by THE INLANDER & r & & r & AN AMERICAN CAROL & r & & r & By the guy who created Airplane and the Naked Gun series comes a mishmash satire that asks the question: What if a Michael Moore-type documentarian were visited -- in Christmas Carol fashion -- by the ghosts of George Washington, George S. Patton and ... by the look of it, Trace Adkins. Bill O'Reilly has a cameo. Kelsey Grammar plays Patton. (LB) Rated PG-13


The Robert B. Parker book that celebrates loyalty and friendship -- and dangerous good guys versus despicable bad guys -- in the Old West was directed by and stars Ed Harris as a lawman for hire who comes to the town of Appaloosa with his trusty deputy (Viggo Mortensen) to deal with the nasty yet classy villain (Jeremy Irons) who believes he owns everyone and everything there. There's also a love interest (Ren & eacute;e Zellweger), but the guys are more interesting. (ES) Rated R


Not much more to be gleaned from the trailer than cute, computer-enhanced lap dogs singing truly horrible songs. So, we're saying it's too soon to tell if this film will be another way marker on the road to the apocalypse, but we'd wager a guarded "Yes." (LB) Rated G


The Jose Saramago novel about a worldwide virus that takes human sight is adapted into a frightening film that becomes a study of society gone mad. It focuses on a small group of sightless people (and one who can see) who are stuck together in government-enforced quarantine. They form a sort of family that must fend off other power-mad blind people who opt for anarchy. The film is engrossing, terrifying and, in the end, a celebration of good. (ES) Rated R


A senior CIA strategist (Russell Crowe) and a Middle East operative (Leonardo Dicaprio) are hunting down an Osama Bin Laden wannabe, and it's all good, from the perspective of entertainment: The film is clever and subtle and demands that you pay attention, and rewards you. But there are some scary think-bombs here about how terror is theater, a kind of performance on the world stage that both sides are playing on. (MJ) Rated R


I've figured out how Joel and Ethan Coen do it -- they don't think about tone or genre: They just think about a character. A brilliant but heartless killer like Anton Chigurh is naturally going to take them in one direction, and so we get No Country for Old Men. And a bubble-headed knuckleknob like Chad Feldheimer is naturally going to take them in another direction, and so we get Burn After Reading. (MJ) Rated R


Children's fantasy centering on a colony of survivors buried in a city deep below the earth. The city that has kept them alive and safe from the harsh outside world is beginning to die, and now it's up to a ragtag group of kids to solve the riddle to escape Ember. Bill Murray and Tim Robbins play the grownups. (LB) Rated PG


Seldom do follow-ups ring so true to the original, then do them one better. Director Christopher Nolan revisits what he did with Batman Begins and improves everything. Christian Bale is gloomier, both as Bruce Wayne and as the Caped Crusader, while Heath Ledger's intense, frightening and funny Joker might make the world forget that Nicholson ever played him. (ES) Rated PG-13


Georgiana Spencer, the 18th-century Duchess of Devonshire (Keira Knightley), was a hard-drinking, politically outspoken, pop hero and fashion plate of her day. But there was trouble in the bedroom, as her husband (Ralph Fiennes), who wanted her around only to produce an heir, had a live-in mistress. An intriguing premise, but the lush-looking film is underwritten and overacted, and not one of these sad, wealthy, woe-begotten people is worth giving a hoot about. (ES) Rated PG-13


Using cell phones and GPS and whatever, some mean old lady is tracking Shia LeBeouf and Michelle Monaghan's every move! It's so creepy! And they're, like, being framed as terrorists, so now the entire country is chasing after them! They're trying so hard to be like Hitchcock and, you know, win Oscars! Which they won't. (MB) Rated PG-13


The based-on-fact story of Ernie Davis, the talented halfback who played magnificent football for Syracuse but never made it to a professional career. It's also a study of racism in America in the '40s, '50s, and '60s, and how it affected student sports. Great performances by Rob Brown as Davis and Dennis Quaid as Syracuse coach Ben Schwartzwalder. Also: terrific action, great '50s music, and a positive message. (ES) Rated PG


Working as a firefighter for the city, Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron) is known across town as a hero. Although he regularly rescues people from burning buildings, his marriage is going down the drain. Cameron's character is about to give up and leave his wife when his father sends him on a "Love Dare." So he sets out to stay in his marriage another 40 days. (TLM) Rated PG


Not the sexiest premise in the world -- an engineer invents the intermittent windshield wiper, has it stolen by a massive car company and spends decades fighting litigation in court -- but Flash of Genius has Greg Kinnear looking as resolutely frazzled as ever. This could be a quietly moving bit of film. (LB) Rated PG-13


Simon Pegg is a British intellectual who takes a job at a conservative society magazine stateside and is forced to, you know, re-evaluate his distaste for stardom and find what's really important. Pegg's in it, so count on a lot of slapstick. He didn't write or direct it though, so don't count on it being terribly funny either. (LB) Rated R


This is a horror movie for grown-ups: no mad slashers, no psychopath playing torture games. Just the plausible pettiness of human nastiness slowly building to a tragedy of suburban proportions. Chris and Lisa Mattson (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington) are moving into their dream house -- too bad the neighbor (Samuel L. Jackson) is a nightmare. The extraordinary cast and playwright-turned-director Neil LaBute create a slow-burn atmosphere that you dread cannot end well. It doesn't. (MJ) Rated PG-13


Jason Biggs rushes things with Kate Hudson -- tells her he loves her and, when that scares her, asks if they can move in together, then she dumps him. So he asks his BFF Dane Cook, who happens to get paid to be a jerk to women so they'll go back to their boyfriends, to be a jerk. Trouble is, Dane and Kate soon find themselves falling in a crazy little thing called love. (LB) Rated PG-13


It's Ferris Bueller's Night Out, though sweeter and less snarky. Sensitive musician Nick (Michael Cera) has been dumped by bitchy Tris (Alexis Dziena), but hey: no previous cohort of teenaged boys would have been given the chance to get dumped by her in the first place. And then he meets Norah (Kat Dennings). This is a Romeo + Juliet for the iPod generation, when labels and cliques have disappeared and we all have only ourselves to blame for our stumbling blocks. (MJ) Rated PG-13


Diane Lane is at odds with her husband, so she agrees to escape by spending a weekend house-sitting a friend's inn on the coast of North Carolina. And wouldn't you know it? In walks ... Richard Gere. (Ladies, you should be so lucky.) He's tormented, of course, by personal problems of his own. Is that romance we can smell in the salty sea air? (MB) Rated PG-13


An apartment building is quarantined. When a hazmat team is sent in two days later, the residents are nowhere to be found. Quarantine tells the story of the interim, where a reporter and some firemen get slowly picked apart by those absentee residents... who happen to have turned into zombies. (LB) Rated R


Documentary wherein Bill Maher goes around telling adherents to basically every faith on earth that they're morons for believing in God. (LB) Rated R

Get Lit! 2021

April 12-18
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