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About Schmidt -- Jack Nicholson delivers a different-than-usual tour-de-force in this seriocomic road movie about a just-retired and just-widowed fellow who tries to make his aloof daughter see that she's marrying the wrong guy -- and getting the wrong in-laws to boot. (ES) Rated: R





Agent Cody Banks -- This MAD magazine-style take on the spy genre is intermittently goofball funny; the gags are sweetly earnest even when they're a little off the mark. Frankie Muniz and Hilary Duff are charming as the teen spies; the writers include the duo who brought us Problem Child and Ed Wood. (RP) Rated: PG





Bringing Down the House -- This all starts out looking like a formulaic comedy about a square white guy (Steve Martin) and a hip black gal (Queen Latifah). But don't be fooled -- this film soon becomes a fresh and funny story that relies just as much on the background characters as on the two leads to get the laughs across. He's a divorced tax lawyer who's lonely, she's an ex-con who fakes her way into his life to get some lawyerly help. Both are terrific, as are pal Eugene Levy (at his leering best), and possible client Joan Plowright, who's unexpectedly hilarious. A wild and crazy movie with some real heart. (ES) Rated PG-13





Chicago -- Torn stockings and heavily mascaraed eyes abound in this tale of two music-hall vixens (Catherine Zeta-Jones and Ren & eacute;e Zellweger) vying for public attention in the Windy City. Richard Gere shows that he can sing (and tap dance) as the lawyer out to make a buck defending them from murder charges. Otherwise, it's pretty much two-dimensional characters, awkward editing and some decent, if dated, music. But you should still see it on the big screen for the grand cinematography and stylish set design, which are "razzle-dazzling." (Marty Demarest) Rated: PG-13





Coral Reef Adventure -- Think of it as a way to explore all 1,300 miles of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, but without the danger of those pesky shark attacks. Greg MacGillivray, who also brought us The Living Sea and Dolphins, now brings Coral Reef Adventure to the IMAX screen. With a strong conservation message throughout, viewers get the sense of swimming along with some of the world's top self-described "fish nerds" as they navigate trenches and skirt the coral reefs of Fiji, Tahiti and Rangiroa (in French Polynesia) in search of new species. Not rated





Cradle 2 the Grave -- Bearing no small resemblance to the 2000 martial arts thriller Romeo Must Die, Cradle 2 the Grave has the same stars (Jet Li and rapper DMX) and the same director (Andrzek Bartkowiak). But it's not a sequel so much as a companion effort, complete with gang leaders, kidnappers, black diamonds, risky jewel heists and Taiwanese government agents. Rated: R





Daredevil -- Marvel and Fox are positioning Daredevil as a dark, second-level comics hero, hoping to evade comparisons to Spider-Man. It's like flipping through three or four issues of a comic you don't truly love but kind of enjoy. Ben Affleck acts mostly with his teeth; Jennifer Garner is a superb action heroine who ought to walk out of this movie and into her own; and Colin Farrell is the loosest of loose cannons as Daredevil's arch-nemesis Bullseye. (RP) Rated: PG-13





Gods and Generals -- Nearly four hours long, this sanitized Civil War drama feels like a mini-series transported to the big screen. Factual details abound, but in terms of moviemaking, the film fails. The men are cardboard figures, and the women, while given decent amounts of screen time, have even thinner roles. Even casting good actors like Robert Duvall and Stephen Lang doesn't help. (Marty Demarest) Rated: PG-13





The Hours -- The supposedly unfilmable novel by Michael Cunningham becomes a mesmerizing, almost intoxicating movie that tells the stories of one real and two fictional women -- Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman), Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) and Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) -- and how they're tied together over the decades by Woolf's book Mrs. Dalloway. (ES) Rated PG-13





How to Lose a Guy... -- Golden-haired twinklers Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey square off in supposed urban-sophisticate high-concept Cosmo magazine-style romantic comedy about the rules of dating and the unpredictability of love. (RP) Rated: PG-13





The Hunted -- Tommy Lee Jones plays Lt. Bonham, an instructor in the art of deep-woods guerilla warfare. Benicio Del Toro plays the soldier he's trained a little too well. When Del Toro goes loco, hunters end up muerto and suddenly the forests of Oregon aren't quite as safe as they used to be. Rated: R





Jungle Book 2 -- Mowgli (Haley Joel Osment) is bored in his new village -- in spite of every bare necessity being taken care of, including a cute girlfriend, Shanti. He ventures off to see how the jungle is doing without him, and finds that the villainous Shere Khan has been eagerly awaiting his return. Rated: G





The Life Of David Gale -- The title has an authentic ring, but this is a fictional tale of philosophy professor David Gale (Kevin Spacey), a man staunchly against the death penalty who suddenly finds himself arrested, accused of murder and sitting on death row. Spacey nails the part, as does Laura Linney, as his co-crusader.(ES) Rated R





The Lion King -- The ultra-smash Disney hit from 1994 now gets the IMAX treatment, making it bigger, but not necessarily better. The lion cub Simba witnesses the terrifying death of his father, then is convinced by an evil uncle to run away from home without taking the throne that's rightfully his. (ES) Rated G





Old School -- A genuinely funny and sometimes sweet gross-out comedy, Old School is the unlikely tale of three overgrown juveniles who establish a frat house in order to make it with coeds. (RP) Rated: R





The Pianist -- Adrien Brody gets his juiciest role to date as the real-life Wladyslaw Szpilman, the Polish concert pianist whose life was shattered, along with the rest of the Jewish population, during the Nazi invasion of his country. But he survived -- by cunning and dumb luck -- although his ordeal reduced him to a starving, wide-eyed animal. Roman Polanski's direction is sure and steady. (ES) Rated R





The Quiet American -- The Graham Greene novel, first filmed in 1958, gets upgraded in every way in this version with Brendan Fraser and Michael Caine. Set in early '50s Vietnam, while France was still involved and America wasn't, it's the story is of a jaded journalist (Caine) and an ambitious American aid worker (Fraser) and the woman they both want. An excellent, riveting film. (ES) Rated: R





Rabbit Proof Fence -- A magnificently made, moving story of a trio of Aboriginal girls who escape a government camp in 1930s Australia. Everything clicks, from director Philip Noyce's pacing, to Chris Doyle's blue-and-brown palette of light, to Peter Gabriel's score. (RP) Rated: PG-13





Shanghai Knights -- One of the odder movie-buddy pairings returns in this sequel to Shanghai Noon, with Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson again finding themselves together -- this time in jolly old 19th-century England, where Chan's Chon is searching for the killer of his father. The inventive slapstick fight scenes are almost nonstop. (ES) Rated: PG-13





Talk to Her -- In this tear-stained male weepie about the love of women, Pedro Almod & oacute;var retains his irreverence while burnishing his knack for baroque d & eacute;cor and plot turns. Almod & oacute;var, who was just nominated for a best directing Academy Award for this film, says the movie is partly about silence and about how it partakes of "the eloquence of the body." The plot is filled with parallels, surprises and eccentric but assured turns. Almod & oacute;var always delivers a strange and beautiful treasure. (RP) Rated: R Playing at the Met Cinema on Saturday, Mar. 22





Tears of the Sun -- Antoine Fuqua's first picture since the Oscar-winning Training Day melds archetypal action filmmaking to social conscience, with stirring results. Tears of the Sun tells the story of a reserved Navy Seal (Bruce Willis) whose unit is dispatched to Nigeria to "extract" a volunteer nurse (Monica Bellucci) who is married to an American. She doesn't want to leave her patients, and complications lead to a trek through the jungle toward the Cameroon border by Willis' squad and the hardiest of Bellucci's charges. Even if the movie relies on archetype, it asks a plain, timeless and utterly topical question: How can you turn your eye from senseless slaughter? Rated: R (RP)





The Two Towers -- This magnificent sequel to last year's magnificent original welcomes back most of the same characters (including a new, improved Gandalf), and features many new ones, with the CGI creation of the hideous and chilling Gollum standing out. This one is darker and more violent than the first. (ES) Rated PG-13





Willard -- The original movie about the young man who could control rats was unique, but a little slow. This one, with Crispin Glover taking over the Bruce Davison role, goes the over-the-top route. It's a darkly funny study of what loneliness, an overbearing parent and a really nasty boss can do to someone who has a lot of little friends with a lot of sharp teeth. It's a fun and only slightly grisly romp. (ES) Rated PG-13





& lt;i & Capsule reviews are written by Ed Symkus (ES) and Ray Pride (RP), unless otherwise noted. & lt;/i &





Follow these links for movie times and tickets at & lt;a href= "http://www.movietickets.com/house_detail.asp?exid=amc & amp;house_id=6584 & amp;.submit=Search " target= "_blank " & & lt;font size= "2 " & AMC & lt;/font & & lt;/a & & r & and & lt;a href= "http://www.regalcinemas.com/cgi-bin/theatre_search/getResults.cgi?zip=99202 & amp;submit=Search%21 " target= "_blank " & & lt;font size= "2 " & Regal & lt;/font & & lt;/a & & r & .





Publication date: 03/20/03

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