Alaska - A solid natural history documentary that explores the beauty and harsh realities of nature in an extreme environment, Alaska is deserving of its 1997 Oscar for best documentary short. At the IMAX. (Randy Matin)
The Bourne Identity - A thriller about an amnesiac who discovers his dark past at the same time as the audience. Director Doug Liman brings the virtues of his intimate, indie filmmaking style to what could have been another dated Cold War retread. With Matt Damon, never better, and Franka Potente (Run Lola Run), always fine. (RP) RATED: PG-13
The Business of Fancydancing - Sherman Alexie's The Business of Fancydancing, is a low-budget, shot-on-digital-video rumination on the disappointments in the life of a rich, famous gay Indian poet. Evan Adams' Seymour Polatkin is a memorable portrait of internal conflict, and the film is rich with lived experience -- both of the Northwest and of cultural clashes. (RP) Not rated. Showing at The Met through July 14.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - Based on Rebecca Wells' enormously popular 1996 novel, Divine Secrets tells the story of four irrepressible and close-knit friends growing up in 1950s Louisiana. Through flashbacks and storytelling, one of their own (played by Ellen Burstyn) repairs her relationship with her estranged daughter (Sandra Bullock) by sharing the secrets of the Ya-Yas. Rated: PG-13
Hey Arnold - Is it more like a football, a lemon or a gravy boat? Whatever object you think Arnold's head most resembles, the fact remains that he is still Nickelodeon's newest and hippest cartoon star. In this, his cinematic debut, our young protagonist goes head to head (there it is again!) with powerful developers who plan to raze the city and build a "mall-plex" in its stead. Let's hope he can head them off at the pass! Voices by Spencer Klein, Dan Castellaneta, Paul Sorvino and Jennifer Jason Leigh. RATED: PG
Insomnia - Al Pacino is half of the L.A. cop team sent up to small-town Alaska to help solve a gruesome murder. Or are they there because someone back home wanted them out of town? A remake of a 1997 Norwegian film, this is a study of what happens when things go very wrong and physical exhaustion gets in the way of them getting any better. The story keeps getting more and more tense, especially when bad guy Robin Williams, playing it with expert blandness, first makes his creepy entrance and then gets creepier. (ES) RATED: R
Like Mike - Rapper Lil Bow Wow makes his cinematic debut as a 14-year-old orphan who can't shoot, can't dribble, can't slam dunk and he's also pretty short. He finds an old pair of sneakers, mysteriously inscribed with the initials "M.J." and when he dons them, he's suddenly a basketball pro. Let's hope he didn't find Michael Jackson's shoes by mistake! With Eugene Levy and Jonathan Lipnicki. RATED: PG
Lilo & amp; Stitch - The Disney studio returns to traditional drawing techniques, using some gorgeous watercolor effects with a decidedly nontraditional story. Stitch is a dangerous creature from another world, being hunted by his own, who lands on Earth and manages to get adopted by orphaned sisters Nani and Lilo, who are having their own problems with each other. The theme of the film is "family," and, no surprise, after all the adventure and sight gags and quibbling, everyone, from Earth and beyond, manages to live happily ever after. (ES) RATED: PG
Men in Black II - In the relentless 88 minutes of Men In Black II, Director Barry Sonnenfeld does justice to the now-familiar Laurel and Hardy-style teaming of secret agent/planetary guardians Jay (Will Smith) and Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) without deepening the earlier installment. Newcomers include evil alien-turned-underwear model Lara Flynn Boyle, a two-headed halfwit sidekick played by Johnny Knoxville, and the startlingly beautiful Rosario Dawson as a potential love interest for Smith -- if he doesn't have to erase her memory. Plus Frank the pug. Do not allow anyone to tell you anything that Frank the pug does. Just follow him around with a smile on your face. (RP) Rated: PG-13
Minority Report - Steven Spielberg's second dystopian science fiction tale in a row finds Tom Cruise the head of the D.C. "Department of Pre-Crime," which has prevented homicides for six years through the exploitation of the "Pre-Cogs," a mysterious trio of seers who can predict the future -- or at least one dark part of it. The greatest strength of the dark, yet brisk Minority Report is that it elaborates Philip K. Dick's seething paranoia in a Hitchcock-style murder mystery, while also using the sci-fi genre's conventions to reflect disturbing social themes that are relevant today. RATED: PG-13 (RP)
Mr. Deeds - Adam Sandler takes on the old Gary Cooper role of Longfellow Deeds. He's a simple man with simple tastes, who comes into an inherited fortune and is brought to the big city, only to be taken apart by the media and duped by a woman (Winona Ryder) who eventually begins to see that he's a terrific guy. Lots of slapstick and goofy gags, with high-octane scene-stealing by John Turturro as a servant. (ES) Rated PG-13
PowerPuff Girls Movie - The Cartoon Network TV show about the creation of three cute little super-powered girls transfers to the big screen in simply animated, stylistic manner. The professor who makes them doesn't know what to do with them; the friends they meet at school react weirdly to the natural, joyous chaos they create; the evil, mutated monkey named Mojo Jojo becomes their sharp-toothed nemesis. The film is at times very funny and consistently violent. But any kid who's a fan of the series will be used to that. This is really just bigger and louder. (ES) Rated: PG
Scooby-Doo - The ridiculously awful TV cartoon makes a surprisingly good transition to the screen, thanks to the spirited cast and to the creative use of computer-generated animation for the big, hungry dog. The story is about the former pals of Mystery Inc. getting back together to figure out the strange goings on at Spooky Island. Scooby and Shaggy eat a lot of food (and dog biscuits). Sarah Michelle Gellar wears a very short dress. Goofy fun for all. (ES) RATED: PG
Space Station - The newest IMAX experience shoots its giant screen cameras up to the International Space Station to watch its assembly and visit with different crews during their long stays. It also generates amazing special effects, magnificently showing astronauts and cosmonauts out in the middle of spacewalks, with the Earth glowing in the blackness around them. Fascinating visuals, but some of Tom Cruise's narration is kind of dry. (ES) Rated: G3
Spider-Man - As superhero origin stories go, Sam Raimi does a decent job of bringing zing and neurosis to the screen, and the web-swinging along the real and imagined streets of New York City is a thrill. Tobey Maguire's very good; Kirsten Dunst is sweet. Willem Dafoe's good, but his Green Goblin character is an un-involving computer-generated fizzle. (RP) Rated: PG-13
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron - The summer's first animated feature is about a wild horse in the Old West who is captured by the military, shown the way of freedom by Native Americans and spends most of the film -- a quietly dazzling blend of traditional and computer animation -- getting in and out of major crises. Some funny stuff, lots of drama and a tepid batch of songs from Bryan Adams welling up in the background. (ES) RATED: G
The Sum of All Fears - A long-lost nuclear bomb is found and is soon in some very wrong hands. It's up to CIA analyst Ben Affleck, the newest Jack Ryan, to save the day. But Affleck is as flat in the part as the story is confusing. He's either wandering with a blank look on his face or yelling at people over radios and phones. The film is a big, explosive bore. (ES) Rated: PG-13
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones - Somewhere in between Episode One and Episode Two, the Force came back -- the creative force that George Lucas seemed to have misplaced. This is a mix of exciting action and young romance, with the film smoothly shooting back and forth between the two. It's 10 years later, and young Anakin has become a feisty apprentice to Obi-Wan in the ways of the Jedi. Queen Amidala is now a senator, with assassins on her trail. Obi-Wan and Anakin do their best to save the day. (ES) Rated PG
Ultimate X - The note under the Rated PG symbol says it all: "Daredevil sports action and mild language." ESPN's wildly popular Summer X Games 2001 in Philadelphia come to life on the five-story IMAX screen, with breathtaking footage of street luge, moto X, biking, skateboarding and more. RATED: PG
Windtalkers - John Woo's newest violent epic borrows from the true story of Navajo Indians who, as Marines, used their own language in World War II to confound Japanese code breakers. Nic Cage is the troubled soldier who must protect the code at all costs. The problem is that the film spends too much time on him and his problems rather than on the windtalkers who actually helped to win the war. (ES) RATED: R
& lt;i & Capsule reviews are written by Ed Symkus (ES) and Ray Pride (RP), unless otherwise noted. & lt;/i &
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The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.