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by Inlander Staff & r & & r & Brokeback Mountain -- Everybody's talking about "the gay cowboy movie," with Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger as longtime lovers who try to keep the secret from their wives. Most folks are saying good things about Ang Lee's first film since Hulk. But the film runs too slow, and the story doesn't offer enough explanation of motivation. Beautiful scenery and a great performance by Michelle Williams really isn't enough. And Gyllenhaal's mustache looks ridiculous. (ES) Rated R





The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe -- The C.S. Lewis novel has its charm and fantastical imagery intact, although, happily, the religious overtones are now undertoned. During World War II, four siblings are sent to the British countryside for safety, where they find a portal to another world: the wintry land of Narnia. They must come together as a unit, join forces with magical creatures and defeat a wicked queen (Tilda Swinton). Nicely done, for all ages. (ES) Rated PG





Curious George -- The simple and gentle kiddie books have gone even simpler and gentler in this flatly animated film adaptation that's geared toward viewers who are too young to be brought to a movie theater. The Man in the Yellow Hat (voice of Will Ferrell) goes to Africa to find a museum-worthy relic and is followed back to New York by the frisky but lonely monkey, and all sorts of adventures ensue -- none of which will hold the attention of anyone older than 5. This will work far better as a baby-sitter on DVD. (ES) Rated G





Date Movie -- The Wayans brothers are so profitable (funny is another question) that people have begun floating films from their writing staff. Date Movie is just that. Two of the writers of Scary Movie were given clearance to satirize the romantic comedy genre in the broad, obvious strokes with which they satirized the horror genre. Exactly the kind of wackiness you'd expect ensues. Rated PG-13





Doogal -- It's an animated comedy about a dog who must save the world from a madman with an ice age gun. The script has lots of references to Lord of the Rings, for some inexplicable reason. The cast, also inexplicably, includes the voices of William H. Macy, Judi Dench, Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon. Rated G





Eight Below -- So there's, like, this storm, right? Wicked one. In Antarctica or something. And there's this research team. They get out alive, but they're forced to leave their beloved (and intelligent) dog team behind to fend for themselves. Anthropomorphizing ensues. Rated PG





Final Destination 3 -- Anyone who said love's a bitch hasn't met fate. Same conceit at work here, kids. Fate -- or Death, or whatever -- meant to kill everyone onboard a rollercoaster, but some people survived, so now the disembodied hand of Fate/Death has to knock them off one by one, and it's up to a plucky group of kids to stop it. You know what they say: Third time's a suck-fest. Rated R





Firewall -- Harrison Ford runs all sorts of security systems at his bank and is the one picked by nasty Paul Bettany and his gang of techno thieves -- who have kidnapped his family -- to bypass those systems ands show them the money. The whole plot seems lifted from The Friends of Eddie Coyle, and while there are some good twists, we've seen Ford and others do this sort of thing before. (ES) Rated PG-13





Forces of Nature -- Showcasing the awesome spectacle of earthquakes, volcanoes, and severe storms as we follow scientists on their quests to understand how these natural disasters are triggered. Narrated by Kevin Bacon! Unrated





Freedomland -- For most of director Joe Roth's professional life, he has been a studio suit. As a director, he still acts like a studio suit. Freedomland has a lot of provocative thematic baggage -- and it's clearly far more than Roth knows how to handle. His idea of conveying urgent drama is to make sure the camera rocks and jitters with queasy persistence, or downshifts to super-slow-mo, or snap-cuts around so that it's nearly impossible to tell what's going on. (SR) Rated R





Glory Road -- Glory Road tells the story of the first all-black starting lineup of basketball players in a major-college championship game, at Texas Western College in 1966. The team was led by their groundbreaking yet humble coach Don Haskins (Josh Lucas, Undertow). Debut director James Gartner struggles with solidifying the film's socially explosive period aspects against the exacting demands of recreating a season's worth of hair-raising basketball games surging toward the 1966 NCAA tournament. (CS) Rated PG





Greece: Secrets of the Past -- Continuing their long tradition of making learning fun, the folks at IMAX bring us Greece, wherein you get to "see how the island of Santorini was formed and how the island's volcanic eruption, one of the biggest explosions in Earth's history, occurred. Follow a team of archeologists piecing together the puzzles of ancient history and learn how the field of archeology has progressed. Travel to Athens and see how computer graphic imaging can restore the Parthenon to its original glory. Trace some of our modern society's customs -- democracy, medicine, athletics and theatre back to their roots in the Golden Age of Greece." Unrated





Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire -- Harry and friends return for another term at Hogwarts, and Harry somehow becomes a contestant in the dangerous and exciting Triwizard Tournament. Director Mike Newell and entire-series writer Steve Kloves add new dimensions to the story, with more emotional punch and some maturing (sexual awakening?) of the young wizards. This fourth installment is the most fun and the scariest. Brendan Gleeson steals the show as "Mad-Eye." (ES) Rated PG-13





Imagine Me and You -- Never mind that bit about being named Heck, dude's got real problems. Like, girl problems. Heck totally wants to marry Rachel (Piper Perabo), and we guess Rachel wants to marry him too. Or she did, until she met Luce, who seems to have caught her in a love-at-first-sight glance. There's a stereotypically British (that is misogynistic) brother as well. Identity crises ensue. It's like Closer, only funnier, more British and with lesbians! Rated R





Hoodwinked! -- It's the story of Little Red Riding Hood told from many different angles, none of which look very funny. Rated PG





Magnificent Desolation -- Only 12 people have walked on the moon, but now IMAX is proclaiming that you'll be number 13. 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. Unrated





The Matador -- Pierce Brosnan has gotten typecast big-time post-Bond. Luckily he's always found films with an interesting angle on the man-of-intrigue thing. Tailor of Panama was a good example. The Matador looks to be as well. Brosnan is an aging assassin who helps an out-of-sorts everyman (Greg Kinnear) get a job he really needs by killing off the other applicants. But then Brosnan blows a different hit, and suddenly he needs a favor of his own. Rated R





Memoirs of a Geisha -- While they are startling initially, director Rob Marshall's images quickly begin to fall flat. Perhaps the gradual loss of this highly symbolic visual language pantomimes the crumble of Imperial Japan, which was symbol-rich itself. No, these uninspired later scenes more closely parallel the audience's realization that the visual grandeur of Geisha's first two acts hinted at a depth of narrative that just doesn't exist. (LB) Rated PG-13





Nanny McPhee -- Emma Thompson gets ultra-ugly while Colin Firth stays super-repressed and painfully British in the precocious Nanny McPhee. Humans are comparing this to Mary Poppins -- and not just that dullard Gene Shalit. Rated PG





The New World -- Director Terrence Malik can't manage to write into the cracks and crevices of any of these characters -- not just John Smith (Colin Farrell) but Pocohontas (Q'Orianka Kilcher) herself. Like some historical bas-relief, it has more depth than a sketch but less than a sculpture. The New World is still a good film, and a beautiful one, it's just a little tragic, muted and corrupt. Making it a metephor for the historical realities it references (LB) Rated PG-13





Pink Panther -- Remake of the Peter Sellers classic Francophone-lampooning slap-stick-a-thon about a stolen pink diamond. If anyone was going to try to reprise the role of Jacques Clouseau, we'd have wanted it to be Steve Martin. That doesn't mean it's going to be good, though. Rated PG





Running Scared -- Paul Walker gets gritty! Chazz Palminteri goes gangster! Right, that second one's nothing new, but the first is. This is supposed to be the mean streets tale of a gun gone missing. Charged with cleaning up the murder of a dirty cop, Walker loses track of the gun before he can properly dispose of it. Ultra-violence ensues. Rated R





The Squid and the Whale -- The way writer/director Noah Baumbach uses Bernard to lampoon intellectualism as a pursuit not of knowledge or understanding, but of a certain status in life (large vocabularies; summers off; senseless, tawdry hauteur; corduroy blazers) is often unbearably funny. Like all the humor in the film, though, it's tempered with the realization that the jokes cut on deep emotional traumas. This is a sad, hilarious film of curious depth. (LB) Rated R





The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada -- The story of a murdered ranch hand and the journey to bring him back to his home village -- and bring his killer to repentance. Full of riotous laughter and calamitous sorrow, The Three Burials of Melqiades Estrada manages the full gamut of lunatic emotions without cheapening any of them. That's a hell of a feat. It's another triumph for Arriaga and the first in a long time for Tommy Lee Jones. (LB) Rated R





Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion -- While the rest of America is glued to its seat by the tender gender-bender Transamerica, we're repulsed away from theaters by the crass cross-dressing preachiness of Tyler Perry. It's Diary of a Mad Black Woman 2, for all intents and purposes, which means you knew whether or not you were going to see it before you read this. Rated PG-13





Underworld: Evolution -- If we didn't have "turkey" rating here, I would label this sequel to Underworld a dog -- or is it a wolf? A big bad wolf? Kate Beckinsale returns as sultry but sullen Selene, a vampire who goes about killing werewolves over the centuries. But this time, she's dealing with flashbacks to the year 1202, as well as romantic entanglement with a modern-day hybrid of werewolf and human (Scott Speedman). The main problems include too much plotting, overuse of blood and utter incomprehensibility. (ES) Rated R





When a Stranger Calls -- A remaking of the 1979 semi-clasic of the same name, When a Stranger Calls is the kind of a film you know about even if you haven't seen it because it has one of those great lines that quickly becomes a pop touchstone. Calling 91 about harassing phone calls, the policeman on the other end and gasps, "It's coming from inside the house." Chilling. Whether or not you can write an whole movie around a single line of dialogue remains to be seen. Rated PG 13

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