Adrenaline Rush -- Adrenaline Rush follows two young skydivers, offering a look at both the physical sensations and the psychological challenges of risk-taking. At IMAX. Not rated.
Alien vs. Predator -- Hollywood has been trying to get these two badasses together for years, and the idea sounds fantastic. And since both the baddies rely on special effects more than acting to succeed onscreen, most of the film's work will have to be done by the director. In this case, that means Paul W. S. Anderson, who brought the world Event Horizon. Rated: PG-13
Anchorman -- Anchorman isn't so much a satire of TV news and 1970s sexism as it is an excuse for Will Ferrell to improvise for two hours in polyester. But director Adam McKay (Saturday Night Live) stages everything like a TV show, and the result is more like a series of sketches than a movie. (MD) Rated: PG-13
The Bourne Supremacy -- Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) still doesn't know who he is or where he's come from, but as he suggested at the end of The Bourne Identity, he and his lover Marie (Franka Potente) just want to be left alone. Of course, they're not, and there will be hell to pay. Damon is definitely up to action star status, Joan Allen is terrific as a determined CIA agent on the hunt. (ES) Rated PG-13
Catwoman -- Catwoman fearlessly adds to the tradition of shrieking, scratching female rivalries in film. Berry amps up the diva-power as the bipolar Catwoman; her Halle-Cat is a confident physical performance. Just as good is Sharon Stone, as her Botox-frozen ice queen nemesis. What Catwoman does best is have fun. We don't need another comic book movie. We need something like this -- a chick ninja flick that cuts past the kicking and jumping and gets right to the posing. (MD) Rated: PG-13
A Cinderella Story -- This war-horse fairytale gets dragged out one time too many so Hillary Duff (Lizzie McGuire) can pout around as a San Fernando Valley high school student, persecuted by her cruel step-mom Fiona (Jennifer Coolidge of American Pie) and jealous step-sisters, while she prances closer to the romantic flame of jock king Austin (Chad Michael Murphy). (Cole Smithey) Rated: PG
Chronicles of Riddick -- Pitch Black was a great science-fiction film: It was dark, funny, occasionally creepy and came out of nowhere. But now, one of the film's stars -- Vin Deisel -- is a genuine celebrity. Riddick catches up with his character five years after the first film, and puts the ex-convict in the middle of an intergalactic battle that will determine the fate of all beings, living and dead. Rated: PG-13
Collateral -- After a couple of historical entries (Ali, The Insider), Michael Mann defines the mean streets of L.A. once more with stripped-down, street-savvy results. The acting's solid, and the digital video landscapes are gorgeously dreamlike. With Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo and Javier Bardem. (RP) Rated: R
The Day After Tomorrow -- Roland Emmerich's newest film is his best, despite the fact that the premise of a father (Dennis Quaid) trying to rescue his son (Jake Gyllenhaal) is more preposterous than the effects. You get to see the mother of all global-warming generated storms. (ES) Rated: PG-13
Fahrenheit 9/11 -- Michael Moore's powerful, wrenching, drenching, heartfelt, ultimately patriotic polemic is a rapid-fire assemblage of what he finds awry in our nation's government over the past four years. It may be the electoral season's most controversial Rohrschach test. It's not a campaign commercial, but a hushed, mocking voice of outrage. (RP) Rated: R
Garfield -- The genius of the Garfield comic strip is in its brevity: It accomplishes nothing in just a few drawings. The movie adaptation does almost the same thing, but it requires an hour-and-a-half, a computer-generated cat and the voice of Bill Murray. (MD) Rated: PG
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle -- John Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg's politically incorrect, homosexual-panic-embracing screenplay is an equal opportunity offender in its pursuit of twentysomething comic touchstones, Sliders, and the perfect rabid raccoon joke. John Cho plays a Korean-American investment banker, and Kal Penn his roommate, an Indian-American slacker. One smoked-out night gets longer and longer as they prowl the wilds of the Garden State for the one perfect food. (RP) Rated: R
Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban -- The kids are all back at Hogwarts, but so is the presence of wizard Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) who is said to be gunning for Harry. The darkest of the three films to date, the story has Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and pals getting mixed up with teachers who may be good or bad -- or both. (ES) Rated PG
The Human Body -- It's the human body, like you've never seen it! Consider what it means to see the inner workings of the lungs via endoscope and then picture that five stories up on the IMAX screen. The Human Body also features "the fusing of a father and mother's DNA inside a newly fertilized human egg." Not rated.
I, Robot -- For once the special effects are done right: computer-generated robots instead of computer-generatedcreatures. And could it be that Will Smith is growing as an actor? Possibly, but it's hard to tell in this well-polished but noisy thriller. (MD) Rated: PG-13
IMAX Nascar -- Kiefer Sutherland is your personal pit boss on this up-close look at life behind the wheel. With in-car footage reaching 180 miles an hour, a 12,000-watt sound system and five stories of heart-stopping action. Not Rated.
Lewis & amp; Clark -- The IMAX folks have packed a lot into this vivid account of the two adventurers' travels across the American wilderness. (ES) Unrated
Little Black Book -- Quirky, verbal romantic comedy with a lot on its mind about trust in relationships, especially trust in one's own instincts. Brittany Murphy's bubbly as a small-time talk show assistant, but the dark beating heart is a fierce, non-careerist Holly Hunter, embodied as only she could do it. With Ron Livingston and Kathy Bates.(RP) Rated: PG-13
The Manchurian Candidate -- Like the original from four decades ago, this looks at war (Korean then, Desert Storm now), a returning war hero with political aspirations, bad dreams, a governmental conspiracy, a problematic relationship between a weak man and his strong mother, and a great deal of paranoia. And it's well played by Denzel Washington (nervously), Liev Schrieber (creepily) and Meryl Streep. (ES) Rated R
Napoleon Dynamite -- One person's geek is another's superhero. Such is the appeal of indie effort Napoleon Dynamite, starring John Heder as the titular hero, who lives with his grandmother and brother in rural Idaho. Rated: PG-13
The Notebook -- Get out the Kleenex, but be prepared to smile, too. Gentle James Garner spends his days reading a love story to Alzheimer's patient Gena Rowlands, and that 1940s story is played out with Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as the young lovers. (ES) Rated: PG-13
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement -- Five years after the events of The Princess Diaries, perky Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway), heiress of the Rinaldi family, is caught up in an intrigue for the throne of Genovia, Unfortunately, 70-year-old director Garry Marshall litters what's ostensibly a girl-empowerment spin on fairy tale dreams with way too many in-jokes and appearances by his doddering old cronies. (RP) Rated: G
Rocky Horror Picture Show -- The Rocky Horror Picture Show continues to prove that audiences really do have a sense of humor. This campy, deliberately raw rock musical horror comedy has been nurturing a cult audience since 1975. Starring a thinner Tim Curry (as a transvestite alien) and a young Susan Sarandon (as a budding nympho), the groaningly bad dialogue, ridiculous songs and B-movie enthusiasm can inexplicably come together with a live audience to make everyone happy. (MD) Midnight Friday and Saturday at the Garland. Rated: R
Shrek 2 -- The story picks up right where the first one left off, with a little extra twist: Prince Charming arrives to rescue Princess Fiona, but it's too late; she's on her honeymoon with Shrek. And Charming's mom -- the Fairy Godmother -- is not happy. A visit by Fiona and Shrek to her parents' kingdom leads to marital strife, as well as new characters. This may not be as fresh as the original, but it's just as hip and funny, and the advances in computer technology are mind-blowing. (ES) Rated PG
Spider-Man 2 -- Just as X2 outdid everything in X-Men, so too does this sequel outshine its predecessor. Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is beset with problems -- no money, no personal life, many emotional demons and the fact that Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) has another fella. Enter Doc Ock, a well-meaning scientist who has gone wacko after an accident, and has become Spidey's new nemesis. (ES) Rated PG-13
The Stepford Wives -- The Stepford Wives is lumbering even at 90 minutes. While an attempt to satirize consumerism lingers in the script, it's too scattershot to be more than just plain boring. With a surprisingly colorless Nicole Kidman and Christopher Walken. (RP) Rated: PG-13
The Terminal -- A quick visit to New York turns into a long-term ordeal for non-English-speaking Viktor (Tom Hanks), who has his passport taken when his country is overthrown in a coup. A warm, funny film that looks at many sides of the human condition. (ES) Rated PG-13
Thunderbirds -- The old TV show from the '60s featured marionettes who flew around in clunky machines, rescuing people. But they wouldn't be able to save this pile of hooey. The whole ordeal is more wooden than the original puppets. (ES) Rated PG
Van Helsing -- Hugh Jackman plays a hunter of monsters. He meets up with fearless vampire killer Anna (Kate Beckinsale) and the two of them take on Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh). There's much overkill in repetitive sight and blaring sound, but the relentless action and eye for detail is stunning. (ES) Rated PG-13
The Village -- Even if my expectations weren't low, I think I would have been happily shocked by the rude alchemy of M. Night Shyamalan's latest puzzle-box. I was pleased with how the strands of the story resolved neatly -- though not without great resonance about the dangers of fear and isolationism. (RP) Rated: PG-13
Yu Gi Oh -- Another cartoon based on an impenetrable Japanese trading card game. This one features an ancient Egyptian force -- Anubis -- awakening to seek revenge. Rated: PG n
Capsule reviews are written by Ed Symkus (ES), Ray Pride (RP) and Marty Demarest (MD) unless otherwise noted.
Publication date: 08/19/04