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by Inlander Staff & r & American Zion--The stirring narrative of the faith that led a persecuted people to Missouri and beyond is one of the most poignant untold tales of American history. It is the account of a valiant struggle to exercise the rights promised by a fledgling nation. Or something. (LB) Rated PG-13





Batman Begins--Visionary director Christopher Nolan (Memento) instills a heightened reality to this telling of the Batman tale -- going back to the boyhood horrors that marred Bruce Wayne, taking in the young adult physical training that shaped him and extending his attempt to save Gotham City from villainous ruin. Christian Bale is perfect as Bruce Wayne/Batman, as are Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman as a good cop and Cillian Murphy as the demented Scarecrow. (ES) Rated PG-13





Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride--Stop-motion animation, smoother, better, more elegant than in Burton's great Henry Selick collaboration, The Nightmare Before Christmas. This time he works with Mike Johnson in a story of a skittish groom-to-be who accidentally marries a dead woman, while his bride-to-be wonders what's going on. It happens to be light, funny, dazzling, and a little scary, and terrifically acted by Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Emily Watson. Good emotional plot twists, witty Danny Elfman songs and an odd ending. A wonderfully odd film. (ES) Rated PG





Domino--An opening credit suggests this is "sort of" based on the real story of Domino Harvey, a rich kid turned model turned bounty hunter. This wild, violent and often funny film heads out on some off-the-wall tangents and an enjoyably absurd Las Vegas climax. Keira Knightley plays the lead role with abandon, and is both hot and tough. Great stuff from Mickey Rourke and newcomer Edgar Ramirez as her co-workers. Christopher Walken gets to be nutty. (ES) Rated R





Doom--The Rock looks surprisingly like the dude from the original Doom videogame (not so much like the guy in Doom III). That's kinda cool, if you played it when you were a kid. There seem to be quite a few first-person camera angles with weapons sticking out -- just like the game. So, for you fan boys, this might be a good way to spend a couple hours. If you're not, you know, playing the game already. Rated R





Dreamer: Inspired by A True Story--The title is too long and the film is too packed with cliches. Failed horse owner Kurt Russell acquires a badly injured filly and intends to nurse her back to health, coached along by his precocious daughter Dakota Fanning (who talks too fast and garbles her words). Well-intentioned and big-hearted, the film nevertheless has ridiculous plot switches -- the girl becomes majority owner of the horse -- and is utterly predictable every furlong of the way. (ES) Rated PG








Elizabeth Town--This rediscovering-yourself story is so chock-full of huge ideas and existential expounding, you almost don't realize that there's no plot, the characters are flat and that Orlando Bloom looked way better as an elf. (LB) Rated PG-13





Fighter Pilot--As we follow Capt. Jack 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 video nor Top Gun razzle-dazzle. (MB) Not Rated.





Flight Plan--Holy Crappola! Jodie Foster, who builds massive jet liners -- possibly by herself, in her spare time -- is on the first flight of her new plane when disaster strikes. Her daughter goes missing. Just one problem, though: no one on board ever saw her daughter -- like, even before she disappeared. So is Jodie crazy or is she so sane that she's blowing all of our minds? More importantly, how many crazy-or-sane plot contrivances can fit into a fall? So far it's like three. Rated PG 13





The Fog--What's scarier than the rain? The Fog. Selma Blair and the WB's Superman get stuck in the mist ... at night. What they don't realize is, something sinister from the past has rolled in along with the storm front. This is going to get PG-13 scary. Be on the lookout this winter for: The Sleet. Rated PG-13





The 40-Year-Old Virgin--Andy Stitzer is a virgin at 40. It's not as if he hasn't tried to get laid, but after a few dismal attempts when he was younger, it became the albatross around his neck. The longer he went without it, the harder it became to pursue it, until, he says, he just gave up. The question preceding this movie has been whether or not Steve Carell can carry his first leading role. Now it seems clear that he can. Rated R (JS)





The Greatest Game Ever Played--Yes, golf on film can be exciting. This Disney production tells the true story of Francis Ouimet, a caddie with dreams of becoming a golf pro, or at least of someday playing on the fancy private club course across from his home. For him to compete in the 1913 U.S. Open would be beyond a dream. Bill Paxton directs with pizzazz. (ES) Rated PG





A History of Violence--One of director David Cronenberg's best and most accessible films, this tells what happens when a laid-back small-town fellow (Viggo Mortensen) performs a brave deed and becomes an overnight hero, unfortunately attracting some negative out-of-town attention, and suddenly finding his family life crumbling under the pressure. (ES) Rated R





In Her Shoes--From the writer of Erin Brockovich and director Curtis Hanson (LA Confidential) comes a story about several generations of women rediscovering themselves and each other. Cameron Diaz is the pretty sister who tries to get Toni Collette's plain sister to put herself out there. Then something happens that forces Diaz to go live with her grandmother in a retirement home. The point is crying a lot and learning things about inner strength and beauty. Rated PG-13





Legend of Zorro--"People still need Zorro!" Columbia Pictures is trying so hard to believe that, they went so far as to write it into the movie itself. Not merely content to let him be Zorro the swashbuckler, Legend of Zorro offers us Zorro the husband, Zorro the father, and -- God bless him -- Zorro the Savior of America. Nobody around here has seen it yet, but the stench Zorro has generated in larger movie markets is already wafting in. God Bless the Internet. Rated PG





Magnificent Desolation--Only 12 people have walked on the moon, but now IMAX is proclaiming that you'll be number 13. All of you. Don't be fooled! You won't really be on the moon, just leaning back a little in your chair, gazing up at the moon's desolate vistas projected on a massive format screen. This is bound to be good. Tom Hanks produced it, and he doesn't put his name on bad movies. Except The Terminal... and Ladykillers. Unrated





North Country--Charlize Theron is one of very few women working in a coal mine way up north. All the women she works with get ogled and groped and denigrated, but don't stand up for themselves because they desperately need the job. Classic paradox, but when Theron decides to speak out against the abuse, she finds herself between a rock and an apathetic place. The men hate her, and the women won't support her. Or will they? Rated R





Prime--So you're sleeping with this older chick, right? And she tells you that she's been giving her shrink all the details. It kind of freaked you out at first, but now you think it's pretty hot. So it's all sizzling, steamy sailing until you find out this shrink is also ... wait for it ... your mother! Snap! Prime looks to be a zesty little menopausal-but-still-horny flick about bondage and the family ties that bind. Starring Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman. Rated PG-13





Saw II--Wasn't it enough to see Saw the first time? Do we really need a whole other movie about Seesaw, the homicidal cancer patient? Yes? All right, but if the first was a pretty blatant rip off of Se7en and Rube Goldberg's Inventions!, and this is a rehash of that, then we all know what to expect. Is knowing what to expect scary? We'd say no, but thousands upon thousands of horror flick sequels would beg to differ. Rated R





Serenity--The failed (but excellent) Fox TV show Firefly turns up on the big screen with the rogue spaceship named Serenity on the run from the Alliance. The captain (Nathan Fillion) is a swaggering wiseguy, who won't let them have the mysterious woman (Summer Glau) they seek. Great visuals, plenty of action, good laughs, a couple of shocks. (ES) Rated PG-13





Wallace & amp; Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit--The Plasticene characters jump from short films to feature length, with tinkerer Wallace still having far fewer brains than his trusty dog Gromit. But the two work nicely together, running a humane pest removal service, ridding gardens of bunnies -- until there's a visit by a large, hungry one. (ES) Rated G





The Weather Man--Nicholas Cage's great performance as a well-paid TV forecaster, who's also a nervous wreck of a bad husband and father (no matter how hard he tries to do it right) is what propels the already terrific seriocomic script up a couple of notches. I've always preferred Cage's sad-eyed comic roles, and this is a strong one, with equally good turns by Hope Davis as his wife and Michael Caine as his (American-accented) dad. (ES)


Rated R

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