(PG-13) Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Heder, Jon Lovitz, Craig Kilborn, Tim Meadows, Molly Sims. Comedy. Gus (Scheider) and his nerdy buddies, Richie (Spade) and Clark (Heder), are scouted by a millionaire nerd, Mel (Lovitz), who wants to form a baseball team and compete with the meanest Little League teams in the state. A stellar ballplayer, Gus becomes a role model for nerds and outcasts everywhere. But when his fans learn that Gus, himself, was once a school bully, they feel outraged and betrayed, until Gus takes extraordinary steps to win back their admiration and trust. 80 minutes.
Lucky Number Slevin
(R) Josh Hartnett, Stanley Tucci, Ben Kingsley, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Lucy Liu. A case of mistaken identity lands Slevin (Hartnett) in the middle of a war being plotted by two of New York's most rival crime bosses: The Rabbi (Kingsley) and The Boss (Freeman). Slevin is under constant surveillance by relentless detective Brikowski (Tucci) as well as the infamous assassin Goodkat (Willis), and he finds himself having to hatch his own ingenious plot to get them ... before they get him. 109 minutes.
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont
(PG) Joan Plowright, Rupert Friend, Zoe Trapper, Anna Massey. Sweet and touching film about a widow (Plowright) who asks a young writer (Friend) to pose as her grandson and visit her and the other aging residents of an English hotel. A friendship blossoms and no, not like Harold and Maude. However, the theme of embracing life to the fullest is still there. Wonderful chemistry between Plowright and Friend. Throat lumps are possible at the film's climax. 108 minutes. At Landmark's Keystone Art Cinema. - Matthew Socey
(PG-13) Monique "Mo'Nique" Imes, Godfrey Danchimah, Joyful M'Chelle Drake, Jack Noseworthy, Eric Roberts. Starring Mo'Nique as Jazmin Biltmore, a smart-mouthed aspiring fashion designer, Phat Girlz is a comedy about two frustrated plus-size women obsessed with their weight while struggling to find love and acceptance in a world full of "hot bodied" babes. The Phat Girlz are thrown a major curve ball when they meet the men of their dreams in the most unexpected of ways. 99 minutes.
Take the Lead
(PG-13) Antonio Banderas, Rob Brown, Yaya DaCosta, Alfre Woodard, John Ortiz. Family drama inspired by a true story. The film revolves around internationally acclaimed ballroom dancer Pierre Dulane (Banderas), who volunteers to teach in the New York City public school system. But when his classic methods clash with his students' hip-hop instincts, he teams up with them to create a new style of dance and becomes their mentor in the process. 117 minutes.
Thank You for Smoking
(R) Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Cameron Bright, Adam Brody, Sam Elliott, Katie Holmes, David Koechner, Rob Lowe, William H. Macy. Smart, snappy R-rated comedies that aren't about overgrown frat boys trying to get laid do not come along very often, so please take note of Thank You for Smoking, an exceptional satire for grown-ups. Based on the novel by Christopher Buckley, the story of Nick Naylor (Eckhart), a charismatic lobbyist for the tobacco industry, is focused and very funny. Eckhart is wonderful as a master of the art of persuasion who truly loves his work. "The beauty of an argument is that if you argue correctly, you're never wrong," he tells his son, and he almost makes us believe him. 92 minutes. - EJO
Green Street Hooligans
(R) Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani, Marc Warren, Leo Gregory. After taking the fall for his roommate's cocaine, expelled Harvard student Matt Buckner (Wood) leaves his homeland to visit his sister and her husband in England. The mild-mannered kid soon gets introduced to hooliganism, an underworld of oft-warring British football fans. The fast-moving story about violence and belonging is fascinating, and the transformation of Buckner is frighteningly credible. 108 minutes. Held over at Key Cinemas Beech Grove. - EJO
In the Blue
(NR) Emily Wood, Adam Chandler, Bev Guyer, Charlotte Battin. During the Civil War, a young girl's dream of betrothal is suddenly dashed when, disguised as a man, she joins the Union Army to provide the much needed financial assistance to her family. Through a series of letters, the audience experiences Ruth's transition to life as a soldier. As the atrocities of the war unfold, Ruth is befriended by another soldier who protects her identity. On the battlefield, Ruth comes face to face with the enemy and ultimately, her fate. 30 minutes. The screening this Sunday at Birdy's will be followed by a live acoustic set by lead actor and musician Emily Wood. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
(NR) Bonnie Hunt, Kip Pardue, Tess Harper, Michael Learned, Michael Kelly. Low key, nicely done drama, inspired by a true story, and set in three different parts of North Carolina. A soft-spoken young gay drifter (Pardue) studying Loggerhead turtles is befriended by a local motel owner (Kelly). A middle-aged woman (Hunt) recovering from a breakdown decides to look for the child she gave up as a teen. The wife of a minister (Harper) must decide whether to adhere to the conservative stance of her husband or follow her emotions. All three stories work and the way they intertwine is both moving and surprising. 95 minutes. Held over at Key Cinemas Beech Grove. - EJO
(R) Bruce Willis, Mos Def, David Morse, David Zayas, David Sparrow. What seems like an easy job for a hump of a drunken cop (Willis) turns into a dramatic and predictable adventure on the mean streets of New York. While Willis - complete with a porno mustache - and Morse do a good job here and Mos Def is only somewhat annoying, the movie doesn't do much and pales in comparison to cop dramas we see every day on TV. - Jim Walker
(PG-13) Clifford "T.I." Harris, Lauren London, Albert Daniels, Keith David, Jackie Long. Coming-of-age story about four teens in a working-class Atlanta neighborhood where hip-hop music and roller skating rule. The acting is strong enough to more or less compensate for the routine storyline, which is loosely based on Dallas Austin and Tionne Watkins' experiences growing up in Atlanta and hanging out at a local skating rink called Jellybeans. 100 minutes. - EJO
(NR) The revolutionary 20th century dance troupe known as the Ballets Russes began as a group of Russian refugees, who never danced in Russia, and became not one but two rival dance troupes. Ballets Russes begins with the company's Diaghilev-era in turn-of-the-century Paris, when artists such as Nijinsky, Balanchine, Picasso, Miro, Matisse and Stravinsky united in an unparalleled collaboration. The film then explores the company's halcyon days of the 1930s and '40s, when the Ballets Russes toured America, astonishing audiences schooled in vaudeville with artistry never before seen. 120 minutes. At Landmark Keystone Art Cinema.
Basic Instinct 2
(R) Sharon Stone, David Morrissey, Stan Collymore, Charlotte Rampling, David Thewlis. Except for Sharon Stone, who asked for this? Worthless and unnecessary sequel to the overrated original, which spawned a plague of bad Are-They-Guilty-Or-Not-Let's-Shoot-Them-Anyway thrillers on TV, straight to video and in theaters. What does the sequel bring new to the table? Absolutely nothing. Big shocker, everyone's a suspect, Stone gets naked again and picks up a bigger paycheck. No chemistry between a sleepwalking Stone and Morrissey (no one's 20th choice). Stone's ass-whuppin' in Catwoman is more memorable than this smug junk. 114 minutes - Matthew Socey
(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
(R) Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Lester Makedonsky. Completely befuddling yet beguiling entertainment. The film opens with a many-minutes-long, absolutely static shot of the exterior of their building, which we eventually discover is a surveillance videotape recorded by ... who knows. Georges and Anne (Auteuil and Binoche) watch the tape, mystified; subsequent tapes torque the enigma further as the content becomes more personal to Georges. Great fun puzzling over its mysteries, but don't work too hard; after all, the title is Caché, meaning "hidden." - Jim Poyser
Deep Sea 3D
(G) Narrated by Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet. A corker, one of the best IMAX movies ever. Filmed over the course of a year, the production introduces viewers to an absolutely incredible array of undersea creatures. Remember the first time you saw the cantina scene in the original Star Wars? Welcome to the underwater version, only the life forms here are even weirder than the freaky denizens of that sci-fi gin joint. What you will see here is far more alien than anything George Lucas ever cooked up. And, thanks to some very effective 3D photography, these alien entities appear to be floating about as close to your face as this newspaper is right now. 40 minutes. At the IMAX Theater in the State Museum. - EJO
(PG) Paul Walker, Jason Biggs, Bruce Greenwood, Moon Bloodgood, Connor Christopher Levins. Disney film about a pack of snow dogs (sans Cuba Gooding, Jr.) left to survive in Antarctica. Inspired by a true story, the film has a March Of The Doggies feel as they survive in the frozen tundra, while the humans, who had to leave their research facility in Antarctica due to really bad weather, try to find them. Paul Walker's performance is good, but he is still upstaged by eight little doggies. Also, these dogs don't talk nor are there tired uses of pop songs with the word "Dog" in the title. Disney must be saving those for their Shaggy Dog remake. 112 minutes - Matthew Socey
Failure to Launch
(PG-13) Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Justin Bartha, Kathy Bates, Zooey Deschanel. Harmless formulaic romantic comedy. Thirtysomething Tripp (McConaughey) is still living with his parents. In desperation, they hire Paula (Parker) to coax/seduce their son out of the house. Guess what happens. McConaughey and Parker can do this kind of stuff in their sleep, which they more or less do. Bradshaw and Bates make an enjoyable set of parents, though. 97 minutes. - EJO
Find Me Guilty
(R) Vin Diesel, Peter Dinklage, Ron Silver, Annabella Sciorra, Linus Roache. Diesel plays one of 20 mobsters on trial, but the only one who defends himself. He cracks jokes and gets under the skin of the witnesses, the judge and some of his fellow defendants. Directed by the brilliant Sidney Lumet, this doesn't come close to his courtroom masterpieces (12 Angry Men, The Verdict), but it is Diesel's best performance. It helps he's directed by an artist, is surrounded by a strong supporting cast (Dinklage, Roache, Silver and the one-scene Sciorra) and it's a film where he doesn't shoot things, beat people up or get bitten by a duck. XXX fans will be pissed off by this film and that's really OK. 125 minutes. - Matthew Socey
The Hills Have Eyes
(R) Aaron Stanford, Kathleen Quinlan, Vinessa Shaw, Emilie de Ravin, Dan Byrd, Tom Bower, Billy Drago, Robert Joy, Ted Levine. Update of the 1977 Wes Craven horror story of a family road trip that goes terrifyingly awry when the travelers become stranded in a government atomic zone. Miles from nowhere, the Carters soon realize the seemingly uninhabited wasteland is actually the breeding ground of a blood-thirsty mutant family ... and they are the prey. 105 minutes.
Ice Age: The Meltdown
(PG) Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Dennis Leary, Queen Latifah. As far as sub-Pixar computer-generated cartoon features go, this is a perfectly serviceable little sequel. The filmmakers work in a steady stream of gags and some of them are quite funny. At the screening I attended, the kids seemed to enjoy themselves and the adults didn't fidget much. But there is no story to speak of, just a series of episodes about three prehistoric animal buddies and their new acquaintances. Thankfully, Scrat, the twitching, bug-eyed acorn-pursuing hybrid of a rat and a squirrel from the first film, makes a welcome return here in riotous Looney Tunes-inspired vignettes spaced throughout the movie. 90 minutes. - EJO
(R) Denzel Washington, Christopher Plummer, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe, Chiwetel Ejiofor. Spike Lee's new movie about a bank robbery is an utterly forgettable retread full of great actors doing very little with very little. Dafoe is in it and he does nothing! Yet, people seem to love this flash-filled film. Maybe it's because the story, written by a first-time screenwriter, has the advantage of being more original than a remake of the Pink Panther. - Jim Walker
Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector
(PG-13) Larry the Cable Guy, Iris Bahr, Eric Esteban, Tom Hillmann, Bruce Perkins. Vermin jokes. Fart jokes. Butt crack jokes. Ladies and gentlemen, we are talking comedy with a capital "C" here! Larry the Cable Guy is a health inspector assigned to investigate a series of food poisoning incidents at the city's top restaurants. 89 minutes.
Neil Young: Heart of Gold
(PG) Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Ben Keith, Spooner Oldham, Rick Rosas. Warm, engaging concert film of Neil Young and friends playing music from his latest album, Prairie Wind, and his acoustic greatest hits ("Heart Of Gold," "Harvest Moon," "Old Man") in Nashville. Major kudos for director Jonathan Demme (Stop Making Sense) for letting the cameras stay on stage and giving us time to look at the musicians. No MTV-ADHD-induced editing here. Except for the beginning where the musicians chat, it's all on the stage. Young fans shouldn't miss this and folks who just like a good evening of music should really check this out. 103 minutes. At the Landmark Keystone Art Cinema. - Matthew Socey
(G) A giant-screen IMAX visualization of an amazing story that is still going on. On the surface of the planet Mars right now - right this very second - there are two manmade robotic vehicles capable of navigating the rocky surface. Powered by solar panels, they explore the red planet, sending information back to eager scientists on Earth. Steve Squyres, lead science investigator at the NASA/Jet Propulsion laboratory, provides commentary for the 40-minute Disney film, recounting the fascinating story of the building, launching, landing and tasks of the space rovers Spirit and Opportunity. The film uses extensive computer animation to present the travels of the separately-launched rovers. Especially fascinating are segments depicting the separation stages following the launches and the complicated - and quite cool - landing procedures. 40 minutes. At the IMAX Theater in the Indiana State Museum through June 8. - EJO
The Shaggy Dog
(PG) Tim Allen, Kristin Davis, Robert Downey, Danny Glover, Zena Grey, Spencer Breslin, Jane Curtin. Tim Allen transforms back and forth between father to family dog in this update of the Disney 1959 comedy of the same name. The original wasn't very good and neither is this one. Want to see Allen hoist his leg at the urinal? Want to see dogs sniff his butt? Me neither. 99 minutes. - EJO
She's the Man
(PG-13) Amanda Bynes, James Kirk, Channing Tatum, David Cross, Alex Breckenridge. Just about everything and everybody in this teenybopper movie is cute. Turns out, that's not so bad. While formulaic and sophomoric, She's the Man - which was inspired by Shakespeare's Twelfth Night - makes good points about girls being able to accomplish what they want and offers a great message about how boys and girls should look past their assumptions and stereotypes of the opposite sex and see everybody as an individual. This is a good film for parents to take their adolescent or teen kids to on a family outing. It's bearable for adults and fun for teens. - Jim Walker
(R) Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker, Gregg Henry, Tania Saulnier. The sleepy town of Wheelsy could be any small town in America. But just beneath the surface charm, something unnamed and evil has arrived ... and is growing. No one seems to notice as telephone poles become clogged with missing pet flyers, or when one of the town's richest citizens, Grant Grant (Rooker), begins to act strangely. But when farmers' livestock turn up horribly mutilated and a young woman goes missing, Sheriff Bill Pardy (Fillion) and his team, aided by Grant's wife Starla (Banks), uncover the dark force laying siege to their town ... and come face-to-face with an older-than-time organism intent on absorbing and devouring all life on Earth. 96 minutes.
(PG-13) Jon Foster, Samaire Armstrong, Frankie Muniz, Sophia Bush, Adam Goldberg. After the mysterious, brutal death of an old friend, a group of teen-agers find themselves in possession of Stay Alive, an ultra-realistic 3-D videogame based on the chilling true story of a 17th century noblewoman, known as "The Blood Countess." The gamers don't know anything about the game other than they're not supposed to have it ... and they're dying to play it. Not able to resist temptation, the kids begin to play the grisly game but soon make a chilling connection - they are each being murdered one-by-one in the same way as the characters they played in the game. 85 minutes.
(R) Presley Chweneyagae, Mothusi Magano, Terry Pheto, Percy Matsemela, Jerry Mofokeng. Winner of the 2005 Best Foreign Film Oscar. A teen-age thug in South Africa learns about redemption after he discovers a baby in the car he just jacked. Simple tale very well-executed. A moving film, which doesn't take a sugary path. The film's climax should put lumps in throats. An excellent acting debut from Chweneyagae. 94 minutes. At Landmark Keystone Art Cinema. - Matthew Socey
V for Vendetta
(R) Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, John Hurt, Roger Allam, Stephen Fry. Moderately entertaining, highly stylized mystery/drama with impressive art direction and a muddled, overly talky script that is reminiscent of 1984 and Batman Begins. V (Weaving, Neo's most bothersome adversary in The Matrix), his identity hidden beneath a Guy Fawkes mask and, I think, a Cleopatra wig, sets out to topple the fascist government of future-England with bombs and murder and poor Evey (Portman) gets dragged into his crusade. An adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd (Moore had his name removed from the film), V for Vendetta offers bold visuals, sweeping movement, but little that will linger after you leave the theater. 131 minutes. - EJO
The World's Fastest Indian
(PG-13) Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Lawford, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Rodriguez, Diane Ladd. Burt Munro (Hopkins) never let the dreams of youth fade. After a lifetime of perfecting his classic Indian motorcycle, Burt set off from the bottom of the world (New Zealand) to test his bike at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. With all odds against him, he set a new speed record and captured the spirit of his times. Munro's 1967 world record remains unbroken and his legend lives on today. 127 minutes.