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By The Inlander & r & & r & AMAZING GRACE


The song that would eventually come to be known as "Amazing Grace" arose out of the abolitionist movement. England's abolitionist movement. They did it first. The film chronicles the life of William Wilberforce, a British MP who spent his career fighting to end the British slave trade. (LB) Rated PG





BREACH


Chris Cooper is an FBI veteran who may be a traitor; Ryan Phillippe is an up-and-coming agent who's assigned to watch him. The mystery is whether or not the guy is guilty, and there's plenty of tension leading up to the answer. (ES) Rated PG-13





BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA


The Narnia producers, the effects folks from King Kong and Lord of the Rings, Disney backing -- clearly, Bridge to Terabithia has the right pedigree to become a hit. AnnaSophia Robb (Because of Winn-Dixie) acts more like a boy so that Josh Hutcherson (RV) will act more like a girl (you know, use his imagination). Together, they imagine a mythical world -- and get to rule it. (MB) Rated PG





DEAD SILENCE


What happens when a ventriloquist loses her voice? I mean, other than not doing ventriloquism anymore... Well, if you're Mary Shaw, you go crazy, kill some people, die, then send your dolls out to do some killing from beyond the grave. (LB) Rated R





GHOST RIDER


Comic book adaptations get some leeway when it comes to camp, but this remake of the semi-popular Marvel series overdoes it, with a feeble story, laughable dialogue and eye-rolling performances from Nic Cage and Peter Fonda. The consolation? Eva Mendes' ample cleavage. (JS) Rated PG-13





HURRICANE ON THE BAYOU


Documentary producer Greg MacGillivray was in the middle of filming an IMAX documentary about the endangered wetlands of the American bayou when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. Broadening his scope to include the people who inhabit the swampy regions of the south, MacGillivray ended up with a much bigger movie than he initially intended. At the IMAX. (MD) Not Rated





I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE


Chris Rock co-writes (with the writer of Pootie Tang), directs, and stars in a remake of the thoughtful French film Chloe in the Afternoon, turning it into a coarse, juvenile comedy filled with F- and N-words. It's about a somewhat happily married guy (Rock) who's visited by the ex-girlfriend (Kerry Washington) of an old friend, after which his life is turned into (unfunny) turmoil. (ES) Rated R





LAST KING OF SCOTLAND


Big Forest Whitaker steals this fictional film with his portrayal of the monstrous real-life Ugandan dictator General Idi Amin. But James McAvoy holds his own as a na & iuml;ve young Scottish doctor who settles in the African country to help villagers and then becomes, against his will, Amin's personal physician. The ending is flawed, but just about everything leading up to it is spellbinding. (ES) Rated R





THE LIVES OF OTHERS


A story of expression and suppression in Soviet-dominated East Germany, The Lives of Others is as much about love and art as obedience. Until his friends are blacklisted for their beliefs, playwright Georg Dreyman never thinks about rebelling against the party line. Until the intelligence officer assigned to watch him day and night understands to what spurious, self-serving ends he's being used, he never thinks of disobeying orders. This is a gorgeous film about a fascinating time. (LB) Rated R





MUSIC AND LYRICS


Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore have just days to write a hit pop song for a superstar diva. You have 96 minutes to watch them pace and chew their pencils. The resulting ballad is balanced and surprisingly catchy, but the film -- stacked with witty dialogue but lacking chemistry or character -- is all lyrics, little music. (JS) Rated PG-13





NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM


Putting Ben Stiller in a situation that's going to get out of control has been standard comedy formula for five years now. Night at the Museum brings nothing more to the mix than a special effects-driven set piece. (MD) Rated PG





NORBIT


In Norbit, Eddie and Charlie Murphy (of Dave Chappelle's Show) have given us a minstrel show in which Eddie Murphy plays the Woody Allen-like title role and Norbit's overweight and overbearing wife and the Chinese racist who adopts baby Norbit. Not funny. (LB) Rated PG-13





THE NUMBER 23


Jim Carrey gets freaked out by the number 23, but we never really understand why. Then he gets obsessed with it, but we never really understand his motivation. Finally, he starts having homicidal feelings, brought on entirely by the fact that the number 23 is popping up. By that time, though, the entire audience has checked out. (LB) Rated R





PREMONITION


Sandra Bullock stars as a housewife whose husband dies in a car crash -- except that he shows up, alive and well, the next day. And then dies again. Friends and psychologists dismiss her grieved ravings -- at first. Premonition sounds like What Lies Beneath, only with nightmares and psychic foreshadowing thrown in. Potentially spooky. (MB) Rated PG-13





THE QUEEN


The story of how Queen Elizabeth II dealt with the death of Princess Di, The Queen lives and breathes on the power of Helen Mirren's performance. The Queen centers on whether the queen's actions were the result of precedent, propriety or simply pride. (MD) Rated PG-13





ROVING MARS


The sound alone is deafening, and juxtaposed with Phillip Glass' crystalline musical score, the roar of a rocket pushing the rovers into space is impressive. As are the sights and sounds of the parachute test in a giant wind hangar. But this short IMAX film loses focus -- is it trying to recreate the surface of Mars with the help of CGI animation, or is it examining the space program? Maybe it will seem clearer on the DVD (they sell those now for IMAX). (MD) Rated G





300


The Greek-versus-Persian battle of Thermopylae comes to bloody, eye-popping life in the CGI celebration of the Frank Miller graphic novel. Fierce and noble King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his band of 300 men face off against the uncountable hordes of the bratty King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). Themes of diplomacy versus war arise, but once the swords come out, there's no escaping the cartoonish violence. (ES) Rated R





THE ULTIMATE GIFT


A story about Jason, a spoiled trust-fund kid, and the dead grandpa whose will sends Jason to the ends of the earth searching for his humanity. The film suffers from not knowing whether it wants to be an edgy morality tale or overtly Christian. (LB). Rated PG





WILD HOGS


Four middle-aged friends, sick of their jobs, bored with their lives and generally having nothing to look forward to, take a cross-country motorcycle trip. Four essentially backboneless suburbanite dudes frequenting biker bars? You can be sure there'll be a little love and a whole lot uh learnin'. (LB) Rated PG-13





ZODIAC


David Fincher's riveting telling of the West Coast Zodiac murders of the 1960s and '70s focuses much more on the people looking into the killings -- cops Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards, and newspaper guys Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal -- than on the killings. Great use of music, and a solid dynamic between Downey and Gyllenhaal, but removing a half hour would have helped. (ES) Rated R

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