by Inlander Staff

The Aviator -- Scorsese, DiCaprio, Hughes -- as in Howard -- are director, star and subject of this splendid look at three busy decades in the life of the industrialist, filmmaker and airplane nut. The script gives plenty of leeway for DiCaprio to show his acting chops. (ES) Rated PG-13

Are We There Yet? -- Ice Cube plays a would-be Romeo whose would-be girlfriend (Nia Long) is stuck working up in Vancouver, British Columbia. Hoping to impress Nia, Ice Cube offers to drive her kids from Portland to B.C. -- and as most of us Northwesterners already know, I-5 is no place to be with a carload of rowdy kids. Rated: PG

Beauty Shop -- Queen Latifah and her sassy crew aren't beyond working a few hair-related and/or interpersonal miracles in this Barber Shop spinoff. The Queen reprises her role as the sassy, booty-proud Gina, who opens her own salon as an "in yo face, sucka" to ex-boss Jorge (Kevin Bacon, looking like the love child of Kurt Cobain and David Spade). Rated: PG-13

Be Cool -- The follow-up to Get Shorty is a big let-down, in that it introduces lots of promising stories -- all within the main plot of Chili Palmer (John Travolta) discovering a new performer -- but the script never bothers to develop any of them. (ES) Rated PG-13

Donnie Darko -- Donnie Darko lies in a suburban cul-de-sac not far from the intersection of John Hughes and David Lynch streets. Set in 1988, the film opens with Maggie Gyllenhaal announcing "I'm voting for Dukakis." Things only get stranger from there. Troubled, possibly schizophrenic Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) starts seeing a giant demonic rabbit named Frank -- who tells him, among other things, that the world will end in 28 days. Disturbing, funny, lovely and bleak all at once, Richard Kelly's directorial debut is an astonishing cult favorite that will leave you feeling vaguely, rewardingly haunted. (Sheri Boggs) Rated: R Showing at the Garland at midnight on Friday and Saturday night.

Guess Who -- Big Bernie Mac is the future father-in-law, Ashton Kutcher is the future son-in-law who find many different ways to butt heads in this racially charged, yet fresh and funny updating of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. When Theresa (Zoe Saldana) brings this skinny white boy home, all kinds of comic possibilities come to light. (ES) Rated PG-13

Hitch -- Breezy romantic comedy gets a big boost here with Will Smith as the title character, a "date coach" for unsure men, and Kevin James as one of those men, who is shooting for the sky with a beautiful heiress (Amber Valletta). But the coach isn't having much luck with the ladies either. (ES) Rated PG-13

Horrors of Spider Island -- This 1960 German atrocity follows the misadventures of a troupe of gorgeous dancing girls on their way to Singapore whose plane drops out of the sky en route and lands on a deserted tropical island (sound familiar?). After a few days of skinny dipping and writhing around in skimpy, tattered outfits the girls are confronted by their manager who has been bitten by one of the island's eight-legged inhabitants -- and turned into a furry, three-fanged, goofy sort of spider-thing with a penchant for mayhem. Rated: R

Hostage -- Bruce Willis plays a former LAPD hostage negotiator who has taken a job as the police chief of a sleepy town. But now wouldn't you know it, a botched convenience store robbery forces him to rely on his old skills. Rated R

Hotel Rwanda -- This powerful and shocking film, recounting the horrific civil unrest in Rwanda a decade ago, has echoes of current events (in Sudan) that cannot be ignored. Don Cheadle, as the real life hotelier who saved literally thousands, carries the film on his slim shoulders with ease and turns in the finest performance of his career. (Marc Savlov) Rated: PG-13

Ice Princess -- A high school senior science geek (Michelle Trachtenberg) discovers the sport of ice skating while doing a project on the aerodynamics of competitive skaters. It's a Disney film, but it doesn't have any of the usual formulaic plot turns. (ES) Rated G

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events -- Imaginary author Lemony Snicket's tale of three orphans pitted against their evil relative, Count Olaf, resonates with real peril. While the plot does sometimes get lost in slow pacing and Jim Carrey will overact, the three children playing the young Baudelaires inhabit their parts with charm. (Sheri Boggs) Rated: PG. Free showing at the Garland.

Lewis & amp; Clark -- The IMAX folks have packed a lot into this vivid account of the two adventurers' travels across the American wilderness. Narrator Jeff Bridges does pretty much all the speaking, while actors play out the scenes. And those scenes are played out in breathtakingly beautiful settings. Unrated

Meet the Fockers -- In Meet the Parents, Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) asks, "What sort of people name their son Gay M. Focker?" In this sequel, he finds out. In fact, the kind of people are Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand, and the Byrnes are off to meet the Fockers before their daughter marries Gay forever. Rated: PG-13

Million Dollar Baby -- Clint Eastwood plays the crusty old boxing trainer, Hilary Swank is his enthusiastic young charge and Morgan Freeman is the wise observer. Swank's spunky Maggie must convince Eastwood's Frankie to become her teacher. She's really good, with great desire to match her moves. (ES) Rated PG-13

Miss Congeniality 2 -- Miss Congeniality 2 does the same exact thing as its predecessor: It transforms Gracie (Sandra Bullock) into a lip-gloss-wearing swan, has her parade through the movie doing sketch comedy in Prada and Chanel, solving crime by outsmarting her bosses and then saving the girl (the same girl as in the first movie). This tired sequel tries hard to be a chick flick about girl power, but it fails miserably. (Cara Gardner) Rated: PG-13

Mystery of the Nile -- The cinematography is gorgeous, but this isn't one of IMAX's best efforts. Pasquale Scaturro and Gordon Brown are to be commended for successfully completing a previously impossible feat -- running the entire Nile River -- but the whole thing starts to feel like an episode of Survivor. Still, it's pretty to watch and carries a few IMAX moments. Not Rated

National Treasure -- An absurdly plotted story has a treasure hunter (Nicolas Cage) believing that he's finally closing in on some long-lost glittery spoils from thousands of years past. The only problem now is that the supposed final clue is on the back of the very well protected Declaration of Independence. (ES) Rated PG

The Pacifier -- Vin Diesel plays a Navy SEAL who fails to protect a scientist and now must take care of the scientist's five kids. Watch him change diapers, trip over toys in the driveway, rebuff sullen teens and commandeer the Romanian nanny (Carol Kane)! It's James Bond meets Cheaper by the Dozen! Rated: PG

Pooh's Heffalump Movie -- Originally slated to be straight-to-video, Pooh's Heffalump Movie pulls a big bait-and-switch: Disney advertises the menacing mastodons of Pooh's golden era, but the film delivers just another cutesy character. The film eventually offers up a sufficiently value-forming message, but it's hard not to feel as if Disney is simply cashing in on one of its few remaining franchises. RATED: G (Ted McGregor)

Racing Stripes -- Every animal of the Kentucky farm can chat with each other, including a visiting pelican named Goose, and they're all smarter than the people around them. But the plot of this live-action film hinges on a young zebra (voice of Frankie Muniz) who thinks he's a racehorse. (ES) Rated PG

The Ring 2 -- The Ring 2 follows Rachel (Naomi Watts) and her son, Aidan (David Dorfman), who have recently moved to Oregon in an attempt to leave their nightmarish past behind. But before they get too far, that little black-haired brat, Samara, is back. This time, she wants a new Mommy. (Leah Sottile) Rated: PG-13

Robots -- The makers of Ice Age return with a computer-animated fable about a na & iuml;ve young robot (the good guy) heading for the big city to make it as an inventor, but clashing with a money-hungry industrialist (the bad guy). The story is clich & eacute;-ridden, the general sound is headache-inducing and the script desperately wants to be hip. (ES) Rated PG

Sin City -- The coolest movie of the year is also the most visionary and the most violent. There's also loads of wild action, a stunningly stylized look, and a perfect adaptation of Frank Miller's twisted graphic novel into an insane film. There are three intertwining stories about the denizens of the title locale, with Bruce Willis as a retiring cop, Benicio Del Toro and Clive Owen as bitter, dangerous enemies, a whole gaggle of very tough hookers (Rosario Dawson, Devon Aoki, and more). Don't overlook Mickey Rourke in a career-high role as the big bruiser Marv. (ES) Rated R

The Upside of Anger -- The Upside of Anger is a gratifyingly bittersweet and bracingly dark comedy-drama. It's a stellar showcase for Joan Allen, the fierce, funny, shamelessly transfixing center of this haphazardly constructed yet rich drama of abandonment, denial, bargaining and acceptance. Kevin Costner is goofy/great as her drunk/buzzed neighbor; the sexy, crackling slow burn of their courtship is marvelous fun. With Keri Russell, Erika Christensen, Evan Rachel Wood. (RP) Rated: R

White Noise -- The spirits who communicated through hissing TV screens in Poltergeist were a lot more convincing. Then again, nothing is of even the slightest interest in this boring ghost movie. Michael Keaton plays the bereaved husband of a woman who now supposedly talks to him via videotapes. Unfortunately, all Keaton does in the film is watch those tapes, endlessly, as must we. (ES) Rated PG-13

Publication date: 04/07/04

American Original: The Life and Work of John James Audubon @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 19
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