by Inlander Staff * Anything Else -- This splenetic abomination is a repellent and incoherent life of Jerry, a comedy writer (Jason Biggs), whom we never see being funny. His best friend and mentor is the creepy Dobel (Woody Allen, who directs), a high school teacher neatly described as a "raving psychotic lunatic" even before he apparently murders a "porcine" state trooper. The bulk of the movie is given over to Jerry's year-long relationship with Amanda (Christina Ricci), an overmedicated, manipulative twerp. Whoever still has nostalgia for the distant high points of Allen's career will be sorely tested. At least Ricci doesn't have to kiss Allen. (RP) Rated: R
** Cold Creek Manor -- In this unscary, yawnsome thriller, Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone are a Manhattan couple who decide upstate New York will be a better, safer place to raise their kids. Small town craziness ensues. (RP) Rated: R
** The Fighting Temptations -- Filled with extraordinary musical scenes, most of them of the gospel persuasion, this is an otherwise very ordinary story about a scheming New York ad exec (Cuba Gooding Jr.) who returns to his small-town roots for a funeral and is offered gobs of money if he can turn the tired old church choir into winners in a competition. But the plentiful music is great. (ES) Rated PG-13
** Secondhand Lions -- Michael Caine and Robert Duvall are the crusty, shotgun-wielding, probably wealthy uncles to whom mom (Kyra Sedgwick) delivers young Walter (Haley Joel Osment) for the summer so she can "go to school." The uncles don't want him, and he doesn't want to be there, but -- guess what? -- they bond! Flashbacks about the uncles' adventures are well done, but they break the mood too much. There is, however, a truly lovely side story about an aging lion. (ES) Rated PG
**** Thirteen -- Veteran production designer Catherine Hardwicke's (Vanilla Sky) writing-directing debut is a horror story, a deeply felt, beautifully detailed horror film about contemporary Angeleno girlhood, amped up with feverish energy. Evan Rachel Wood (Simone) is coltish and frighteningly unloosed as the nice girl gone so wrong; Holly Hunter, as her indulgent, drink-prone mother, radiates hapless sorrow. Co-star Nikki Reed was 13 when she co-wrote the story; she looks far older than her years. (RP) Rated: R
** Underworld -- One thing to be said for this vampire-werewolf-art-school hybrid is that director Len Wiseman has the cockiness, if not the know-how, to thrust viewers immediately into a semi-comprehensible world and hit the ground running, weaving and ducking from gales of gunfire. Its retro-futurist look may be the most festering-looking bigger-budget movie since Michael Radford's 1984. Snickery sadism reigns. While the match of Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman may have been meant to suggest an interspecies Romeo and Juliet, the movie has little time for charm. (RP) Rated: R
**** Don't Miss It *** Worth $8 ** Wait For The Video * Save Your Money
& lt;i & Capsule reviews are written by Ed Symkus (ES) and Ray Pride (RP), unless otherwise noted. & lt;/i &
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The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.