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by Inlander Staff


Alone in the Dark


Getting over that a place is actually called "Shadow Island" is just one of the many suspensions of disbelief you might need in order to enjoy this thriller. Christian Slater plays an X-Files-ish detective who goes to the aforementioned island to try to solve a friend's mysterious death. Once there, he meets a former flame (Tara Reid). Rated: R





Are We There Yet?


With one of the most hackneyed expressions in children-based comedies, Are We There Yet? fulfills every low expectation that its urban target audience will bring to the cinema. Nick (Ice Cube) plays a 35-year-old case of arrested development who makes the mistake of playing foot servant to Suzanne (Nia Long), a divorcee with two hateful children. Rated: PG





Assault on Precinct 13


The tension is high, as is body count in this remake of the 1976 thriller, starring Ethan Hawke as a troubled cop and Laurence Fishburne as a troubling criminal. Along with a ragtag group of cops and criminals, they must defend a police station against some very nasty, well-armed men. (ES) 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





Coach Carter


Based on the real-life coach who made in headlines in 1999 for benching his entire undefeated basketball team, Coach Carter uses Samuel L. Jackson and some Pulp Fiction-worthy speechifyin' to drive home the importance of school. Rated: PG-13





Elektra


If you didn't happen to see Daredevil, don't worry. Even though Garner's character (comely ninja assassin Elektra Natchios) was introduced there, you really don't need much more background than that. Raised from the dead by the mysterious Order of the Hand, Elektra is sent out on various exotic killing assignments. Rated: PG-13





Finding Neverland


A dramatic, yet kind of whimsical look at how J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) was inspired to write the play Peter Pan -- by meeting a widow (Kate Winslet) with four young boys who definitely could use a father figure. (ES) Rated PG





Forces of Nature


Kevin Bacon is your host on this jaunt into the path of tornadoes, volcanoes and quakes. The National Geographic/IMAX filmmakers are hot on the pursuit of tornadoes from Texas to North Dakota. Not Rated.





Hide and Seek


Widower Robert DeNiro gets a little concerned when his daughter (Dakota Fanning) starts talking about an invisible friend. Is it a little girl's way of dealing with the death of her mother, or could it be that the invisible friend is something far more sinister? Rated: R





House of Flying Daggers


The heights of romantic ecstasy on display in House of Flying Daggers feel like a miraculous leap of faith. People die for love, kill for love and vow eternal fidelity. Few filmmakers deal with matters of honor writ so histrionically large, or with visuals this intense. (Felicia Feaster) Rated: PG-13





In Good Company


Generation clash is right up front in this tale of corporate downsizing, resulting in a veteran magazine adman (Dennis Quaid) getting a new eager-beaver boss (Topher Grace) who is half his age, and knows not even half of what's necessary for the job. (ES) Rated PG-13





Island of the Sharks


If it's gory and/or violent food-chain action you're after, Island of the Sharks won't disappoint. In addition to all the hungry sharks patrolling the waters, you'll also see marlins decimate entire schools of fish as well as meet the mantis shrimp and its sickle claw of sudden, skewering death. Not Rated.





Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events


At once bleak, sinister, comic and, above all, weirdly beautiful, imaginary author Lemony Snicket's tale of three resourceful orphans pitted against their evil distant relative, Count Olaf, resonates with real peril. Not for younger kids. (Sheri Boggs) Rated: PG





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





Meet the Fockers


In Meet the Parents, Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) asks, "What sort of people name their son Gay M. Focker?" In this sequel, he finds out. In fact, the kind of people are Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand, and the Byrnes are off to meet the Fockers before their daughter marries Gay forever. Rated: PG-13





Million Dollar Baby


Clint Eastwood plays the crusty old boxing trainer, Hilary Swank is his enthusiastic young charge and Morgan Freeman is the wise observer. Swank's spunky, trashy Maggie signs up at an old-fashioned gym and must convince Eastwood's Frankie to become her teacher. She's really good, with great desire to match her moves. Eastwood's film traces her comet-like rise. (ES) Rated PG-13





National Treasure


An absurdly plotted story has a third-generation treasure hunter (Nicolas Cage) believing that he's finally closing in on some long-lost glittery spoils from thousands of years past. (ES) Rated PG





Ocean's Twelve


George Clooney, Brad Pitt and all the rest are back in a rousing follow-up to Ocean's Eleven that turns out to be a much looser romp. Told in convincing manner that they must return the $160 million they stole the first time around, they head for Europe and some bigger jobs. It's one of those rarities: a sequel better than the original. (ES) Rated PG-13





The Phantom Of The Opera


The Andrew Lloyd Webber sensation gets a rousing cinematic treatment. It's hard to figure which will be more popular -- the usually bombastic, sometimes tender score, or the story of the masked man (Gerard Butler) who mentors, then falls for, the chorus girl (Emmy Rossum). Spectacular, lavish, well sung and more than a little campy. (ES) Rated PG-13





The Polar Express


The popular Chris Van Allsburg book gets the Robert Zemeckis treatment and a dazzling animated style that makes it look like a living Van Allsburg drawing. Tom Hanks voices the conductor and four other parts, including the boy. Charming, wistful, with a nice dose of adventure. (ES) Rated G





Racing Stripes


Every animal of the Kentucky farm can talk, including a visiting pelican named Goose, and they're all smarter than the people around them. But the plot of this live-action film hinges on a young zebra (voice of Frankie Muniz) who thinks he's a racehorse, and, of course, ends up in a major race. (ES) Rated PG





Ray


Jamie Foxx delivers a rich performance as musical legend Ray Charles. As one would expect, the music is great and the cast is exceptional. But in the end, this is Foxx's film. Far from an impersonation, his performance is a respectful and accurate tribute to the man, suffused with passion, love, and pain. (Chuck Koplinski) Rated: PG-13





The Royal Tenenbaums


Director Wes Anderson lives up to the reputation he achieved with Rushmore in this look at a whole family of outsiders trying to cope with one another. Gene Hackman is the father who fakes illness in order to get back with his wife and adult kids, after having been tossed out 22 years earlier. It's very funny and quite sad, about broken-down people put in quirky comic situations. And the music, as always in an Anderson film, is terrific. (ES) RATED: R (midnight Friday and Saturday at the Garland)





Sideways


Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) are two pals who go on a West Coast wine-tasting tour, just before Jack is to get married and Miles is to find out if his novel is being published. They both meet women on the road (Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh), and the film jumps back and forth between vibrant comedy and emotional distress. (ES) Rated R





The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie


The first 20 minutes of this movie are hilarious, but then it drags badly. SpongeBob and Patrick go on a spiritual journey to prove they are men -- and to keep Bikini Bottom provisioned with crabby patties. They're as funny as ever, but this is really Plankton's movie -- he's the Yosemite Sam of the modern cartoon era, and his plan for undersea domination is diabolica-licious. Rated: PG (Ted S. McGregor, Jr.)





White Noise


The spirits who communicated through hissing TV screens in Poltergeist were a lot more convincing. Then again, nothing is even of slight interest in this boring ghost movie. Michael Keaton plays the bereaved husband of a woman who now supposedly talks to him via videotapes. (ES) Rated PG-13





The Work and the Glory


In the early 1800s, the Steed family moves to still-wild upstate New York to make a new life for themselves. Once there, they find themselves embroiled in religious controversy while the two Steed brothers vie for the attentions of a wealthy merchant's daughter. Rated: PG n





Publication date: 2/03/04

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