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By The Inlander & r & & r & DOLPHINS


Flipper has never been this big. But then again, he has yet to make his big screen debut at the IMAX. Greg MacGillivray's documentary reads like a children's book then transitions into a well-shot, insightful look into the everyday and global lives of the loveable sea mammals. The movie tags along with a group of researchers exploring the minds and patterns of more than 40 different varieties of dolphin. The film even exposes a small group of tuna fishermen who attempt to illegally capture dolphins in the process. And all the while, the dolphins are hallowed by the voice of Pierce Brosnan (no Robert Redford, but not bad). (KM) Not Rated





EVAN ALMIGHTY


$175 million? Seriously? In this hyper-expensive "comedy" about a present-day flood and the present-day man present-day God tasks with saving northeastern Virginia, the story blows, the special effects aren't special, and Steve Carrel phones it in. Almost unwatchable. (LB) Rated PG





HAIRSPRAY


There have been plenty of big, splashy musicals in recent years, but why are they always so grim? This one, about teens in Baltimore in the early '60s, is incredibly happy, and heck, John Travolta plays a 350-pound woman! It's about mother-daughter relationships, husband-wife relationships, times of racial change, all celebrated in catchy song and dance, with a star-turn performance by newcomer Nikki Blonsky. Yes, there is such thing as a feel-good movie. (ES) Rated PG





HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX


The best Potter to date makes the previous, comparatively bloated entry almost forgettable. This streamlined version of the immense fifth book picks up with Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) threatened with expulsion from Hogwarts for using his magic in public -- even though it was to save his own life. The ever-sprawling story relies less on the friendships among him, Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Gint), and more on a transformation from fantasy to horror, with a bit of politics thrown in. Most of the regular cast is still around (one is killed off), and the newest member -- Dolores Umbridge -- provides actress Imelda Staunton with some of the best scenery-chewing in the series. (ES) Rated PG-13





HURRICANE ON THE BAYOU


Katrina can be discussed in human, social and political terms in forums ranging from political roundtables to Spike Lee films. But Hurricane on the Bayou examines the hurricane as an ecological issue. Beginning as a documentary about the Mississippi Delta, the filmmakers end up turning their IMAX cameras on Katrina as an example of a worst-case scenario. (MD) Not Rated; no deaths are depicted





I KNOW WHO KILLED ME


Michael Moore's harangues aside, torture movies have turned out to be the most relevant genre of cinema in the age of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. But that might change with the addition of Lindsay Lohan, who undertakes the normally anonymous victim role. In I Know Who Killed Me, Lohan stars as a young girl from a small town who is kidnapped and tortured, then later found with a different personality. Lohan's been box office poison recently thanks to her status as a tabloid treasure, so it's up to an inexperienced director and a first-time writer to reinvent their leading lady. (MD) Rated R





I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY


Two FDNY firefighters must pretend they're gay to keep their benefits. The reason that firefighters Chuck (Adam Sandler) and Larry (Kevin James) are pretending to be gay doesn't make much sense, but why should it? It's merely the entire plot. During the movie, Chuck and Larry learn how discrimination hurts, they have fights that make it sound like they really are a gay couple, their FDNY brothers grudgingly embrace tolerance, someone gets over his dead wife, and lifelong lessons are learned. But the most important lesson of all is that Sandler and James are not themselves homosexuals. (BK) Rated PG-13





INDIANA JONES AND THE RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK


Stay out of the way of Han Solo's blaster pistol. Be sure to find cover when Jack Ryan pulls out his fists. But most importantly, don't bring a sword to a gunfight, especially when Harrison Ford dawns his Indiana Jones hat. The first of the classic trilogy -- soon to be a quadrilogy -- sends the audience through a whirlwind of legendary tales and intrepid adventures on the heels of the one and only "named after the dog" Indiana Jones. Damsel in distress and Smith & amp; Wesson intact, the movie tagged four Oscars and captured whip brandishers' hearts everywhere. (KM) Rated PG





KNOCKED UP


A story about a slacker (of course) who gets an ambitious young entertainment reporter preggers, Knocked Up is a nice commentary on the current state of the family. Writer/director Judd Apatow's male characters are enthralling, especially Pete (Paul Rudd). His women lack multi-dimensionality but the casting choices (Katherine Heigl and Leslie Mann specifically) add depth and warmth. (LB) Rated PG





LICENSE TO WED


Ben (John Krasinski) proposes. Sadie (Mandy Moore) agrees but wants to be married by Rev. Frank (Robin Williams) -- who consents, but requires a series of odd (stupid) pass-or-fail pre-marriage counseling sessions. (BK) Rated PG





LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD


It's been a dozen years since Bruce Willis last played Detective John McClane, but the wait was definitely worth it. This time out he's attempting to save America from an attack on the vast computer networks that run it. The gimmick is that he's an analog cop in a digital world, and doesn't understand what he's fighting. But he's ably aided (both story- and acting-wise) by computer aficionado Matt Farrell (Justin Long). The action is spectacular and relentless, and the film carries a terrific sense of humor to go along with all the fist-smashing, bullet-flying, explosive mayhem. (ES) Rated PG-13





NO RESERVATIONS


The workaholic, humorless chef (Catherine Zeta-Jones) takes time off to become the guardian of her recently orphaned niece (Abigail Breslin). While she's out, the restaurant hires a happy, freewheeling chef (Aaron Eckhart) to cover for her. When she returns, he stays, and the story turns into a sort of emotional food fight, with him worshipping her, and her despising him. Too many story changes, without any explanations, spoil the broth. And everything comes out just as you think it will. Too cute, too precious, too predictable. (ES) Rated PG





PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END


Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley return to argue, do battle, and (this time) star in a film with a story that makes little sense -- something about "nine pirate lords." Visual effects are great, but add nothing to the story; the soundtrack is ear-splittingly bombastic; Keith Richards pops by for five minutes to give "advice" to his son (Depp) and plunk a tune on a pirate guitar. Arrrgh! (ES) Rated PG-13





RATATOUILLE


Brad Bird, the genius behind the animated films The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, returns with a Pixar film about a food-loving rat in Paris who turns out to be a great chef, and becomes the brains behind the new concoctions at a restaurant that's popular, but has seen better days. It has exquisite visuals, superb voice acting, and a lovely story about the importance of friendship and family. It's also a riot. (ES) Rated G





SICKO


The best thing about this Michael Moore documentary is that there's less Michael Moore. Holding his ego in check with unbelievable restraint, he takes a back seat and lets a comparison of our f-ed up health system to others around the world take center stage. Many of the Moore-ian pratfalls still exist, though. Rather than presenting and disputing counter arguments, homeboy just ignores them. That won't win him converts, but he's always preferred preaching to the choir. It's probably too much to ask that he lose his ego and gain real rhetorical chops in one film. (LB) Rated PG-13





THE SIMPSONS MOVIE


The Simpsons Movie is just about as funny as four of the television episodes. So what's the point? Nostalgia basically, but with a bigger budget, higher stakes, larger scale, in-jokes galore... and, strangely, an actual plot. If nothing else, 18 years have taught Matt Groening and his team of 10 other writers the cynicism that builds when a beloved show runs a decade too long. It's exactly what we should have expected. That means, I guess it's all we could have honestly hoped. (LB) Rated PG-13





TRANSFORMERS


Autobots and Decepticons descend to Planet Earth to continue their longtime battle and search for a missing source of power. It's one of those good-versus-evil things. But Earth's occupants don't have much to do but get out of the way of these huge machines that can convert into cars, trucks and planes. Directed by Michael Bay, and starring Shia LaBeouf and the gorgeous Megan Fox, with John Turturro and Jon Voight in the supporting cast. Much eye-popping devastation and unexpected humor. (ES) Rated PG-13

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