Pin It
Favorite

Now Playing 

by The Inlander & r & & r &





APOCALYPTO


Mel Gibson's abhorrent behavior can't take away the fact that he knows how to make an epic film. This is set in a Mayan forest where a peaceful tribe is attacked by ruthless marauders who take prisoners. One man tries to find his way back, through all kinds of obstacles. The film is reverent toward nature, superbly photographed and scored, and brimming with decapitations. It also, oddly, has bright flashes of humor. Completely enthralling for a fast-paced 140 minutes. (ES) Rated R





BLACK CHRISTMAS


Sororities are exactly what psychotic murderers want. Just look at the DVD-store shelf-space devoted to horror films that take place in sororities. It's clear they're unsafe. One more movie will soon be added to that shelf: a remake of the old screamin' girls classic Black Christmas. It stars Michelle Trachtenberg, who slummed as the little sister on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now she has the chance to grow up and confront evil on her own. (MD) Rated R





BLOOD DIAMOND


This is really two films. There's the sober and horrifyingly proximate view of the conflict diamond situation. You have warlords and government officials, land rich but cash-strapped. You have the common folk -- like Mende fisherman Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) -- who are raped, mutilated, tortured and enslaved to mine the diamonds. On the other hand, you have all the running and ducking and shooting and hiding of good, brainless action-- all the explosions, supernatural combat skills, dizzying coincidence, improbable bullet geometries and narrow, inexplicable escapes that make it, well, an action movie. Blood Diamond is disjointed but effective and occasionally poignant. (LB) Rated R








BORAT


The funniest film of the year (of the decade?) is also the most politically incorrect. And that's what makes it so funny. Sacha Baron Cohen brings his Kazakhstani TV journalist character, Borat, to the screen in a faux documentary road trip across America. The shtick is that Borat never comes out of character, and meets up with a lot of unsuspecting Americans who aren't brought in on the joke. He's an imbecilic, racist misogynist who has no idea he's doing anything wrong. A special nude sequence will leave you howling. (ES) Rated R





Casino Royale


James Bond is reborn, and the new one -- Daniel Craig -- may be poised to take over the "most popular" crown from Sean Connery. This adaptation of Ian Fleming's first novel presents the Bond that Fleming wrote about -- a grim, determined agent who doesn't bother with any one-liners. He's there to get the job done -- in this case, beating a villain out of his money at a poker game and, of course, driving fast, bedding beautiful women and constantly escaping death. This kick-ass movie gives the franchise a needed shot in the arm, and it gives viewers a reason to hold on tight while watching. (ES) Rated PG-13





CHARLOTTE'S WEB


The new live-action version of the classic E.B. White book features great CGI work as far as the cast of talking animals goes, but much the same thing has been seen before in Babe. The story of a barn spider (voice of Julia Roberts) who is determined to save the life of a runt pig who's heading for slaughter will appeal to young kids. But the casting of the creepy and annoying Dakota Fanning (as a live-action character) will bother some adults. The bittersweet story concerns life and death on the farm, but there's plenty of slapstick to keep kiddies occupied. (ES) Rated G





DREAMGIRLS


Eddie Murphy's singing and acting as soul-rock star James "Thunder" Early shine even brighter than performances by the fictional girl group the Dreams (Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Anika Noni Rose) in this musical about the rise and fall (and rise and fall) of black performers in 1960s Detroit. It features greedy managers (Jamie Foxx), talented and hungry artists, and an unfair business where backstabbing is the norm. The songs aren't memorable but the film is flashy. (ES) Rated PG-13





ERAGON


Nurtured on the original Star Wars trilogy and J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings saga, Eragon is little more than a fantasy amalgamation of those works' main moments minus the good filmmaking that made them meaningful. Shot primarily with close-ups of faces talking about things, Eragon loses momentum every time it tries to move the plot forward. Newcomer Edward Speleers is full of fresh-faced enthusiasm and raw-boned good looks, but his floppy blonde hair and gleaming white teeth make him come across as a beach bum more than a hero charged with saving the world. Jeremy Irons, who begins the film as narrator, is killed partway through and isn't allowed to finish. As the king of a kingdom (the film offers very few details), John Malkovich talks... as he always does... in strained... broken phrases... through clenched teeth. (MD) Rated PG





FLUSHED AWAY


Nick Park had no hand in this film, meaning it's missing the spear point of Aardman Studio's three Oscar wins (two for Wallace & amp; Gromit shorts, one for last year's W & amp;G feature debut, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit). As you no might expect, then, the comic irreverence of Aardman's best work is blunted here and dulled, but no entirely worn down. Despite that, and a plot and main character so puerile as to be almost unwatchable initially, Flushed Away works if you sit tight. Make it past the first 15 minutes, and you'll find yourself laughing through the final 70. (LB) Rated PG





THE GOOD SHEPHERD


As de facto head of the CIA's counter-intelligence arm, Edward Wilson's job is to plant enough false information to mislead his Communist counterparts. A blown plan, though, leads Wilson on a voyage of uneasy reflection that takes him through the past 50 years of his life, from Yale's Skull and Bones to Berlin to the halls of the CIA. It's a journey that not only charts his career, but also the genesis and growing pains of a whole new kind of war machine built primarily on information and disinformation. The Good Shepherd is Robert De Niro's first attempt at directing since 1993's A Bronx Tale. His greatest triumph is the dull paranoia he is able to instill in the audience. (LB) Rated R





HAPPY FEET


This story of a penguin who is ostracized because he can't sing (like all the other penguins), and blamed for the loss of his colony's fish supply, Happy Feet is an alternately daffy and affecting tale of the struggle for individual identity in a rigid social context. Well-written and gorgeously rendered, Mumble (Elijah Wood), who can't sing but can tap dance magnificently, must fight the superstition and closed-mindedness that have not only made him an outcast but caused his people to turn a blind eye toward their fish woes. (LB) Rated PG





THE HISTORY BOYS


Teach to the test, or teach for life? That's the debate among instructors of eight British schoolboys, who'll do just about anything to get into either Ox or Bridge -- including put up with the rigors of taskmaster Stephen Campbell Moore or the eccentricities (including a harmless bit of fondling on a motorbike, don't you know) of Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter's rotund Uncle Vernon). Director Nicholas Hytner's entire London stage cast reappears for the film -- a fact that usually bodes well. And improves rehearsals. (MB) Rated R





THE HOLIDAY


The chick-flick auteuress responsible for What Women Want and Something's Gotta Give gets the glossy leading ladies she's always wanted: Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslett. Left loveless for the holidays, these two decide to swap stylish homes (one in L.A., the other across the pond) and before you know it, they're engaged in picturesque romancing with the likes of Jude Law and Jack Black. (MD) Rated PG-13





The Nativity Story


This one's hoping to be The Parturition of the Christ. Screenwriter Mike Rich, who's devout, has remained Gospel-faithful while envisioning a Nativity sequence less event driven than character-driven. We see Mary and Joseph as human beings caught up in the extraordinary: their arranged betrothal, the Annunciation, Joseph's dream, the sand-blown journey to Bethlehem, the three Magi, and one very paranoid Herod. (Thankfully, director Catherine Hardwicke didn't ask Mel Gibson to help film the Massacre of the Innocents.) The cast includes Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider) as Mary, Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog) as Elizabeth, and Alexander Siddig (Deep Space Nine) as the archangel Gabriel. (MB) Rated PG





NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM


Remember in that movie Mannequin when Andrew McCarthy built himself a dummy and she came to life after the store closed and they fell in love and everyone thought he was crazy? This is kind of like that, except at a museum, where Ben Stiller's night gig as a security guard turns into a constant carnival of exhibits come to life. The T-Rex skeleton stomps around; all the Mayans, cowboys, gladiators and Huns from the dioramas go at each other, and Stiller runs around like an idiot for an hour and a half. (JS) Rated PG





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. Never mind that train to Hogwarts. The one that pulls up at a young boy's house on Christmas Eve is headed for the North Pole and a certain jolly fat man. And it seems that the other young passengers have one thing in common: They're all wearing pajamas. Tom Hanks voices the conductor and four other parts, including the boy. Charming, wistful, with a nice dose of adventure. (ES) At the IMAX in Riverfront Park. Rated G





THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS


Will Smith makes it hard for critics to write unkind things about him by starring in this family drama with his real-life son Jaden. As a father who goes to great lengths to keep his son from hardship after the family is forced to survive on an unpaid internship, Smith has the based-on-real-life material to make Oprah cry. (She's already endorsed the movie.) Will it feature a feel-good capitalist fantasy ending, or something more sincere? Might not matter to Smith, who will have a multi-million dollar portrait of his son no matter how the movie turns out. Rated (MD) PG-13





ROCKY BALBOA


The sixth -- and last -- round of Rocky movies (no, he does not die in it) is a bit soft in the middle -- kind of like its main character. Our hero (Sly Stallone) is back in South Philly, Adrian has died, he don't got much to do ... except hold court each night at his restaurant, Adrian's, telling tales of ring conquests. Then a promoter has an idea -- get him in shape, and match him up with the current, unpopular champ. It's sappy, it's old-fashioned, but it's heartfelt. And the big fight is quite good! (ES) Rated PG





WE ARE MARSHALL


The story of the worst disaster in American sports history: an entire football team lost to a plane crash, a community in shock, players and coaches persevering so they can once again field a team. We Are Marshall is perfectly ripe for a little on-field tear-jerking, and I was ready to do some uncomfortably heavy weeping, but things just didn't click. With uneven pacing; confusing, inexplicable tone shifts; and direction so ham-fisted it resembles my jump shot (flashy but usually way off the mark), the film is a nice diversion at times, but fails on some pretty basic levels. (LB) Rated PG

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Court of Understanding
  • Court of Understanding

    Spokane's felony Mental Health Court provides a framework for renewed lives
    • Dec 23, 2014
  • A Growing Wave
  • A Growing Wave

    More patients join the lawsuit against Washington's psychiatric hospitals; plus, a new report examining Spokane police
    • Dec 23, 2014
  • Cease-Fire
  • Cease-Fire

    What will Congress' new tolerance for medical marijuana mean for people facing federal drug charges?
    • Dec 23, 2014
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
Gonzaga Women vs. BYU

Gonzaga Women vs. BYU @ McCarthey Athletic Center

Sat., Dec. 27, 2 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Inlander Staff

  • Embrace Change
  • Embrace Change

    The Inland Northwest reignites each fall in a whirlwind display of color.
    • Oct 22, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Game Changer

    Since Condon became mayor, Jan Quintrall has been responsible for some of the biggest changes in the city of Spokane — and some of its biggest controversies
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • Let Us Breathe

    Spokane joins national protests over the failure to indict white officers for killing black civilians
    • Dec 10, 2014
  • More »

© 2014 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation