Date Movie (PG-13) Alyson Hannigan, Adam Campbell, Jennifer Coolidge, Tony Cox, Fred Willard. Send-up of boy-meets-girl romantic comedies, from some of the creators of Scary Movie. The film is not being screened for critics, which is usually a very bad sign. But who knows, perhaps the film is so incredibly funny that the studio felt that reviews were unnecessary. 85 minutes.
Eight Below (PG) Paul Walker, Jason Biggs, Bruce Greenwood, Moon Bloodgood, Connor Christopher Levins. Inspired by a true story, Eight Below is an action-adventure about loyalty and the bonds of friendship set in the extreme wilderness of Antarctica. The film tells the story of three members of a scientific expedition - Jerry Shepard (Walker), his best friend, Cooper (Biggs), and a rugged American geologist (Greenwood) - who are forced to leave behind their team of beloved sled dogs due to a sudden accident and perilous weather conditions in Antarctica. During the harsh, Antarctic winter, the dogs must struggle for survival alone in the intense frozen wilderness for over six months. The film is inspired by the events of a 1957 Japanese Antarctic Expedition, which served as the basis for the blockbuster Japanese film Nankyoku Monogatari (Antarctica). 112 minutes.
Freedomland (R) Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore, Edie Falco, Ron Eldard, William Forsythe. A bloodied woman staggers mute and dazed into the emergency room at the Dempsy Medical Center. After treatment for shock and hysteria, Brenda Martin (Moore) recounts to Dempsy police detective Lorenzo Council (Jackson) a horrific tale of being carjacked on the isolated strip of undeveloped land that divides Dempsy's urban housing projects from the blue collar town of Gannon, where she lives. She claims she was forced out of her car, but during the interrogation Council senses he's not getting the whole story. Only after hours of questioning does Brenda finally break down and confess that her 4-year-old son was asleep in the back seat of the stolen car. Led by activist Karen Collucci (Falco), members of the communities of Dempsy and Gannon unite in a search for the missing child, but the criminal investigation into the alleged kidnapping by a suspect who is presumed to be a local from the projects soon ignites long-simmering racial tensions between the two towns. 102 minutes.
Imagine Me and You (R) Piper Perabo, Matthew Goode, Lena Headey, Anthony Head, Celia Imrie. Romantic-comedy with a gay twist set in London. The movie begins with the wedding of Rachel (Perabo) and Heck (Goode). Although they seem blissfully happy, Rachel is masking some Sapphic thoughts after eyeing Luce, the wedding florist (Headey), during the ceremony. As luck would have it, one of Heck's male friends, Cooper (Darren Boyd), has fallen for Luce, allowing her and Rachel to meet socially and to consider consummating their desire for one another. 93 minutes.
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.
Annapolis (PG-13) James Franco, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, Donnie Wahlberg, Chi McBride. Cliché-filled story about Jake (Franco), a kid from a poor family, trying to make it in the Naval Academy at Annapolis. The going is rough and things look bad, then a desperate Jake decides to enter the infamous Navy boxing competition known as the Brigade Championships, where he must face off against his arch-nemesis, Midshipman Lt. Cole (Gibson). Guess what happens. 108 minutes. - EJO
Big Momma's House 2 (PG-13) Martin Lawrence, Elton LeBlanc, Nia Long, Michelle Parylak, Marisol Nichols. Crappy slapstick sequel to the hit comedy about master-of-disguise, FBI special agent Malcolm Turner (Lawrence) running around dressed like an old lady. If you like the first one, here's more. 99 minutes. - EJO
Brokeback Mountain (R) Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Linda Cardellini, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams, Randy Quaid. The much ballyhooed "gay cowboy movie" is a sad, beautiful story of two young men tending sheep in 1963 Wyoming who have sex with each other one cold, liquor-laced night. So what does one cowboy say to the other on the morning after? Not much. "You know I ain't queer," Ennis mutters, to which Jack states, "Me neither." But the sex continues and turns to love, though they are unable to verbalize their feelings. Ang Lee (The Ice Storm) is a polite filmmaker, and he is perhaps a bit too polite with his adaptation of Annie Proulx's superb 1997 short story. Still, the production, packed with great acting (especially by Ledger and Gyllenhaal) in front of gorgeous scenery is a very good film, one of the best of 2005. 134 minutes. - EJO
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
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (PG) Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, Helena Bonham Carter, David Kelly, Noah Taylor. The Tim Burton family hit, now on the giant-screen at the IMAX Theater in the Indiana State Museum. 120 minutes.\
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (PG) Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Tilda Swinton. The film is surprisingly simple, but generally effective, though it takes forever to get rolling. My guess is that children will enjoy the movie once they squirm their way through that boring early stretch. As for the adults - the acting is fine (standouts include Swinton, Keynes and Henley) and the special effects range from serviceable to positively striking (check out the detail on the lion). 140 minutes. - EJO
Curious George (G) Will Ferrell, Drew Barrymore, David Cross, Eugene Levy, Dick Van Dyke. The beloved little monkey from the children's books gets his own movie. The filmmakers maintain the tone of the books nicely. Young children should have a good time, but grown-ups will likely be bored to tears once the initial warmth of nostalgia passes. 82 minutes. - EJO
End of the Spear (PG-13) Louie Leonardo, Chad Allen, Jack Guzman, Christina Souza, Chase Ellison. A savage killer from a remote Amazon tribe becomes grandfather to the grandchildren of the North American man he killed. 111 minutes.
Final Destination 3 (R) Ryan Merriman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Texas Battle, Gina Holden, Dustin Milligan. A third round of Rube Goldberg-style deaths in the morbid horror series. This time, a high school student fails to stop a roller coaster ride that she predicted would cause the deaths of several of her friends. As a result, the Grim Reaper comes a calling once again. As Dead Teenagers Movies go, this is one of the more ingenious ones. The deaths are gruesome, but very imaginative and well-staged. 92 minutes. - EJO
Firewall (PG-13) Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany, Virginia Madsen, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Robert Patrick, Robert Forster, Alan Arkin. Generic action-thriller. Ford plays a computer security specialist at a Seattle bank who is forced to electronically rob his own company when his family is taken hostage by Eurotrash villain Bill Cox (Paul Bettany) and his band of thugs. It plays out like this: Smug, smooth-talking Bettany and his gang terrorize the family. Ford grimaces and seethes, but obeys for a while. Finally, he switches to action-hero mode and kicks major Eurotrash ass. The end. The film isn't awful; it's simply lame and redundant. 105 minutes. - EJO
Fun with Dick and Jane (PG-13) Jim Carrey, Téa Leoni, Angie Harmon, Jeff Garlin, Alec Baldwin. When upscale married couple Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni find themselves in financial ruin due to the collapse of an Enron-style company, they decide the best way to maintain their quality of life is to become armed robbers. A remake of the 1977 Jane Fonda/George Segal comedy, which was based on the novel by Gerald Gaiser. 85 minutes.
Good Night and Good Luck (PG) David Strathairn, George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Patricia Clarkson. 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
Glory Road (PG) Josh Lucas, Jon Voight, Derek Luke, Austin Nichols, Emily Deschanel. Glory Road isn't just a basketball movie. It's an important film about the recent, racist history of the United States and a team and coach who braved bigotry to make a difference. This film, which will be a perfect teaching tool for young people, may have little weaknesses — especially for basketball fans searching for problems — but all of that can be overlooked because of the big message. Be sure to stick around for the closing credits that feature documentary interviews with the real players and coach involved in the true-life story. - Jim Walker
Hoodwinked (PG) Voices of Anne Hathaway, Glenn Close, Jim Belushi, Patrick Warburton, Anthony Anderson, David Ogden Stiers, Xzibit, Chazz Palminteri, Andy Dick. Nice premise gets bogged down in the second-half by clichéd action-film thrills. When a film is 80-some minutes and 10 of it is padded with not good musical numbers and it feels too long, that's trouble. For those who think hearing Grannies say "Bring it" and snowboarding is really, really funny. 83 minutes. - Matthew Socey
Last Holiday (PG-13) Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton, Giancarlo Esposito, Alicia Witt. It could have gone so awry. Latifah stars as a working-class woman who learns she only has weeks to live, and resolves to blow her savings on the vacation of her dreams. Along the way she and everyone she meets learn life lessons, love is found, life is affirmed, that sort of thing. Last Holiday never gives into tearjerking sentiment. Also, it's really, really funny, which is the point. Latifah heads up a cast of people who seem to be having fun with their roles, all of which are drawn from mistaken-identity stock comedy. 112 minutes. - PFPP
The Matador (R) Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Hope Davis, Philip Baker Hall, Adam Scott. Julian Noble (Brosnan) is a hit man who's very good at what he does, but is losing his taste for the business. Danny (Kinnear) is a salesman whose marriage and finances are in trouble. One night, at the hotel bar, these two men meet. Before long, they find themselves having an extremely unique Mexico City experience, one that will change them both forever. Julian the hit man, Danny the ordinary American businessman, find that while they have nothing in common, they both need each other in ways they never knew they would. 97 minutes.
Match Point (R) Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Emily Mortimer. A dark tale with a light touch. Match Point is a psychological thriller that revisits a couple of Allen's most durable themes, luck and guilt, then adds seduction to the mix to come up with a tale as delectable as vintage Hitchcock. This is ground that Allen's covered masterfully in the past, most notably in Crimes and Misdemeanors. While Match Point may not provide as many tones as that film (there's no comic relief, in other words, no Woody Allen stand-in), there's an authority in its craft, and an ingenuity to its denouement that makes it a pleasure in its own right. - David Hoppe
Memoirs of a Geisha (PG-13) Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Michelle Yeoh, Gong Li. Based on the popular novel by Arthur Golden and directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago), Memoirs is the journey of a young peasant girl who is sold into the most prominent geisha household and grows up to become a legend.136 minutes. - Ellen Kizik
Mrs. Henderson Presents (R) Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins, Kelly Reilly, Christopher Guest, William Young. Based on the true story of London's Windmill Theater, the latest from director Stephen Frears stars Judi Dench as Laura Henderson, a widowed society woman in the 1930s who purchases the abandoned West End venue as a means to help her pass the time. 103 minutes.
Munich (R) Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Marie-Josee Croze, Geoffrey Rush, Mathieu Kassovitz. Steven Spielberg's examination of the 1972 massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes and its aftermath is a neatly woven political thriller, reminiscent of morally murky spy thrillers of the 1960s and 1970s, but never quite finds the heart Spielberg is looking for. Don't expect Schindler's List-level greatness from this, but do take heart in the fact that Spielberg is stripping himself of the cloying sentiment that weighs down even his best historical films. Just enjoy the tension as Eric Bana leads a hit squad out to kill a group of terrorist masterminds, and marvel at how Spielberg can still stage an incredibly intense, nail-biting scene when the situation calls for it. 164 minutes. - PFPP
Nanny McPhee (PG) Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Angela Lansbury, Kelly MacDonald, Thomas Sangster. In this fable for kids, magical Nanny McPhee (Thompson) enters the household of the recently widowed Mr. Brown (Firth) and attempts to tame his seven exceedingly ill-behaved children. The children, led by the oldest boy Simon (Sangster), have managed to drive away 17 previous nannies and are certain that they will have no trouble with this one. But as Nanny McPhee takes control, they begin to notice that their vile behavior now leads swiftly and magically to rather startling consequences. 98 minutes.
The New World (PG-13) Colin Farrell, Michael Greyeyes, Christopher Plummer, August Schellenberg, Wes Studi. Terrence Malick once again explores cultural schisms in mesmerizing, heartbreaking ways, with the environment itself - trees, wind, water - as much a character as his human actors. This time, he re-imagines the relationship between Capt. John Smith (Farrell) and Pocahontas (Kilcher) in Jamestown in 1607 (and beyond). It's not fair, though: the Naturals (as the English called them) are at home in the wild, at one with nature, while the pasty white Englishmen are soon nothing but bags of pitiable bones. Beware: You may not only be inspired to turn off your cell phone, you may end up throwing it away. 135 minutes. - Jim Poyser
The Pink Panther (PG) Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Beyonce Knowles, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer. There was no reason for this movie to have been made. It does nothing new, nothing very funny and insults the intelligence of the audience. But it's still No. 1! The movie also serves, quite crassly, as a huge product placement for Beyonce Knowles. If you're in the mood for The Pink Panther, save some money and go rent one from the original series. If you're in the mood for Steve Martin or Kevin Kline, rent one of their good, old movies. If you're in the mood for Knowles, listen to one of her CDs. - Jim Walker
Roving Mars (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
Transamerica (R) Felicity Huffman, Kevin Zegers, Fionnula Flanagan, Elizabeth Pena, Graham Greene, Burt Young, Carrie Preston. Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives shines as a preoperative transsexual forced to take a cross-country road trip with a sullen 17-year-old (Zegers) who has no idea that the woman behind the steering wheel is his father. First-time feature writer-director Duncan Tucker lays it on a bit thick (Note to the filmmaker: Too many quirky characters in one place can wear out the viewer.) and he stretches credulity awfully thin, even by road movie standards (wait until you see how long it takes Toby to figure out who Bree really is), but his missteps are easy to forgive. Transamerica is a sweet, tender and funny look at two people trying to find out where they fit in the scheme of things. 103 minutes. - EJO
Something New (PG-13) Sanaa Lathan, Simon Baker, Mike Epps, Donald Faison, Blair Underwood. If love is an adventure, it's one yet to be embarked upon by Kenya Denise McQueen (Lathan). A beautiful L.A. career woman, Kenya works as a senior manager at a prestigious accounting firm, and is on the verge of making partner. But she has yet to find her own partner and a fulfilling personal life. It's not that she's stopped looking; her (mental) checklist is at the ready. After another Valentine's Day spent working late, Kenya agrees to a blind date with Brian Kelly (Baker), a sexy and free-spirited landscape architect who turns out to be not exactly what she'd pictured for herself. 100 minutes.
Syriana (R) George Clooney, Matt Damon, Jeffrey Wright, Chris Cooper, William Hurt, Mazhar Munir. Stephen Gagham, who wrote Traffic, is the screenplay writer and director of Syriana, a multilayered geopolitical thriller based on the book by Robert Baer. Critical response to the movie has been rapturous, which you may want to bear in mind when I tell you that I found the movie overcomplicated and emotionally distant. Oh, and glib. There are many interesting moments and a few of the major scenes play out well, but for most of the film, I was too busy trying to remember who was who and how they related with each other to fully experience the movie. Either Syriana is overly dense or I am. 127 minutes. - EJO
Underworld: Evolution (R) Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Bill Nighy, Tony Curran, Derek Jacobi. The sequel to the 2002 underground hit of vampires and werewolves at war comes straight on the heels of another vampire apocalypse flick, BloodRayne. It's considerably more competently carried out than that particular disaster, and yet somehow less entertaining. Just a couple of superheroes, a couple of supermonsters and ultraviolence. Works well enough, I suppose, but when you go in with more subplots than Traffic you sort of expect them to pay off somehow. 106 minutes. - Paul F. P. Pogue
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
When a Stranger Calls (PG-13) Camilla Belle, John Bobek, Molly Bryant, Madeline Carroll, Katie Cassidy. A young high school student's babysitting gig ends in a nightmare when she receives mysterious phone calls at the house to check on the children, only to find them dead. Years later, the traumatized woman must fight for her life when the stranger starts calling for her. 83 minutes.
The White Countess (PG-13) Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson, Lynne Redgrave, Vanessa Redgrave. Sadly, the last Merchant/Ivory film (producer Ismael Merchant died in 2005). The film really works with the story of a blind American diplomat (Fiennes) and a Russian countess turned dance hall girl (Richardson) in 1934 Shanghai growing closer together. When political turmoil rips through China, the film almost turns into a Far East Casablanca (minus the love triangle). Fortunately, not enough to spoil the entire film. 138 minutes. - Matt Socey