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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





The Boogeyman -- Guess who's coming out of the closet? We don't know his name, but all the little kids like to sing "When you see him count to five, hope that you will stay alive." Barry Watson plays a troubled young man who returns to his childhood home to confront his demons -- both real and imagined. 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





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" as they navigate trenches and skirt coral reefs in search of new species. Not rated





Fat Albert -- Bill Cosby, who created and did all the voices in the beloved 1970s animated TV series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, is largely responsible for Hollywood's latest assault on our beloved childhood memories. Here the big guy and his goofy friends literally step out of the animated past and into the live action present. This time, Albert raps. 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





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





Hotel Rwanda -- This scrappy, powerful and shocking film, recounting the horrific civil unrest in Rwanda a decade ago, has echoes of current events (in Sudan) that cannot be ignored. Don Cheadle, as the real life hotelier (Paul Rusesabagina) who saved literally thousands, carries the film on his slim shoulders with ease and turns in the finest performance of his career. (Marc Savlov) 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. (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.





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





The Living Sea -- With perfectly modulated vowels, Meryl Streep reminds us that "we live because the ocean lives." Damn straight, sister. Still, IMAX spends less time on the necessity of preserving food chains and more time just following the pretty li'l fishies through the aquamarine depths. As far as that goes, however, the filmmakers offer unparalleled views of tropical undersea footage. It's mostly eye candy, but the part about the big traveling packs of jellyfish is pretty cool. (Sheri Boggs) Not Rated.





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 Maggie 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. 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. (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





Rushmore -- Wes Anderson hits an exquisite note with this darkly romantic, vengefully funny fable about a precocious prep school student, Max (Jason Schwartzman), who falls for first-grade teacher Miss Cross (Olivia Williams) while befriending millionaire alum Herman Blume (Bill Murray). Using the swinging velvet curtains of a school play as his motif, Anderson's story is even further elevated by beautifully nuanced performances by every member of the cast. And as always, Anderson's dialogue is dead on. Showing at midnight at the Garland on Friday and Saturday night. (Sheri Boggs) Rated: R





Saw -- Recommended, but only with the strenuous caveat that Saw, even as a coming attractions trailer, may be one of the most disturbing movies I've ever seen. Put up against Se7en, its inventive mind warps go up to about sixteen-point-seven. (RP) Rated: R





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 -- his plan for undersea domination is diabolica-licious. Rated: PG (Ted S. McGregor, Jr.)





The Wedding Date -- Kat (Debra Messing) is a girl in trouble, and we don't mean in the diapers-and-surprise way. Nope, these days trouble means a younger sister's wedding where your ex is a groomsman. Kat does what any sensible woman in such a predicament would do -- she dips into her 401K in order to hire the best damn male escort in all of Manhattan. If this sounds a lot like My Best Friend's Wedding, it's probably because Dermot Mulroney is in it. Rated: PG-13





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





Publication date: 2/10/04

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