By The Inlander & r & & r & AMAZING GRACE

The song that would eventually come to be known as "Amazing Grace" arose out of the abolitionist movement. England's abolitionist movement. They did it first. The film chronicles the life of William Wilberforce, a British MP who spent his career fighting to end the British slave trade. (LB) Rated PG


He's a rancher named Charlie Farmer. As played in low-key manner by Billy Bob Thornton, he's also a dreamer -- a wannabe astronaut who's building his own rocket. He's shooting for at least one orbit, if not the moon. Everything about the film is implausible, but it's also a warm and inspirational. (ES) Rated PG


When perpetually single mom Daphne (Diane Keaton) makes it her mission in life to find Mr. Right for her somewhat flighty youngest daughter, Milly (Mandy Moore), there is no pleasure to be found, only guilt. The loose plot is more of a frame on which to hang the series of sappy scenes and offensive mother-daughter sexual banter. (Toddy Burton) Rated PG-13


The story of a cuckolded bluesman (Samuel L. Jackson) and the white southern tramp (Christina Ricci) he seeks to cure of her sexually reactive behavior, Black Snake Moan is a strangely heart-rending pastiche that mixes elements of noir, blaxploitation and psychosexual realism (though just a bit, just at the end) to bring out the tragedy and humanity behind our cultural stereotypes. It's an unsettling film, but a rewarding one. (LB) Rated R


Chris Cooper is an FBI veteran who may be a traitor; Ryan Phillippe is an up-and-coming agent who's assigned to watch him. The mystery is whether or not the guy is guilty, and there's plenty of tension leading up to the answer. But in an idiotic move, the filmmakers give it all away in the opening frames. A good idea is to cover your ears and blink your eyes at the beginning, until the TV image of Attorney General John Ashcroft is gone. Only then does the gripping film-long flashback begin. (ES) Rated PG-13


The Narnia producers, the special-effects wizards from King Kong and Lord of the Rings, Disney backing -- clearly, Bridge to Terabithia has the right pedigree to become a kids' hit. AnnaSophia Robb (Because of Winn-Dixie) acts more like a boy so that Josh Hutcherson (RV) will act more like a girl (you know, use his imagination and draw things and stuff). Together, they imagine a mythical world -- and get to rule over it. (MB) Rated PG


Real-life footage of bugs (mainly a praying mantis and a caterpillar) tells the story of their life in the rain forest. The IMAX screen closes in on the insects with a childlike intensity, but the directors have spiced things up with occasional effects -- such as Mantis Vision. Judi Dench, the film's narrator, brings a Shakespearean relish to discussions of what it feels like to eat your opponent's head. (MD) Imax, Not Rated


Comic book adaptations get some leeway when it comes to camp, but this remake of the semi-popular Marvel series overdoes it, with a feeble storyline, laughable dialogue and eye-rolling performances from otherwise-greats Nic Cage, Peter Fonda and Sam Elliott. The consolation? Eva Mendes' ample (and omnipresent) cleavage. (JS) Rated PG-13


This well-written and gorgeously rendered story of a penguin who is ostracized because he can't sing is an alternately daffy and affecting tale of the struggle for individual identity. Mumble (Elijah Wood), who can't sing but can tap dance, must fight superstition. (LB) Rated PG


Big Forest Whitaker steals this fictional film with his portrayal of the monstrous real-life Ugandan dictator General Idi Amin. But James McAvoy (the faun in Chronicles of Narnia) holds his own as a na & iuml;ve young Scottish doctor who settles in the African country to help villagers and then becomes, against his will, Amin's personal physician. The ending is flawed, but just about everything leading up to it is spellbinding. (ES) Rated R


Hugh Grant is an '80s has-been pop singer. Drew Barrymore is just the girl who waters his plants -- but she can write the lyrics he wants for his big comeback. (The realism inspires, doesn't it?) He needs her, she dotes on him, they get all cutesy-wuvvy, cue the music. (Which, unfortunately, requires them to sing.) In typically crass marketing for V-Day, heartless flacks are fobbing off a chick-flick trick upon us. As for the quality of the Grant-Barrymore love duets: He's Milli, she's Vanilli. (MB) Rated PG-13


Putting Ben Stiller in a situation that's going to get out of control has been standard comedy formula for five years now. Night at the Museum brings nothing more to the mix than a special effects-driven set piece. (MD) Rated PG


In Norbit, creators Eddie and Charlie Murphy (he of Dave Chappelle's Show) have given us a 102-minute minstrel show in which Eddie Murphy plays the Woody Allen-like title role and Norbit's overweight and overbearing wife and the Chinese racist who adopts baby Norbit. None of it is funny. (LB) Rated PG-13


Jim Carrey gets freaked out by the number 23, but we never really understand why. Then he gets obsessed with it, but we never really understand his motivation. Finally, he starts having homicidal feelings, brought on entirely by the fact that the number 23 is popping up in strange places in his life. By that time, though, the entire audience has checked out. The Number 23 is less than zero. (LB) Rated R


As fairy tales for adults go, this one's a keeper. Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy) takes us to post-Civil War Spain and shows us that world through the eyes of a young girl. But she's having a rough time with real life and desperately wants to believe in fairies. The film is stocked with figurative as well as real monsters (the girl's brutal stepfather, creatures in the woods) and has a fascinating take on life, death, and rebirth. Not at all for young kids. (ES) Rated R


The story of how Queen Elizabeth II dealt with the death of Princess Di, The Queen lives and breathes on the power of Helen Mirren's performance. The Queen centers on whether the queen's actions were the result of precedent, propriety or simply pride. (MD) Rated PG-13


In moving the department to Miami, this adaptation of the Comedy Central mock-Cops misses the show's funniest aspect (Reno) and overdoes its weakest stuff (sex jokes, Dangle's "plum smugglers"). Off timing and pointless subplots make this a mess of a movie. An occasionally funny mess, but a mess nonetheless. (JS) Rated R


OK, you try designing a spaceship that will travel 100 million miles and then deposit a half-ton of sensitive scientific instruments on the surface of another planet. I mean, a century ago, H.G. Wells had us believing that the Martians had it in for us, and now you can just stroll into an IMAX theater and see what it looks like to walk on Mars. Amazing. (MB) Rated G


The character Long Duk Dong makes his immortal appearance along with Molly Ringwald in possibly her cutest phase. Director John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off) captures -- as well as he did in those movies, and better than he ever would after Home Alone -- the narrow American suburban teenage life that exists outside school between friends, lovers, parents and parties. Midnight Friday and Saturday at the Garland. (MD) Rated PG


Four middle-aged friends, sick of their jobs, bored with their lives and generally having nothing to look forward to, take a cross-country motorcycle trip. Four essentially backboneless suburbanite dudes frequenting biker bars? You can be sure there'll be a little love and a whole lot uh learnin' about themselves and others. Taking Pops to this film, as painful as it may be, is cheaper than actually buying him a Harley. (LB) Rated PG-13


David Fincher's riveting but overlong telling of the West Coast Zodiac murders of the 1960s and '70s focuses much more on the people looking into the killings -- cops Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards, and newspaper guys Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal -- than on the killings, showing how interest can turn into obsession. The murders are disturbing, too. Great use of music to capture the times, a solid dynamic between Downey and Gyllenhaal, but removing a half hour would make it a better film. (ES) Rated R

Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 11
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