Drumline -- A young hip-hop drummer from Harlem gets the chance to attend an Atlanta university on a marching band scholarship. He quickly becomes a star -- if you can indeed become a "star" in marching band -- but his success is marred by the jealousy of a senior who finds out he fudged his records and threatens to turn him in to the well-liked band director (Orlando Jones). Directed by Charles Stone III, famous for directing all those "Whassup!" commercials. (No kidding.) Rated: PG-13
The Hot Chick -- Do we really need another Rob Schneider movie? Apparently the people in Hollywood who make these decisions have decided that we do, and thus, we have The Hot Chick. A popular-but-bitchy high school student wakes up one morning to discover that she's been turned into a 30-year-old man (Schneider). You can bet that in addition to all sorts of slumber party and locker room hijinks, our heroine/hero learns a thing or two about "being beautiful on the inside." Rated: PG-13
The Two Towers -- This magnificent sequel to last year's magnificent original welcomes back most of the same characters (including a new, improved version of Gandalf), and features many new ones, with the CGI creation of the hideous, piteous and chilling Gollum standing out. This one is darker and more violent than the first, with a more intense and epic approach to the battle scenes. As Frodo and his pals continue on their mission, the perils multiply and the characters get more complicated. This is everything fans were waiting for, with one more coming a year from now. (ES) Rated PG-13 (Opens Wednesday, Dec. 18)
Maid in Manhattan -- While Wayne Wang doesn't do for Lopez what Steven Soderbergh did in Out of Sight, the Hong Kong-born director still brings an unlikely combination of romance and working class-verisimilitude to what could have been just another Pretty Woman wannabe. Lopez is a chambermaid at a ritzy New York hotel (the Waldorf-Astoria under another name); a series of contrivances lead her into romance with dryly patrician politician Ralph Fiennes. Lopez is charming; Fiennes is surprisingly at ease on romantic comedy turf, and the entire film twinkles. (RP) Rated: PG-13
Star Trek: Nemesis -- Let's trust in the old Trekkie adage that the odd numbered movies suck but the even numbered movies are better than an unlimited bar tab at Ten Forward. No. 10 in the Star Trek franchise has the previously antagonistic Romulans suddenly wanting to make nice. The Federation sends an envoy expedition led by Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), who, with the rest of his stalwart crew, quickly finds that things on Romulus are not at all what they seem to be. Rated PG-13
& lt;i & Capsule reviews are written by Ed Symkus (ES) and Ray Pride (RP), unless otherwise noted. & lt;/i &
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