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by Inlander Staff


After the Sunset -- Possibly the ideal film to more or less ignore while lounging poolside and sipping Jamaican rum, After the Sunset is 100-proof pap that's as inoffensively asinine as it is eager to explore the wonders of deep diving into Hayek's admittedly impressive cleavage. (Marc Savlov) Rated: PG-13





Alien vs. Predator -- Hollywood has been trying to get these two badasses together for years. And since both the baddies rely on special effects more than acting to succeed, most of the film's work will have to be done by the director. In this case, that means Paul W. S. Anderson, who brought the world the cheese-bombs Resident Evil and Event Horizon. Be afraid. Rated: PG-13





Back to the Future -- This sci-fi comedy made Deloreans even more coveted than they already were, while making young Michael J. Fox even more of a star than he already was. Marty McFly (Fox) accidentally gets sucked back into the '50s, just in time to meet his own parents when they were teenagers. Unfortunately his arrival bungles their ever meeting one another; Marty must scramble to get them together before he gets zapped back to 1985, otherwise he'll never be born. Christopher Lloyd camps it up as the neighborhood crackpot/mad scientist. (SB) Rated: PG (Playing at midnight Friday and Saturday night at the Garland)





Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason -- This sequel is nothing more than a rehash of the original, in reverse. It's a few weeks later, and slightly plump Bridget (Renee Zellweger) is now happily involved with dullard Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). That's different. But when caddish Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) happens by, she goes all goofy on him again -- maybe because he adores her big panties. The problem: No one is even likeable. Mark is above everyone, Daniel is a jerk, and Bridget, well, poor Bridget is a self-deprecating dummy. An exasperatingly unfunny comedy. (ES) Rated R





The Grudge -- A ghost or a curse or some such does bad things to anyone who enters a serene house in Tokyo, where Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) has taken a job caring for a dementia-riddled woman. Things go wrong and get worse for our heroine and everyone around her. But the filmmakers don't dole out enough information about what the hell is going on. It's scary, due to lots of visual shockeroos and creepy sounds. But in the end, nothing much makes sense. (ES) Rated PG-13





The Incredibles -- The likely final Pixar-Disney co-production is a major departure from Finding Nemo and Toy Story in that all of the characters are humans. One of them, Mr. Incredible (voice of Spokane native Craig T. Nelson) is a former superhero who was forced to retire and is now in insurance, but misses his old life. His wife, the former Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), is not happy when he has a chance to get back in the game, but no one is aware that it's a trap by an old enemy. Funny, scary, wild, thoughtful, filled with adult issues. The newest film from Brad Bird (The Iron Giant). (ES) Rated PG





National Treasure -- An absurdly plotted story has a third-generation treasure hunter (Nicolas Cage) believing that he's finally closing in on some long-lost glittery spoils from thousands of years past. The only problem now is that the supposed final clue is on the back of the very well protected Declaration of Independence, and he's not the only guy after it. The script relies too much on coincidences and long-winded speeches that lead only to more clues. But despite all of this, it's a pleasant enough, relatively harmless romp. (ES) Rated PG





The Polar Express -- The popular Chris Van Allsburg book gets the Robert Zemeckis treatment and a dazzling animated style that makes it look like a living Van Allsburg drawing. Never mind that train to Hogwarts. The one that pulls up at a young boy's house on Christmas Eve is headed for the North Pole and a certain jolly fat man. And it seems that the other young passengers have one thing in common: They're all wearing pajamas. Tom Hanks voices the conductor and four other parts, including the boy. Charming, wistful, with a nice dose of adventure. (ES) Rated G (Opens Wednesday, Nov. 10, at IMAX, AMC and Regal)





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 ostensibly a girl-empowerment spin on fairytale dreams with way too many in jokes and appearances by his doddering old cronies. The sets are shabby, the costumes are awful and there is so much superfluous junk going on in ill-framed shots you wonder about Marshall's deteriorating attention span. (RP) Rated: G





Ray -- Jamie Foxx delivers an astoundingly rich performance as musical legend Ray Charles. As one would expect, the music is great and the cast (especially Kerry Washington, Sharon Warren and Regina King) is exceptional. But in the end, this is Foxx's film, and he makes the most of it. Far from an impersonation, his performance is a respectful and accurate tribute to the man, suffused with passion, love, and pain. (Chuck Koplinski) Rated: PG-13





Santa vs. the Snowman -- Steve Oedekerk, the twisted mind behind Nickelodeon's Jimmy Neutron, has revitalized the Christmas special with just the right mix of the familiar and the original. When the Snowman covets Santa's beloved status, the future of Christmas is at stake. Armies of elves and snowmen can't settle things, so it's up to a girl to show everyone the real meaning of Christmas. This half-hour is filled with lots of laughs; the big battle alone is worth the price of admission. Not Rated. Only at Imax. (TM)





Saw -- Recommended, but only with the strenuous caveat that Saw may be one of the most disturbing movies I've ever seen. Put up against Se7en, its inventive mind warps go up to about 16.7. (RP) Rated: R





Shall We Dance? --- An American remake of the Japanese art house hit about a bored attorney (Richard Gere) who goes through a life change when he signs up for dance lessons after getting a look at the school's hot teacher (Jennifer Lopez). His wife (Susan Sarandon) thinks he's working late. Things get a weird at home, but grow funny and impassioned at the studio. An outrageously bewigged Stanley Tucci plays another dancer. Directed with pizzazz and gentleness by Peter Chelsom (Funny Bones). (ES) Rated PG-13





Shark Tale -- This underwater animated feature tells of a dreamer fish named Oscar (voice of Will Smith), who thinks he'll get ahead in the world by taking credit for killing a bad shark. When the shark's crime boss father (Robert De Niro) hears of Oscar's bragging, it's score-settling





SpongeBob SquarePants Movie -- I suppose it was only a matter of time before television's most famous animated member of the phylum Porifera got a movie of his own in which to spread his, um, porous structure and fibrous skeleton. Well, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. SpongeBob SquarePants is pretty darn funny (and sexually ambiguous) in his own irrepressibly cheery way. Here the moist and clueless little fella sets out on a dangerous mission to recover King Neptune's stolen crown. Will he end up the hero or the goat? Don't tell me. Rated: PG





Capsule reviews are written by Ed Symkus (ES) and Ray Pride (RP) unless otherwise noted.





Publication date: 11/25/04

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