by Inlander Staff & r & Chicken Little -- Disney's first attempt at in-house CGI animation in the Pixar mold sometimes feels less like a movie than part of a strategy to get back together with Pixar. The film begins with a lively pop as a re-imagining of the storybook tale about the tiny fowl (voiced by Zach Braff) who caused a panic by screaming that the sky was falling. But the sky really is falling, and Chicken Little gets faster, louder and scarier -- feeling more and more like something trying to out-Pixar Pixar. (Scott Renshaw) Rated G
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
Elizabethtown -- 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
Get Rich or Die Tryin' -- At first glance, this seems like the most honestly titled film ever. The producers are being so forthright about this shameless product tie-in that they've put one of their core corporate values right in the title. Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, former thug and dealer turned platinum-selling rap star, plays Marcus, thug and drug dealer who might someday become a platinum-selling rap star? Pretty much screams "let's piggy back on Fiddy's album sales." But GRoDT is directed by Jim Sheridan, a six-time Oscar nominee who helmed 2003's In America. So it might be well received and still score billions of dollars in merchandising. Probably not though. (LB) Rated R
Good Night, and Good Luck -- An elegant scolding frames George Clooney's meticulous and stirring account of the duel between broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) and Red-baiter Senator Joseph McCarthy (played by himself, via archival news footage). Celebrated at a fete in 1958 for his career achievements, Murrow turns on the network-news broadcasters honoring him. "This will probably do no one any good," he begins, and concludes by condemning the new medium for selling out its potential and folding to political and commercial pressure. (Peter Keough) 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
Jarhead -- Spend some time in hot Middle Eastern sand with the Marines during Operation Desert Shield. Under the direction of Sam Mendes (American Beauty), it was funny and harrowing and boring and could drive a guy nuts. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a Marine who goes through tough emotional times with his fellow soldiers. The film concentrates more on them than on the politics of the time. Gyllenhaal, as Swoff, and Peter Sarsgaard, as Troy, are terrific. (ES) Rated R
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
Shopgirl -- It's gotta be cool for Steve Martin, the kind of guy with enough clout to (a) write a prize-winning novella, (b) adapt it into a screenplay, (c) sell it to a studio and, finally, (d) star in the resulting film. Business people call that "vertical integration," kids, and Martin's done it. Claire Danes is getting adulatory press for her turn as the shop girl, Mirabelle. (LB) Rated R
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) is what propels the already terrific seriocomic script up a couple of notches. I've always preferred Cage's 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
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.