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*** American Splendor -- The real world of ordinary life as seen through the eyes of a cranky Cleveland file clerk who adores jazz and distrusts the modern world. A daring, generous, multi-layered portrait of the comic-book artist Harvey Pekar and his mind, deftly shifting between reenactments with gifted actors like Paul Giamatti (as Pekar), Hope Davis as his wife Joyce Brabner, and James Urbaniak as a sly R. Crumb. Remarkable stuff. (RP)





American Wedding -- In the third and final (what? No more band camp?) installment, Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) need to get married. Fast. And not for the usual reason so much as the fact that Jim's granny is sick and she's eager to see him happily married. The guys reunite for both the wedding and one final night of boozy debauchery. Rated: R





*** Cabin Fever -- A spirited, low-budget horror film. It's a "young people in a remote cabin" kind of thing, and there's something very wrong with the water: Drink it and you're kaput. (ES) Rated R





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. With a strong conservation message throughout, viewers get the sense of swimming along with some of the world's top self-described "fish nerds" in search of new species. Not rated





** Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star -- This comedy about a once-big child star (David Spade) who's now floundering as an adult has a great beginning and a top-notch ending (during the credits). (ES) Rated PG-13





**** Finding Nemo -- The Disney folks once again team up with the geniuses at Pixar for a funny, sad, frightening, wondrous animated story of Marlin, a single father clown fish trying his best to raise his son Nemo (it's a Disney film, so of course Mom was killed). But Nemo is caught in a collector's net and ends up in an aquarium, with dad and a ditzy blue tang in pursuit. Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres provide terrific voices and back-and-forth banter. (ES) Rated G





*** Freaky Friday -- Fans of the original 1976 film (Jodie Foster, Barbara Harris) or the 1995 TV remake (Shelley Long, Gaby Hoffman) will be surprised at how fresh it still is this time around. Jamie Lee Curtis -- in one of her best roles -- and Lindsay Lohan (The Parent Trap) are the bickering Mom and daughter who wake up to find they've switched bodies. So Mom has to go to school, and young Anna checks in at Mom's therapy practice. Funny situations, some slapstick and a message about parents and kids understanding each other. Sweet and a little wild. (ES) Rated PG





*** Hangman's Curse -- Seems something's amiss at Rogers High School -- yes, our Rogers High School -- and the cops can't figure it out. Who ya gonna call? Call the Veritas Team, stars of two novels by Kellogg, Idaho's Frank Peretti. The Veritas Team is a family affair, reminiscent of the Spy Kids series, with Mom (Mel Harris, thirtysomething) and Dad (David Keith, An Officer and a Gentleman) lurking around school. With no violence or swearing, Curse is designed to fill a niche among younger moviegoers for good, clean fun -- and it delivers, even if the too-sappy epilogue doesn't measure up to what's come before. Rated: PG-13 (Ted S. McGregor Jr.)





*** Lewis & amp; Clark -- The IMAX folks have packed a lot into this vivid account of the two adventurers' travels across the American wilderness. Narrator Jeff Bridges does pretty much all the speaking, while actors play out the scenes. And those scenes are played out in breathtakingly beautiful settings, spellbinding on the giant screen. (ES) Unrated





*** Made Up -- A middle-aged divorced former actress gets a makeover from her 18-year-old daughter, who is obsessed with appearances and secretly believes that her dad left because Mom "let herself go." Mom's starving artist sister films the process for her documentary class. When a new man pays attention, is it only the makeover he sees? And is it reality just because it's on film? Lynne Adams, Brooke Adams and Tony Shalhoub team up for this funny "mockumentary" on beauty, aging, and relationships. (Ann M. Colford) Not Rated





The Magdalene Sisters -- Reportedly based on a true story, The Magdalene Sisters recounts how, in 1964, four young women are sent to a nearby convent in order to "cleanse themselves of sin." Instead, they are forced to work seven days a week in the convent laundry, and suffer enormous emotional and physical cruelty at the hands of the nuns. Rated: R





**** Matchstick Men -- Great performances from Sam Rockwell and Nicolas Cage as a grifter and his veteran mentor partner. Rockwell's Frank is laid back and loose as a goose, while Cage's Roy suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and struggles with suddenly finding out that he has a 14-year-old daughter (Alison Lohman, terrific) who moves in and wants to join the operation. (ES) Rated PG-13





My Boss's Daughter -- Even though he's dating 40-something Demi Moore, Ashton Kucher is forced to play with kids his own age when he's on screen. Here, it's Tara Reid, who plays the titular role. Kucher plays a guy whose boss leaves town and asks him to house-sit. What his boss doesn't tell him is that house guest after house guest is gonna be stopping by, leaving him hardly a second alone with the girl of his dreams. Rated: PG-13





** Once Upon a Time in Mexico -- Directed by Robert Rodriguez. After two successful Spy Kids sequels, the grown-up Rodriguez remains a child at heart, indulging in all manner of explosions, blood spatters, cynical repartee and some old-fashioned R-rated trash talk. The blow-'em-ups get repetitive. With a game cast, including Antonio Banderas, Johnny Depp and a silent (if butt-kicking) Salma Hayek. (RP) Rated: R





*** Open Range -- Robert Duvall stars and Kevin Costner directs and costars in this old-fashioned, bare-bones Western about free-grazers (cattlemen) who stop by the wrong town looking for supplies. Bad men run the place, and don't want any freeloading free-grazers around. Tempers flare, things go wrong, a big gunfight looms (and my-oh-my, it's a dandy!), and romance could blossom when one cowboy locks eyes with doctor's assistant Annette Bening. (ES) Rated: R





The Order -- Why would somebody as hunky as Heath Ledger join the priesthood? We don't know. But we do know that in The Order, Heath plays a New York City priest who is called upon to help a beautiful detective (Shannyn Sossamon) solve the murder of a French ambassador. Rated: R





*** Pirates of the Caribbean -- Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush vie for the scenery-chewing award in this rousing, adventurous, comical and slightly scary tale of the ghostly ship, the Black Pearl, with its crew of very strange mates. Captain and pillaging crew are searching for a piece of gold that will lift a curse. Depp is the inept hero pirate, Orlando Bloom is the hero blacksmith, Rush is the villain, Keira Knightley is the sassy lass. (ES) Rated PG-13





*** Seabiscuit -- A horse is not a horse, of course, of course. Seabiscuit was a washed-up loser when he was discovered by trainer Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) in the mid-1930s. When "Team Seabiscuit" came together - Smith, owner Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges) and jockey Red Pollard (Tobey Maguire) -- a national folk hero came into being. Gary Ross's (Pleasantville) film looks at these characters, points out their many foibles, intertwines their lives and adds a grand dose of excitement. (ES) Rated: PG-13





**** Spellbound -- One of the most touching, heartfelt movies of the year -- more memorable than almost all Hollywood movies -- follows the trials and misspellings of several seventh graders on their road to the national Spelling Bee. It took the filmmakers several drafts to get here, but the little lives on screen are remarkable. Directed by Jeff Blitz. (RP) Rated G (Showing at the Met Cinema Sept. 19)





Spy Kids 3D: Game Over -- Everyone returns, including Floop (Alan Cumming) in a cameo, as one of the young agents (Carmen) gets caught in a virtual reality game, presided over by an evil Sylvester Stallone. Get out your 3-D glasses. Rated: PG





**** S.W.A.T. -- S.W.A.T. talks the talk, and S.W.A.T. walks the walk. What should have been a stultifying, unnecessary TV-show remake has wit and grace to spare -- if you're into the wit and grace of an intelligently crafted action picture, that is. Directed by Clark Johnson. (RP) Rated: PG-13





*** Terminator 3 -- The machines do indeed rise near the end of the second sequel to The Terminator. But unlike the attack of the clones near the end of you-know-what, this film works well, with plentiful supplies of action and entertainment. Big Arnold is back, again protecting John Connor (Nick Stahl), along with unwilling accomplice Kate Brewster (Claire Danes), this time from the new and improved killer cybernetic organism, the T-X (supermodel Kristanna Loken). An insane car chase is accompanied by deadly mayhem, visual gags, and lots of Arnold one-liners. (ES) Rated R





** Top Speed -- Plenty of dizzying excitement is in store in the new IMAX film that focuses on a trio of athletes and one car designer who want to go faster and faster, and then go even faster. The large-screen format is terrific when these folks are zipping along the track or riding through wide-open spaces. But the gist of the film -- why attaining top speed is so important to them -- is never adequately discussed. (ES) Unrated





Whale rider -- It's been getting rave reviews all over, and finally this winner of the audience award at this year's Sundance Festival is here. Pai (Keisha Castle Hughes) feels destined to become the next chief of her New Zealand tribe, in spite of the facts that she's only 11 and that her tribe follows the patriarchal old tradition of choosing only males as leaders. As a huge gathering of whales masses off the rocky coast of New Zealand, Pai's grandfather desperately searches for a suitable (and male) candidate for the chiefhood. Rated: PG-13








**** Don't Miss It *** Worth $8 ** Wait For The Video * Save Your Money








& 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.fandango.com/my_box_office.asp?remotefilter=REGL & amp;txtCityZip=99202 " target= "_blank " & & lt;font size= "2 " & Regal & lt;/font & & lt;/a & & r & .





Publication date: 09/18/03

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