Opening Films

by Inlander Staff & r & & r & BECOMING JANE

Back in the 1790s in England, before Jane Austen was a published author, she was a 20-year-old woman who dallied romantically with dashing Irishman Tom Lefroy. Many have suggested that their relationship became the model for the romances depicted in her fiction. Here, American actress Anne Hathaway (last seen as Meryl Streep's hapless assistant in The Devil Wears Prada) plays Jane to James McAvoy's Lefroy in a Pride and Prejudice-style treatment of the author's own life. (AC) Rated PG


First there was Daddy Day Care, in which Eddie Murphy and Jeff Garlin started a daycare center. The film made so much money, another was ordered. Garlin was thrilled; Murphy was not and he dropped out. So the script was scrapped and Garlin was gone, too. Now we've got Cuba Gooding Jr. in the Murphy part, and Paul Rae (who?) in the Garlin part. The title says it all, except for this: This marks the feature directorial debut of Fred Savage (The Wonder Years; he's 30 now). (ES) Rated PG


Sometime in the (seemingly near) future, therapists have a device that allows them to enter patients' dreams. When it's stolen, though, there's trouble -- the kind of trouble that can only be fixed by entering people's dreams. Since young psychologist Chiba Atsuko is the only person who can dream-hop without the stolen machine, she gets the job. Satoshi Kon directs this Japanimated tale of trippery. (LB) Rated R


Another sequel. Too bad there was nothing very funny amid the action of the first two to merit this action "comedy." Jackie Chan's Inspector Lee is having a bad time of protecting a Chinese ambassador when recently demoted detective Chris Tucker -- now a traffic cop -- tries to get back with his partner to help out. He, of course, gets in the way. The film features such antics as the two heroes trying to fight off an eight-foot Chinese bad guy. Like I said, nothing very funny. With guest appearances by Max von Sydow and Roman Polanski, slumming. (ES) Rated PG-13


Skinwalkers wins the contest for creepiest horror title of the summer, though it's not immediately obvious that this is a werewolf film. The skinwalkers (taking their name from Navajo demons) of the title are shape-shifters who eat human flesh, lending a suitably gruesome supporting cast to a film in which two warring groups fight over a prophetic 13-year-old boy. Director James Isaac is a veteran of working with creepmaster David Cronenberg, but his last attempt at proving his own chops was the unwatchable Friday the 13th sequel Jason X. (MD) Rated R


A magical, comedy-laced fantasy about some people in long-ago England searching for a star that has fallen to Earth and taken human form (Claire Danes). If one of the rotten sons of a dying king finds it, he'll be the heir. If an evil old witch (Michelle Pfeiffer) gets it, she'll stay young and make life miserable for all. If a wide-eyed and innocent lad (Charlie Cox) retrieves it, he'll win the hand of the woman he thinks is his true love. Fabulous special effects, a terrific story and some scenery chewing by Robert De Niro. (ES) Rated PG-13


The sun ain't working, and it's up to a team of scientists in a ridiculous-looking ship to restart it with a massive bomb. Although following the same rough plotline (though a different celestial body) as a certain bloated Hollywood blockbuster, Sunshine seems more philosophical and terrifying than action-packed. More Solaris and Event Horizon than The Core. (LB) Rated R


Like so many things, radio exploded in the 1960s, with sounds and voices unlike anything before. In this biopic, brash con Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene (Don Cheadle) is released from prison and talks his way onto the air in Washington, D.C., becoming a shock jock long before the term existed. His fearless style irritates his station owner (Martin Sheen) and program director (Chiwetel Ejiofor) but electrifies listeners and gives them a singular presence during the chaos of 1968. (AC) Rated R