by Inlander Staff & r & Charlie and the Chocolate Factory -- Tim Burton's take on the Roald Dahl story, first filmed in 1971, is a little more whimsical and has less of an edge than that film. But the Burton-style story of the poor boy who wins a trip to the mysterious chocolate factory with four horrid kids is so much more imaginative, and brilliantly designed. Johnny Depp is quirky and troubled as Wonka. (ES) Rated: PG
Duece Bigalow: European Gigolo -- Rob Schneider is back in this sequel as the Deuce, your average Everyman who, incredibly, has a way with the ladies. In this installment, Deuce wants to be the best he-ho he can be, so he travels to Europe to perfect his skills. And it's pretty much the same ol' same ol' from there. Rated R (LS)
The Dukes of Hazard -- Luke and Bo (Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott), TV's good ol' boys of the early 1980s, make a fine transition to the screen in this ridiculously plotted, action-packed and often hilarious tale of mayhem in current-day backwoods Georgia. The two leads are terrific, as is Burt Reynolds, in delicious overacting mode as dastardly Boss Hogg. Lots of fun, with a handful or two of raunchy overtones. But Jessica Simpson, flashing her smile and other attributes, should stick to singing. Oh, wait, she's a lousy singer, too. (ES) Rated PG-13
Fantastic Four -- This latest transfer from comic book to film misfires at every step on every level. The plot: Four people have their molecules rearranged after a cosmic storm hits them in outer space, and they come back able to stretch or catch on fire or turn invisible or be ugly. Comic history is rewritten by also placing Victor von Doom onboard. But it's shoddy filmmaking, with hokey effects, a villain more angry than villainous, and actors standing around waiting to deliver their lines. (ES) Rated PG-13
Fighter Pilot -- As we follow Capt. John Stratton, an F-15 Eagle pilot, battling 125 pilots from six nations in the world's largest air war games, the realization settles in that Fighter Pilot works neither as you-are-there documentary, Air Force recruiting film or Top Gun razzle-dazzle. (Michael Bowen) Not Rated.
Four Brothers -- John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood, 2 Fast 2 Furious) directs this action/drama about four brothers looking to avenge their mother's death. Stars none other than the ever-dapper Andre 3000 of Outkast. Rated R (MC)
Grand Canyon -- Seen by more than 220 million people and a designated "first stop" at the Grand Canyon Visitor's Center, Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets is an IMAX classic. Segments include a wild whitewater rafting trip, a flight over -- and into -- the canyon's crimson and yellow striated depths and a closer look at Lake Powell. Not Rated.
The Great Raid -- For a film that starts with so much emotion and ends with so much action, there sure isn't much going on in the middle. A group of Army Rangers is sent to rescue more than 500 Americans from a Japanese POW camp in the waning days of World War II. But they all move and talk in something akin to slow motion, and the only mildly interesting side plots -- stolen medical supplies, forbidden love -- feel tacked-on and phony. That's not good when this is supposed to be a true story. (ES) Rated R
The Island -- The Island is about explosions, not cloning. It's about car chases, sight gags and one perfunctory sex scene. It's about clever product placement and forcing millions of people to watch hundreds of trailers. It's about making lots of money. (LB) Rated: PG-13
Madagascar -- Through odd circumstances, four pampered animal pals at the Central Park Zoo (voices of Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith) end up on the title island, with no food, no caretakers and no idea what to do. (ES) Rated PG
March of the Penguins -- The emperor penguin's glossy plumage and gently curving beak takes on a regal aspect in Luc Jacquet's lovingly and painstakingly directed documentary. In fact, the penguins become heroes of an epic character: brave, if not fearless, and stalwart fools for love. A film as absorbing and incredible as any man-made phantasmagoria you'll find in the multiplex this summer, and it's all real. Rated G (MI)
Mr. & amp; Mrs. Smith -- Beyond its relentless gunfights and car chases, the only thing Mr. & amp; Mrs. Smith offers its audience is the attractive onscreen union of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The film toys with role reversals and marital therapy, but falls flat. (Cole Smithey) Rated: PG-13
Murderball -- A topic that could have been easily overwhelmed with schmaltz gets riveting treatment here. Murderball is a documentary about quadriplegics who play gritty, full-contact rugby Mad Max-style in customized wheelchairs -- overcoming unimaginable physical and mental obstacles to compete in the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece. At the Met, through Aug. 26. Rated R (MC)
Must Love Dogs -- Despite a winning performance by John Cusack and an OK one by Diane Lane, this film is too much of a rehash of other romantic comedies. There are some original scenes, but there are just as many that feel tired. And if you don't know how this one is going to end by the 10-minute mark, you haven't seen enough Meg Ryan films. (ES) 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 Skeleton Key -- Kate Hudson (mercifully) leaves the romantic comedies behind for a while as she takes up hospice work with an aging couple (John Hurt and Gena Rowlands) inside their creepy bayou mansion. Voodoo, old school scares and Peter Sarsgaard (Shattered Glass) round out this supernatural thriller penned by The Ring's Ehren Kruger. Rated PG-13 (SB)
Sky High -- Will Stronghold is a powerless kid with superhero parents (Captain Stronghold and Jetstream), attending a school for kids with extraordinary superpowers. So how's he to manage the embarrassment of being a mere sidekick while negotiating all the problems normal kids go through (girls, parents, peer pressure)? Will he find his superpowers? Does anyone really care? Rated PG
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith -- George Lucas hits his stride with the final chapter. He neatly ties the six films together, ending it on the planet Tatooine, where Episode IV begins. This thing opens with 20 relentless minutes, presents a superb performance by Ian McDiarmid as Chancellor Palpatine, and, for you lightsaber fans, offers multiple thrilling battles. (ES) Rated PG-13
Stealth -- Jessica Biel is still a looker, but in Stealth she gets serious. Real serious. She's tough, playing a Navy pilot alongside Jamie Foxx and Josh Lucas. They're a team, and when their commander announces the arrival of computer-driven planes, they're all ... not for it. Let's just say El Chief-o should have listened to the three kids. That little humdinger of a plane up and disobeys orders, and next thing you know, there's a national security threat issued. Not good. Rated PG-13
Trainspotting -- Adapted from a book by Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting is an alternately hilarious, appalling and inspiring film (famously starring a young Ewan McGregor) that follows the exploits of a group of young heroin addicts in Edinburgh. Told in first person from the perspective of McGregor's character, the film is unflinching in how it deals with drug addiction -- it neither glamorizes nor condemns the lifestyle. A brutal but totally absorbing film experience. Midnight Friday and Saturday at the Garland (MC) Rated R
War of the Worlds -- Steven Spielberg's dream project works on every level but one of the most important ones: the ending. But uncalled-for sappiness aside, this is a terrific film, with gigantic visual effects sitting comfortably next to a character study of a man (Tom Cruise) who, while trying to figure out how to survive an attack by creatures who are bent on destroying mankind, also must become the father he never was. Wild, believable visuals, a New York nod to 9/11, and solid acting from Cruise. Not to be missed. (ES) Rated PG-13
Wedding Crashers -- Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn make a very good comedy team. Wilson isn't so much an actor as a personality: He offers the same tousle-haired puppy-dog vulnerability in all his movies. In contrast, Vaughn (Dodgeball) is manic. They're guys who will live, hedonistically, forever. But just when you think that'll be this movie's chief attraction, it turns out to be a charming romantic comedy. (MB) Rated R
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.