Opening Films

by Inlander Staff

Batman Begins -- Visionary director Christopher Nolan (Memento) instills a heightened reality to this telling of the Batman tale -- going back to the boyhood horrors that marred Bruce Wayne, taking in the young adult physical training that shaped him and extending to his attempt to save Gotham City and its inhabitants from villainous ruin. Christian Bale is perfect as Bruce Wayne/Batman, as are Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman as a good cop and Cillian Murphy as the demented Scarecrow. Probably too scary for very young kids, but tremendously exciting movie-making for everyone else. (ES) Rated: PG-13

The Perfect Man -- Dude. This is, like, retribution for all of you mid-30s Heather Locklear haters out there. For once, Locklear plays the desperately single mom of Hilary Duff -- and not only is she desperate, but she bakes cakes for a living. (Not sexy.) Duff tries her darnedest to hook her mom up with Chris Noth (Mr. Big of Sex and the City), but learns some real lessons about love. We give Duff a decade or so, and she'll be playing that frumpy, cake-bakin' mom. And Locklear will be, like, ancient. Rated: PG

Howl's Moving Castle -- Another animated feast for the eyes from Japanese writer/director Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away). Here, 18-year-old Zofi, cursed by a witch into an old woman's body, sojourns through a fantasy world and meets a magician named Hauru who inhabits the strange Moving Castle. To break the curse, Zofi must make a deal with a demon named Calcifer (voice of Billy Crystal in the English-language version) who is bound to Hauru. Technically dazzling animation with a story that doesn't skimp on real drama, character depth or relevant social commentary. Rated: PG