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by Inlander Staff


A Lot Like Love -- On the whole it's a bit too precious, and there are characters that just aren't needed (wasn't a deaf, signing brother in Four Weddings and a Funeral enough?), but both Amanda Peet and Ashton Kutcher give winning performances in a story of an on-again off-again boy-girl relationship that stays at the friend level for seven years. They take turns being happy and unhappy, with and without each other, and are just terribly cute together. With the exception of some "drama" near they end, movies don't get much breezier. (ES) Rated PG-13





The Amityville Horror -- In the latest Amityville Horror, you get to see it all. Where chairs rocked and doors slammed unprovoked in the 1979 version, this Amityville reveals all -- blood, guts, bullets, axes, drowning, murder, possession, bugs, creepy kids, ghosts and more evil than a packed clown car. While the story is mostly the same as the original, the scenes that were terrifying in the '79 version hardly cause a blink in this one. These are modern scares -- the kind you forget about within a few minutes of the end credits. (Leah Sottile) Rated: R





The Aviator -- Scorsese, DiCaprio, Hughes -- as in Howard -- are director, star and subject of this splendid look at three busy decades in the life of the industrialist, filmmaker and airplane nut. The script gives plenty of leeway for DiCaprio to show his acting chops. (ES) Rated PG-13





Beauty Shop -- Queen Latifah and her sassy crew aren't beyond working a few hair-related and/or interpersonal miracles in this Barber Shop spinoff. The Queen reprises her role as the sassy, booty-proud Gina, who opens her own salon as an "in yo face, sucka" to ex-boss Jorge (Kevin Bacon, looking like the love child of Kurt Cobain and David Spade). Rated: PG-13





Because of Winn-Dixie -- There's a formula at work in this lonely-girl-and-her-dog movie, and it's sho'nuff gonna lead to a reconciliation. Winn-Dixie is predictable and sentimental, underscoring its themes at every juncture. But that doesn't completely invalidate the value of Wayne Wang's movie, which brings back the likes of Eva Marie Saint and Cicely Tyson while emphasizing themes of healing, community and hope. (Michael Bowen) Rated: PG





C.H.U.D. 2 -- 1989's C.H.U.D. 2 (as if the first one wasn't enough), features a gaggle of dumb teens (what would horror movies be without them?) and the "cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers" promised in the title. It all has to do with military experiments gone horrible wrong. Or something. Far more comedic (unintentionally) than horrific. But you probably guessed that already. (Mike Corrigan) Rated: R. Showing at Center Stage at Midnight on Saturday night.





Constantine -- Keanu Reeves tries to break out of the Matrix mold with mixed results: He's as wooden as ever, but he gets to toss off some great gallows-inflected one-liners. To solve a mystery in the purgatory of L.A., he has to go to Hell for answers. With shades of Wings of Desire and even Chinatown, Reeves' demon-battling is better than Van Helsing but not as good as Hellboy. Rated R (Cole Smithey)





Dear Frankie -- A supremely understated Emily Mortimer (Notting Hill) plays a single mother whose young, deaf son Frankie (Jake McElhone) believes his dad is a crewman on a cargo ship sailing around the world. Lizzie ghostwrites letters from Frankie's ideal father until the ship that he evidently sails on docks in Glasgow harbor. Although the story is objectively fraught with sentimental pitfalls, Dear Frankie is a sophisticated movie (by first time director Shona Auerbach) that carefully exposes the universal onion layers of familial bond without ever leaving fingerprints on the layers. (Cole Smithey) Rated: PG-13





Edward Scissorhands -- It only takes a glimpse of the trailer for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to remind us why the combination of Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and Danny Elfman is so sublime. As a preamble to the July release of that film, why not return to Burton's 1990 suburban Gothic, Edward Scissorhands? Depp plays an unfinished invention -- mostly boy except for his fierce set of razor-sharp digits. Young Edward is discovered by a kindly Avon lady (Dianne Wiest), who brings him home, where he promptly falls in love with her daughter (Winona Ryder) while exciting the curiosity (and ire) of the locals (including a weirdly beefy Anthony Michael Hall). (Sheri Boggs) Rated: PG-13. Showing at the Garland at Midnight on Friday and Saturday nights.





Guess Who -- Big Bernie Mac is the future father-in-law, Ashton Kutcher is the future son-in-law who find many ways to butt heads in this racially charged, yet fresh updating of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. (ES) Rated PG-13





Hitch -- Breezy romantic comedy gets a big boost here with Will Smith as the title character, a "date coach" for unsure men, and Kevin James as one of those men, who is shooting for the sky with a beautiful heiress (Amber Valletta). But the coach isn't having much luck with the ladies either. (ES) Rated PG-13





The Interpreter -- Nicole Kidman is a UN interpreter who overhears a plot to assassinate a bad guy African leader. Sean Penn is the FBI agent who checks her out, isn't sure if she's telling the truth and eventually must protect her. The biggest problems with the film are that it's dragged out to near-boredom territory, and there seems to be some sort of emotional wall between the two lead actors that neither one can climb over. (ES) Rated PG-13





King's Ransom -- Malcolm King (Anthony Anderson) is large and in charge and ain't no one else can work a pink necktie the way he can. He's also a big pimpin' millionaire with a big problem -- his wife wants to cash in on a major divorce settlement. Rather than pay up, King tries to stage his own kidnapping. Rated: PG-13





Kung Fu Hustle -- Hong Kong writer-director-actor Stephen Chow delivers in all three areas in this deliriously ridiculous, action-filled nod to martial arts films, Sergio Leone and Looney Tunes. A small town is visited by the Axe Gang, who don't realize the town is home to some retired good guy warriors. Big battles ensue, as does the emergence of a wannabe bad guy (Chow). There's plenty of slapstick and visual effects, some terrific fights and some unexpected sweetness. (ES) Rated R





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. Unrated





Millions -- Cardboard tunnels and dens -- cobbled together early in the film with packing tape and moving boxes -- are every bit as magical as Danny (28 Days Later) Boyle's haloed saints in this sweetly sophisticated tale of luck and loss. A duffel bag full of money falls from the sky, and two young brothers (Alexander Nathan Etel, Lewis Owen McGibbon) try to decide what to do with it. In addition to their vastly different plans for the money, there's the added pressure of needing to spend it in less than a week before the UK officially moves to the Euro. Only two things mar this film - conspicuous product placement and a bloated final 15 minutes. Aside from that, Millions is one of the most intelligent family films to come along in years. (Sheri Boggs) Rated: PG





Miss Congeniality 2 -- Miss Congeniality 2 does the same exact thing as its predecessor: It transforms Gracie (Sandra Bullock) into a lip-gloss-wearing swan, has her parade through the movie doing sketch comedy in Prada. This tired sequel tries hard to be a chick flick about girl power, but fails miserably. (Cara Gardner) Rated: PG-13





Mystery of the Nile -- The cinematography is gorgeous, but this isn't one of IMAX's best efforts. Pasquale Scaturro and Gordon Brown are to be commended for successfully completing a previously impossible feat -- running the entire Nile River -- but the whole thing starts to feel like an episode of Survivor. Still, it's pretty to watch and carries a few IMAX moments. Not Rated





The Pacifier -- Vin Diesel plays a Navy SEAL who fails to protect a scientist and now must take care of the scientist's five kids. Watch him change diapers, trip over toys in the driveway, rebuff sullen teens and commandeer the Romanian nanny (Carol Kane)! It's James Bond meets Cheaper by the Dozen! Rated: PG





Robots -- The makers of Ice Age return with a computer-animated fable about a na & iuml;ve young robot heading for the big city to make it as an inventor, but clashing with a money-hungry industrialist. The story is clich & eacute;-ridden, the sound is headache-inducing and the script desperately wants to be hip. (ES) Rated PG





Sahara -- If the filmmakers were hoping to instill in their audience the same sensations -- blurred vision, deadening thirst and above all, fear of never escaping -- that one might experience while trapped in the desert, they've succeeded. Based on the novel by Clive Cussler, Sahara's incoherent plot includes treasure hunters, sexy doctors, West African despots, plague, quasi-European bad guys and exploding vehicles. (SB) Rated: PG-13





Sin City -- The coolest movie of the year is also the most violent. There's also loads of action, a stunning look, and a perfect adaptation of Frank Miller's twisted graphic novel into an insane film. There are three intertwining stories about the denizens of the title locale, with Bruce Willis as a retiring cop, Benicio Del Toro and Clive Owen as bitter, dangerous enemies, and a whole gaggle of tough hookers. (ES) Rated R





The Upside of Anger -- The Upside of Anger is a gratifyingly bittersweet and bracingly dark comedy-drama. It's a stellar showcase for Joan Allen, the fierce, funny, shamelessly transfixing center of this haphazardly constructed yet rich drama of abandonment, denial, bargaining and acceptance. Kevin Costner is goofy/great as her drunk/buzzed neighbor; the sexy, crackling slow burn of their courtship is marvelous fun. (RP) Rated: R





Publication date: 04/28/04

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