8 Mile -- There's a reason that Eminem is so popular on the hip-hop scene: He's good at what he does. And he's also quite good, it turns out, at acting, here playing a slightly less edgy version of himself in director Curtis Hanson's (L.A. Confidential) formulaic story of young men and women trying to their make dreams come true in ratty Detroit. Rapping bookends the film, and there's some in between, but most of this is a people story, not a music one. Violence does pop up, but it isn't exploited. (ES) Rated: R
Das Experiment -- Inspired by the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, 20 German men agree to take part in a psychological study in which they are separated into guards and prisoners, and housed in a prison environment. The two-week experiment goes well until one of the prisoners (Moritz Bleibtreu) starts a rebellion and elicits the retaliation of the guards. Rated: R. At the Met on Thurs., Nov. 14 at 2:30, 5:30 and 8 pm.
Femme Fatale -- A happily married woman (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) has a secret past as a jewel thief, one who was so good she could steal the pearls right off a model at a fashion show. But $10 million can only buy so much of a new life, and now a photographer (Antonio Banderas) is threatening to release her identity. Rated: R
Frida -- Salma Hayek plays the gifted-but-troubled painter, Frida Kahlo, whose life -- and mostly her loves, including husband Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina), Leon Trotsky (Geoffrey Rush) and numerous female lovers -- is chronicled in this elegant biopic. Also starring Ashley Judd (as Tina Modotti) and Edward Norton (as Nelson Rockefeller). Rated: R
Ghost Ship -- Despite a fantastically staged opening segment, in which the wealthy passengers of an ocean liner are wiped out, the rest of the film -- about a salvage crew that stumbles upon the ship decades later -- doesn't hold up. Come to think of it, this is a remake of the 1952 film Ghost Ship. (ES) Rated R
I Spy -- A funny Eddie Murphy movie: there's a high-concept pitch. With I Spy, Owen Wilson's sly wake-and-bake lassitude makes an ideal comic foil to Eddie Murphy's banty-rooster cockiness; there are two scenes I won't describe where the pair are nothing less than comedic helium. Opening with an avalanche scene that seems like XXX-lite, I Spy is zingy studio product until you get Wilson, as a second-tier spy hotshot and Murphy, as a champion boxer who refers to himself in the third person, in the same room. (RP) Rated: PG-13
Jackass: The Movie -- Why is this film a box office hit? Because it's funny -- in a naughty, totally juvenile way. Grown men putting their bodies in harm's way, just to prove they're willing to do insane stunts, or just to really annoy unwitting people in a deranged homage to Candid Camera. I had to turn away from the vomiting, defecating and paper-cutting scenes. And about half of the visual gags fell flat. Yet I was laughing out loud in the dark, quite often. Great beginning, great ending. (ES) Rated R
My Big Fat Greek Wedding -- This is the slobbo American version of Four Weddings and a Funeral, getting no marks for subtlety but laughs from those of us who can laugh at the idea of an obnoxious ethnic family getting into the marital spirit. (RP) RATED: PG
Punch-Drunk Love -- Anyone who accused Paul Thomas Anderson of getting into a rut with Boogie Nights and Magnolia has some tongue-biting to do now. This one is different, not only from those films but from everything else, too. Adam Sandler delivers an edgy, inward performance as a lonely small business owner who errs by calling a phone sex service just as he meets a terrific woman (Emily Watson). From there, it's kind of tough to figure what else this is about. Very offbeat, for both Sandler and Anderson. (ES) Rated: R
Red Dragon -- Hannibal Lecter stays behind bars -- where he's most scary -- for much of Red Dragon. Anthony Hopkins still dominates the film -- not an easy task when surrounded by the likes of Ed Norton (as a detective hunting a killer called "The Tooth Fairy") and Phillip Seymour Hoffman (as a sleazy reporter). Rated: R (Marty Demarest)
The Ring -- Naomi Watts' first feature since Mulholland Drive finds her in cute little boots, eager to scream at the complications in this remake of a Japanese smash hit that bore two sequels. Unfortunately, "supernatural" here is another word for "incomprehensible." Rated: PG-13 (RP)
Santa Clause 2 -- Eight years after the original Santa Clause, Tim Allen finally reads the fine print on his contract and realizes he either needs to find a Mrs. Claus or he's out of a job. While he's out conducting auditions, his stand-in is wreaking havoc back at the North Pole. All we want to know is, doesn't it seem a little early to be releasing a holiday film? Rated: G
Signs -- The newest outing from M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable) focuses on what happens when crop signs -- the flattening of farm fields into huge, bizarre shapes -- start popping up all over the world. The focus is on a small, troubled family, headed by former reverend Mel Gibson. (ES) Rated: PG-13
Spirited Away -- Spirited Away is the year's best film. When her parents are transformed into swine, Chihiro is trapped in a mystical bathhouse where the spirits of things like radishes and rivers come to cleanse themselves of their encounters with humans. The visuals may be the greatest ever committed to film, and Chihiro is heart-rendingly credible. This is not a children's film that adults will also enjoy -- everyone will be transported. In English. Rated: PG (Marty Demarest)
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones -- It's back, and it's ready for its close-up. November is Attack of the Clones month at the IMAX, and this combo mix of exciting action and young romance is a welcome improvement on Episode I. 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. Thrilling chases through the busy skies, comic relief from the robots, a terrific score and, oh yes, a few short appearances by Jar Jar Binks. (ES) Rated PG
Sweet Home Alabama -- Despite some terrific acting from Josh Lucas, as a nice redneck fella whose wife walked out on him years before, and competent acting from Reese Witherspoon, as the nasty wife who has since reinvented herself as a proper New Yorker, this story is just too flimsy. (ES) RATED: PG-13
Tuck Everlasting -- The Natalie Babbitt novel for young adults comes vibrantly to life on the screen, telling of wealthy but unhappy Winnie, taking a walk in her family's woods one day and stumbling across Jesse, one of the sons in the mysterious and rustic Tuck family. A charming, philosophical fairy tale. (ES) Rated: PG
The Tuxedo -- Jackie Chan's newest is a film that should have been made with another actor. Not because he's bad in it, but it's about a guy with no fighting skills. The problem is that Chan can fight, and nothing here is believable. (ES) Rated PG-13
White Oleander -- The enormously popular Oprah book makes its transition to the big screen with Alison Lohman starring as Astrid, a troubled 14-year-old whose mother, Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer), has been sentenced to life in prison for poisoning her ex-boyfriend. As Astrid moves from foster home to foster home, she discovers that her mother still keeps a frightening degree of control over her. Rated: PG-13
& 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.