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By Inlander Staff

** A Man Apart -- Genuinely gritty R-rated action from the director of Set it Off stars Vin Diesel as the most unsympathetic of DEA agents. With Larenz Tate and a bunch of bullets. (RP) Rated: R

*** About Schmidt -- Jack Nicholson delivers a different-than-usual tour-de-force in this seriocomic road movie about a just-retired and just-widowed fellow who tries to make his aloof daughter see that she's marrying the wrong guy. (ES) Rated: R

*** Agent Cody Banks -- This MAD magazine-style take on the spy genre is intermittently goofball funny; the gags are sweetly earnest even when they're a little off the mark. Frankie Muniz and Hilary Duff are charming as the teen spies. (RP) Rated: PG

** Anger Management -- When it comes to the story, the script and the direction, just about everything is wrong with this movie. Even the basic premise, and its explanation at the end, don't make a lick of sense. Adam Sandler is a nice guy loser who is supposedly suppressing a bunch of rage. Jack Nicholson is his anger therapist, a doctor with a very strange approach to his work. Neither is believable. But the background characters -- cameos from Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly and especially John Turturro -- are hilarious. They almost make sitting through it worthwhile. (ES) Rated PG-13

**** Apollo 13 -- Ron Howard's 1995 study of bad luck in the space program gets a booster rocket-like push up into the world of big screen movies with this transfer to IMAX. Mechanical failures and emotional shortcomings during the 1970 flight to the moon and back are at the forefront of this adventure film; a solid, ensemble performance; directing scope that ranges from epic grandeur to subtle touches. The liftoff of the rocket -- all fake -- is amazing to behold. (ES) Rated PG

*** Basic -- An Army training session in a hurricane-swept Panama jungle goes terribly awry. People are dead, missing, refusing to talk, etc. Ex-Army Ranger John Travolta is called in to figure out what happened, but his new partnership with by-the-books lieutenant Connie Nielsen gets in the way. (ES) Rated R

Bend it Like Beckham -- More than anything, Jess (Parminder Nagra) wants to be a soccer superstar like her idol David Beckham. Her traditional Indian family wants her to lay off the soccer practice and take up her sari like a good future Indian bride. But Jess is growing up in London, her best friend loves soccer as much as she does and her new coach is a handsome lad (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Can Jess bend the rules and follow her dreams without upsetting her family? Rated: PG-13

*** Bringing Down the House -- This all starts out looking like a formulaic comedy about a square white guy (Steve Martin) and a hip black gal (Queen Latifah). But don't be fooled -- this film soon becomes a fresh and funny story that relies just as much on the background characters as on the two leads to get the laughs across. (ES) Rated PG-13

* Bulletproof Monk -- Any bad joke would be better than this awful movie. Chow Yun-Fat is the monk who's been protecting a powerful scroll for 60 years (the kind that Nazis come after to take over the world), and the one-dimensional Sean William Scott is the street thief -- the man who, of course, the Monk chooses to mentor and succeed him as protector of the scrolls, flying right along with fists and feet. Despite lots of action, the whole thing is a bore. (ES) Rated PG-13

*** Chicago -- Torn stockings and heavily mascaraed eyes abound in this tale of two music-hall vixens (Catherine Zeta-Jones and Ren & eacute;e Zellweger) vying for public attention in the Windy City. Richard Gere shows that he can sing (and tap dance) as the lawyer out to make a buck defending them from murder charges. (Marty Demarest) Rated: PG-13

Coral Reef Adventure -- Think of it as a way to explore all 1,300 miles of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, but without the danger of those pesky shark attacks. With a strong conservation message throughout, viewers get the sense of swimming along with some of the world's top self-described "fish nerds" as they navigate trenches and skirt the coral reefs of Fiji, Tahiti and Rangiroa (in French Polynesia) in search of new species. Not rated

** The Core -- The Earth is in trouble again, this time because its core has stopped spinning, resulting in firestorms, international landmarks toppling and pigeons flying amok. The solution is to jump-start it by tunneling down to its core and setting off explosions. (ES) Rated PG-13

* Head of State -- You'd think Chris Rock had never seen a movie, let alone a political satire. Rock blows just about every hope you'd have for him as he plays the first African-American to run for president. Nothing is plausible about the politics in the script, which makes the satire go flat. Underbudgeted, badly lit, and deeply unfunny, it almost seems like a conspiracy to derail his career. (RP) Rated: PG-13

*** Holes -- The popular kids novel by Louis Sachar gets Disneyized, but the story's hint of toughness is intact. A teenager is framed for a theft and sent to a reform school summer camp, where the evil warden (Sigourney Weaver) forces all the kids to dig deep holes throughout the desert. It seems that she's looking for something, and through a series of flashbacks, that something is eventually made clear. (ES) Rated PG

House of a Thousand Corpses -- Rural Texas is as good a place as any for this freaky, scary, homage to 1970s exploitation films. Written and directed by Rob Zombie, the narrative follows two couples searching for an elusive madman known only as "Dr. Satan." Rated: R

*** Malibu's Most Wanted -- Brad Gluckman's father (Ryan O'Neal) is running for governor of California. But he realizes that the antics of Brad (Jamie Kennedy), who wants only to live the black, hip-hop lifestyle, might be a liability to his campaign. So he hires black actors to kidnap him and "scare him white." This is an alternately hilarious and sweet and slightly edgy movie about the desire to be yourself. (ES) Rated PG-13

*** Old School -- A genuinely funny and sometimes sweet gross-out comedy, Old School is the unlikely tale of three overgrown juveniles who establish a frat house in order to make it with coeds. (RP) Rated: R

*** Phone Booth -- A morality play in just over eighty minutes from Joel Schumacher? Yes, indeed. Colin Farrell is Stu Shepard, a PR hustler in today's New York inching his way toward an affair with a young waitress (Katie Holmes). But someone's got his number: a "moral adjuster" (Kiefer Sutherland) who wreaks havoc on the life of people whose venality aggravate his sense of justice. (RP) Rated: R

**** The Pianist -- Adrien Brody gets his juiciest role to date as the real-life Wladyslaw Szpilman, the Polish concert pianist whose life was shattered, along with the rest of the Jewish population, during the Nazi invasion of his country. Roman Polanski's direction is sure and steady. (ES) Rated R

Piglet's Big Movie -- The perpetually insecure and smallest denizen of the Hundred Acre Wood takes off when his so-called friends have a "honey harvest" without him. Some five or six hours later, Pooh, Tigger, Rabbbit and the rest suddenly realize, "Hey, where did that lil' pink fella go?" Rated: G

The R.M. -- Every now and then Spokane seems to get these limited-release Mormon special interest films, and The R.M. fits that niche. Young Jared is a Mormon missionary whose one-year stint is up and he's about to return to "normal" life. Problem is, his girlfriend has found another, his slacker best friend wants to coast through life and even his loving-but-chaotic family has forgotten he was coming home (nice Sixteen Candles touch). A comedy for audiences "of any faith." Rated: PG

**** Spirited Away -- Spirited Away is the year's best film. When her parents are transformed into swine, Chihiro is trapped in a mystical bathhouse where the spirits of things like radishes and rivers come to cleanse themselves of their encounters with humans. In English. Rated: PG (Marty Demarest)

**** The Two Towers -- This magnificent sequel to last year's magnificent original welcomes back most of the same characters (including a new, improved Gandalf), and features many new ones, with the CGI creation of the hideous and chilling Gollum standing out. (ES) Rated PG-13

What a Girl Wants -- Amanda Bynes plays your typical American teenager who travels to London to see the father she's never known (Colin Firth). Of course he's descended from aristocracy and his long-lost daughter is as American as they come. Expect lots of trans-Atlantic culture clashin' silliness. Rated: PG

**** Don't Miss It *** Worth $7 ** 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 &

Follow these links for movie times and tickets at & lt;a href= " & amp;house_id=6584 & amp;.submit=Search " target= "_blank " & & lt;font size= "2 " & AMC & lt;/font & & lt;/a & and & lt;a href= " & amp;submit=Search%21 " target= "_blank " & & lt;font size= "2 " & Regal. & lt;/font & & lt;/a & & r &

Publication date: 04/24/03

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