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Opening Films 

by Inlander Staff

Hellboy -- A superb example of a comic book -- and the attitude and style that goes with it -- coming to life. Ron Perlman plays the title character, a friendly red demon who kills off monsters for a secret government agency. There are violent but bloodless battles galore, with horrid creatures and evil Nazis. There's fire and destruction everywhere. But accompanying all that is a wonderfully warped tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and even a little bit of romance. The sporadic comic book series has been around for a decade. This could easily be the start of a very successful film series. (ES) Rated PG-13

Home on the Range -- From Babe to Chicken Run, the farmyard seems like fertile ground for family-oriented (and lucrative) cinematic fare. In this latest release from Disney Studios, Dame Judi Dench, Rosanne Barr and Jennifer Tilly are the voices behind three hard-working dairy cows who overhear plans that their farm is about to be sold. Cuba Gooding Jr. is the horse that just might hold the secret to saving the farm. Rated: PG

The Prince & amp; Me -- This is being referred to as a modern fairy tale, but fairy tale lite would be more accurate. A farm girl who wants to go to med school (Julia Stiles) meets up with the playboy Prince of Denmark (Luke Mably) when he comes to America looking for a good time, and who keeps his identity a secret. But the story is built on one coincidence after another -- hey, the prince is good with cars, so he can rig an engine to win a lawnmower race!! -- and the story loses its hold when the action switches to Denmark, where she must choose between royalty and reality. It all falls flat. (ES) Rated PG

Touching the Void -- Based on Joe Simpson's book about his experiences in 1985 when he and Simon Yates foolishly braved the only mountain in the Peruvian range that hadn't been scaled. Three-and-a-half days in, the worst possible disaster happened, with Simpson falling and smashing his leg. It's a by-the-throat style, mingling latter-day interviews with Simpson and Yates with recreations in Peru and the Alps. Actors retrace their steps, their follies, their near-death experiences. And although you see Simpson and Yates, years after their tortuous days spent in their mid-twenties, the recreations manage to capture the sensations and fear in a way that full-on fiction or a "purer" form of documentary never could. It's an icy thrill. Directed by Kevin Macdonald. (RP) Showing at the Met Cinema; Not Rated

Walking Tall -- This is one mean-spirited movie, with no improvement over the not-so-good original. Pro wrestler the Rock plays a soldier returning home from war, only to find that the town has changed, for the worse, now that it's under the control of a greedy, sleazy and vicious old friend. He runs for sheriff in order to straighten things out, but only gets pummeled and shot at for his efforts. Rock is OK in the part, as is Johnny Knoxville as a good guy. But the film is more of a weak rip-off of Road House than the first Walking Tall. (ES) Rated R

Publication date: 04/01/04

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