyllenhall and Sarsgaard carry a tale that is both funny and heartbreaking. - Jim Walker
Just Like Heaven (PG-13) Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo, Donal Logue, Dina Waters, Ben Shenkman, Jon Heder. Harmless fluff about a perky doctor (Witherspoon) who collides with a truck. Her spirit returns to her apartment only to discover it's been subleased by a brooding male slob (Ruffalo). Of course, They Don't Like Each Other. Not psychotic or retarded. So that's something. This film is hopefully also a phase of Jon Heder's Napoleon Dynamite deconstruction. 94 minutes. - MS
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (R) Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan, Corbin Bernsen. Funny tale of a New York criminal (Downey) who gets a screen test in L.A. He teams up with a gay detective (Kilmer) on a case involving everyone in the film. The best performances by Downey and Kilmer (who are very funny together) in a long time. Writer/director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon) pokes fun at detective stories and to a certain degree action films, and most of the time it works. Black still has a long way to go to redeem himself for writing The Last Action Hero, The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight. 102 minutes. - Matthew Socey
The Legend of Zorro (PG) Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Adrian Alonso, Rufus Sewell. Sequel to the 1998 smash, there are wildly unrealistic and beautifully choreographed action scenes all over the place that are great fun to watch. My theory is that the stunts were created first and then the writers were given a few minutes to whip up a story to tie them together. The production moves along smoothly, there are many humorous moments and the new cast members are well-chosen. Banderas and Zeta-Jones remain appealing, though the screenplay keeps them apart for most of the movie. Though the film is too long by at least 20 minutes (as was the original), it offers fun for the whole family. Heck, Zorro and the missus even have a feisty 10-year-old son (Alonso). I guess I just wasn't prepared to see the rich, smart, sexy characters from the original movie plopped into a toothless family-friendly action comedy. 129 minutes.
Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D r(G) Narrated by Tom Hanks. Hanks' IMAX 3D love letter to the space program has a clear agenda. He aims to create the kind of enthusiasm that was shown for the Apollo program back in the '60s, especially with young people. To that end, Hanks and company have crafted an impressive 40-minute feature centered on a series of walks across the lunar surface. Special effects, the IMAX cameras and a very effective 3D process combine to work magic; the moon walks are strikingly realistic. Throughout the production, imaginatively presented 2D footage covers the history of the Apollo program. The film wraps up with a tantalizing look at the future of space expeditions, including a lunar outpost. 40 minutes. At the IMAX Theater in the State Museum. - EJO
North Country (R) Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, Sissy Spacek, Woody Harrelson, Sean Bean. North Country, based-on-true-life story, has all the makings of a made-for-TV movie. But its strong cast, historical approach to the important issue of women's rights, excellent non-tearjerker soundtrack loaded with Bob Dylan songs and beautifully shot exteriors of the bleak mining region of northern Minnesota lift North Country above the Lifetime Network fray. 123 minutes. - Jim Walker
Pride and Prejudice (PG) Keira Knightley, Matthew MacFayden, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Jena Malone. Delightful new adaptation of the Jane Austin novel geared towards the mall crowd who don't watch Masterpiece Theatre. Five sisters are used as bride bait by their mother and 18th century society. Will they all get married? Will they all be happy? Will their mother sit down and give it a rest? Knightley and MacFayden have nice chemistry together as Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, aka The Couple Who Don't Like Each Other. Major kudos to Sutherland as the daughters' father, and he's not playing a villain. 127 minutes. - Matthew Socey
Prime (PG-13) Meryl Streep, Uma Thurman, Bryan Greenberg, Annie Parisse, Ato Essandoh. Romantic comedy about mismatched lovers set in contemporary Manhattan. Thurman stars as Rafi, a 37-year-old photography producer reeling from a recent divorce, who meets David (Greenberg), a 23-year-old painter recently out of college. The film explores what happens when love at first sight meets the day-to-day realities of an adult relationship. Meryl Streep plays Rafi's therapist, Dr. Lisa Metzger. Lisa, who is working to help Rafi overcome her fears of intimacy, finds out that Rafi's new lover is - unfortunately for Lisa - her only son, David. Yikes. 106 minutes
Saw II (R) Donnie Wahlberg, Franky G, Glenn Plummer, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Shawnee Smith. Jigsaw is back. The twisted mastermind who wreaked havoc in the first film is back for another round of horrifying life-or-death games. When a new murder victim is discovered with all the signs of Jigsaw's hand, Detective Eric Mason (Wahlberg) begins a full investigation and apprehends Jigsaw with little effort. But for Jigsaw, getting caught is just another part of his nefarious plan. Eight more of his victims are already fighting for their lives - and now it's time for Mason to join the game. 91 minutes.
Shopgirl (R) Steve Martin, Claire Danes, Jason Schwartzman, Bridgette Wilson, Frances Conroy. Excellent screwball comedy about a starving artist (Danes) working at a department store torn between a scruffy slacker (Schwartzman) and an older, wealthy businessman (Martin). Standout performances from Danes and Martin. In the same league as Rushmore and Lost In Translation. 104 minutes. - MS
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (G) Helena Bonham Carter, Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes, John Thomson, Peter Kay. For those of us spoiled by the likes of Toy Story, Monsters Inc. or The Incredibles, Wallace and Gromit is just too tame, lacking any layer targeted at adults. Throwing in a couple of double entendres about boobs and nuts doesn't cut it. And attempts at referencing other movies - like Harvey and King Kong - felt clichéd and fell flat. 94 minutes. - Jim Walker
The Weatherman (R) Nicolas Cage, Hope Davis, Michael Caine, Gemmenne de la Pena, Nicholas Hoult. A good experience whose humor doesn't come cheap. Its philosophy isn't condescending and it is fittingly filled with beautiful shots of Chicago in winter. Cage shines in a role that would have been perfect for a younger Bill Murray. And Michael Caine is especially powerful as his ailing father. While The Weatherman doesn't venture into the absurd or the surreal to make its philosophical points, it is still full of very fun real-world oddities. 105 minutes. - Jim Walker
Zathura (PG) Jonah Bobo, Josh Hutcherson, Dax Shepard, Kristen Stewart. Director Jon Favreau (Elf) works wonders with this fantasy feature, from the author of Jumanji, about two young brothers who play a magical board game that sends them into outer space. The movie has a great retro look, the special effects - costumes and models mostly instead of computer graphics - are cool, the music is effective and the cast is talented. Unfortunately, Favreau's best efforts can't disguise the fundamental passivity of the story. A big part of the appeal of tales like this is experiencing the adventure vicariously through the lead players, but because of the way the story is structured, the boys don't do much of anything. You can't have a real adventure without derring-do and Zathura derring-doesn't. 95 minutes. - EJO