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By The Inlander & r & & r & A MIGHTY HEART


The sad story of what happened when Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl (Dan Futterman) was kidnapped by jihadists while on assignment in Pakistan with his pregnant wife Mariane (Angelina Jolie) makes for a riveting film that focuses on her reactions while going through the ordeal, and on the hard-working local and international law enforcement folks who were trying to find him. Director Michael Winterbottom puts us in the middle of the emotional chaos, and though things ended tragically for Pearl, the film leaves us with a ray of hope. (ES) Rated R





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





FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER


One of the worst sequels ever, this debacle picks up where the first awful film left off, now pitting the superhero quartet against a silver surfing dude from outer space. Is he here because he wants to destroy our world, or because someone or something is making him do it? Heck, I don't know! Nothing in this carelessly sloppy script is explained, including the smarmy presence of Dr. Doom, who was killed off in the first one. (ES) Rated PG





1408


1408 is a movie about a hotel room, which makes it unique. It's also a movie based on something written by Stephen King, which makes it a far-from-unique thing in Hollywood. John Cusack stars as a paranormal investigator who checks into a supposedly haunted hotel room, then talks to... something on the telephone. Samuel L. Jackson gets a chance to be creepy and ominous as the hotel manager who doesn't want things to get bad.


(MD) 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





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





LEWIS & amp; CLARK GREAT JOURNEY WEST


The IMAX folks have packed a lot into this vivid account of the two adventurers' travels across the American wilderness. Narrator Jeff Bridges does pretty much all the speaking, while actors play out the scenes. And those scenes are played out in breathtakingly beautiful settings, spellbinding on the giant screen. Much of the story gets into details of important characters -- such as Indian guide Sacagawea -- who were left out of our history books. (ES) Unrated





MR. BROOKS


Kevin Costner shows his nasty side as a troubled man who's addicted to killing strangers, and feels the urge coming back after thinking he's licked it. He's goaded on by his "inner demon," played with nasty glee by William Hurt, who can only be seen and heard by Costner's title character. There are a couple of exceedingly violent and bloody scenes, but much of this is filled with black, black humor. (ES) Rated R





NANCY DREW


Emma Roberts, taking on the part of the teen detective, wears a stuck-on smile (and a horrendous wardrobe) as she ignores her friends and any rules from her clueless father. She's been ordered by Dad to "stop sleuthing," so she up and takes on a new case. And though she's always in some sort of "peril," she seems to have been hanging out with MacGyver, because anything she needs to get out of a jam is in one of her pockets. (ES) Rated PG





OCEAN'S THIRTEEN


George Clooney and the rest of the well-dressed criminal crew return to Las Vegas to come to the vengeful aid of their pal Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould), who's had his fiscal posterior handed to him by dirty dealer Willy Bank (Al Pacino). The story becomes a drone of white noise, color and empty spectacle punctuated by dead-end subplots that lead to a predictable backslapping conclusion. (CS) Rated PG-13





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" and hints of them going up against Lord Beckett, who wants to "rule the seas." 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





ROSEMARY'S BABY


Creepy, stylish and deeply unsettling, Rosemary's Baby never fails to elicit chills. Director Roland Polanski demonstrates an uncanny ability to manipulate his audience throughout the film -- from vague feelings of paranoia to sheer terror. Mia Farrow's shattering portrayal of an expectant mother who may or may not be carrying Satan's spawn is letter-perfect (and the rest of the cast is top notch as well). A very well-made, very scary film, especially at the Garland, at midnight... (MC) Rated R





SHREK THE THIRD


We've been primed for the tweaking of fairy tales and the post-ironic spin on myths. We've seen it. We've been around the park twice, bought the T-shirt and the Shrek ears, sent a postcard home. Now we're bored. Shrek the Third is... fine. But I wanted a lot more than "fine." I expected much, much more than "fine." (MJ) Rated PG





SURF'S UP


Animated penguins, again. But this film's clever approach is to present them in a faux documentary about competitive surfing penguins. Shia LaBeouf voices young Cody; Zooey Deschanel is the slightly older Lani; and Jeff Bridges (almost as laid-back as he was in The Big Lebowski) is the legendary Big Z. The film is so hip, it even uses scratchy B & amp;W "archival footage" of past penguin surf heroes. (ES) Rated PG





WAITRESS


At the center of this marvel of a movie is a near-perfect performance by Keri Russell as Jenna, the waitress who finds strength enough to get out of a bad, loveless, exploitive marriage and the good sense not to go hopping right into another one. Adrienne Shelly's deceptively sharp script remains steadfast, keeping expectations low then making all the right counterintuitive choices. It's the best, most satisfying film about personal growth I've seen this year. (LB) Rated PG-13

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