Anchorman -- Anchorman isn't so much a satire of TV news and 1970s sexism as it is an excuse for Will Ferrell to improvise for two hours in polyester. He does this better than most of his co-stars, but the result is more like a series of sketches than a movie. (MD) Rated: PG-13
The Bourne Supremacy -- Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) still doesn't know who he is or where he's come from, but he and his lover Marie (Franka Potente) just want to be left alone. Of course, they're not, and there will be hell to pay. Damon is up to action star status, Joan Allen is terrific as a CIA agent on the hunt. (ES) Rated PG-13
Cellular -- Don't answer that phone! This one's kind of like Phone Booth in reverse, as a wrong number turns out to create a race against time to save whoever it is on the other end of that cell phone (Kim Basinger). Starring Chris Evans and William H. Macy. Rated: PG-13
Collateral -- Michael Mann defines the mean streets of L.A. once more with stripped-down, street-savvy results. The acting's solid, and the digital video landscapes are dreamlike. With Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo and Javier Bardem. (RP) Rated: R
Control Room -- Control Room goes behind the scenes at CentComm and al-Jazeera satellite television as Baghdad is occupied. A documentary that elevates the estimable conventions of cinema verite, it demonstrates that the director of Startup.com, Jehane Noujaim, is a genuinely empathic filmmaker. It's an exemplar of the quiet, deliberate, observant style that Pennebaker-Maysles cinema verite has always intended to achieve. (RP) At the Met Sept. 24 at 3, 5:30 and 8 pm.
Cool Hand Luke -- Long before the salad dressings and pasta sauce, Paul Newman - with his flinty blue eyes and charming grin - was the coolest of the cool at the box office. In Cool Hand Luke (1967), he plays a resourceful thief who gets hard time in a rural prison for lopping the heads off parking meters. Similar to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and other films of the period, this is a story of one man against a cruel and repressive establishment. It's also - in one memorable scene - the story of one man against 50 hard-boiled eggs. (Sheri Boggs) Playing at the Garland at midnight on Fridays and Saturday nights.
Fahrenheit 9/11 -- Michael Moore's powerful, wrenching, drenching, heartfelt, ultimately patriotic polemic is a rapid-fire assemblage of what he finds awry in our nation's government over the past four years. It may be the electoral season's most controversial Rohrschach test. It's not a campaign commercial, but a hushed, mocking voice of outrage. (RP) Rated: R
Forces of Nature -- Kevin Bacon is your host on this jaunt into the path of tornadoes, volcanoes and earthquakes. The National Geographic/IMAX filmmakers are hot on the pursuit of tornadoes from Texas to North Dakota, in one instance, coming within 400 feet of being swept up in an F-3 twister. Not Rated.
Garden State -- Angst in the 20-something set is at the center of this story of a semi-successful actor (Zach Braff) who heads from L.A. to his hometown in New Jersey for his mother's funeral. He must deal with his uptight dad (Ian Holm) and the plights of his loser friends, as well as the possibility of a blooming romance with a free-spirited gal (Natalie Portman). (ES) Rated R
Hero -- Zhang Yimou's tale of treachery and revenge in ancient China works as one of the most exciting extravaganzas in years. Jet Li is a nameless man who says he's vanquished a would-be emperor's enemies. Flashbacks to sword fights are grand, as are bow-and-arrow attacks by massive armies. The photography and score are brilliant. (ES) Rated PG-13
I, Robot -- Fox apparently wasn't happy with this futuristic drama's initial showing and is re-releasing it for another try. The special effects, for once, are done right: Computer-generated robots instead of computer generated-creatures. And could it be that Will Smith is growing as an actor? Possibly, but it's hard to tell much of the time in this well-polished but ultimately noisy thriller. (MD) Rated: PG-13
IMAX Nascar -- Kiefer Sutherland is your personal pit boss on this up-close look at life behind the wheel. With in-car footage reaching 180 miles an hour, a 12,000-watt sound system and five stories of heart-stopping action. Not Rated.
Island of the Sharks -- If it's gory and/or violent food-chain action you're after, Island of the Sharks won't disappoint. In addition to all the hungry sharks patrolling the waters, you'll also see marlins decimate entire schools of fish as well as meet the mantis shrimp and its sickle claw of sudden, skewering death. But the film also offers glimpses of a bio-diverse ecological region. Not Rated.
Lewis & amp; Clark -- The IMAX folks have packed a lot into this vivid account of the two adventurers' travels across the American wilderness. (ES) Unrated
Mr. 3000 -- Bernie Mac plays a retired player for the Milwaukee Brewers who thinks his career is over until three of his hits are disqualified and he's under the magic 3000-hit mark. Back to home plate, Bernie. Angela Bassett plays a sports reporter and -- you guessed it -- Bernie's love interest. Rated: PG-13
Napoleon Dynamite -- One person's geek is another's superhero. Such is the appeal of indie effort Napoleon Dynamite, starring John Heder as the titular hero, who lives with his grandmother and brother in rural Idaho. Rated: PG-13
The Notebook -- Get out the Kleenex, but be prepared to smile, too. Gentle James Garner spends his days reading a love story to Alzheimer's patient Gena Rowlands, and that 1940s story is played out with Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as the young lovers. (ES) Rated: PG-13
The Princess Diaries 2 -- Five years after the events of The Princess Diaries, perky Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway), heiress of the Rinaldi family, is caught up in an intrigue for the throne of Genovia, Unfortunately, 70-year-old director Garry Marshall litters what's a spin on fairy tale dreams with way too many in-jokes and appearances by his old cronies. (RP) Rated: G
Resident Evil: Apocalypse -- You can't get a good series going without a sequel, and here the video game Resident Evil picks up where the first movie left off. One of only two biochemical warfare survivors left in the world, Alice (Milla Jovovich) battles both viruses and the zombies they create. Rated: R
Shrek 2 -- The story picks up right where the first one left off, with a little extra twist: Prince Charming arrives to rescue Princess Fiona, but it's too late; she's on her honeymoon. And Charming's mom -- Fairy Godmother -- is not happy. A visit by Fiona and Shrek to her parents' kingdom leads to marital strife, as well as new characters. This may not be as fresh as the original, but it's just as hip and funny. (ES) Rated PG
Sky Captain and the World Of Tomorrow -- Fans of old Saturday matinee serials are going to love this throwback to heroes, villains, damsels in distress and cliffhangers. Everyone else will likely be agog at the visual effects going on behind Jude Law (the hero) and Gwyneth Paltrow (the damsel), all of which were created on a computer before any actor stepped in front of a blue screen. Set circa 1940, this is about an evil plot involving kidnapped scientists, gigantic stomping robots, various flying weapons and more. The look is lavish, the mood is one of fantastical fun. It's a groundbreaker. (ES) Rated PG
Vanity Fair -- The William Thackeray novel gets another treatment, this time with Reese Witherspoon as Becky, the smiling, sneering social climber in 19th-century London. The multi-leveled story is wicked in its serious, satirical shots at class structure, and sometimes just wickedly funny. Jim Broadbent, Bob Hoskins and Gabriel Byrne play small, memorable roles. Rhys Ifans shows a terrific dramatic side. Superb costumes and design along with sumptuous cinematography. (ES) Rated PG-13
Wimbledon -- This would have been a lot more fun had they let John McEnroe play Paul Bettany's character -- a tennis pro with one last shot at Wimbledon (and love) with young racket phenom Kirsten Dunst. Could have called it Being John McEnroe. How come nobody ever comes to us for movie ideas? Rated: PG-13
Without a Paddle -- Three buddies (Seth Green, Matthew Lillard and Dax Shepherd) find themselves lost in the Oregon outback when their rafting trip takes a bad turn. You can pretty much imagine where the hijinks go from there. Look for a Deliverance reference involving Burt Reynolds as a crazy mountain man. Rated: PG-13
Capsule reviews are written by Ed Symkus (ES), Ray Pride (RP) and Marty Demarest (MD) unless otherwise noted.
Publication date: 09/23/04