by Inlander Staff & r & The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and Wardrobe -- The C.S. Lewis novel has its charm and fantastical imagery intact, although, happily, the religious overtones are now undertoned. During World War II, four siblings are sent to the British countryside for safety, where they find a portal to another world: the wintry land of Narnia. They must come together as a unit, join forces with magical creatures and defeat a wicked queen (Tilda Swinton). Nicely done, for all ages. (ES) Rated PG
Syriana -- You were paying $3 at the pump so Exxon Mobil could rake in $100 billion just in the third quarter? Writer/director Stephen Gaghan won an Oscar in 2000 for Traffic, his expose of international drug-trade corruption; in Syriana, he goes after international oil-trade corruption. Think of it as Traffic meets the 1980 George C. Scott/Marlon Brando thriller, The Formula. George Clooney has ruined his life working for the Company; Matt Damon is an oil broker in cahoots with an Arab prince; Jeffrey Wright merges oil companies without regard to morality. Clooney put on 35 pounds to play his based-on-a-real-CIA-spook role. Kind of like a certain company's bloated profits. Rated R
Christmas in the Clouds -- One of only two films Robert Redford has ever allowed to be filmed on the Sundance Resort, Christmas in the Clouds is a comedy of mistaken identity and romance set (obviously) during the holiday season at a Native American-owned ski resort. Rated PG
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.