Elf -- Li'l baby Buddy crawls into Santa's bag of toys and ends up at the North Pole, where the kindly elves raise him as one of his own. Now an adult Buddy (Will Ferrell) is no longer content to make toys nor is he especially eager to study dentistry on the side or counsel lovelorn young reindeer. So it's off to Manhattan to find his real dad (James Caan) and teach the urbanites a thing or two about the meaning of Christmas (which probably has something to do with licensing). Rated: PG
*** Love, Actually -- All kinds of British folks (and one American) are falling in and out of love, searching for it or mourning the loss of it in this sprawling comedy-drama from the writer of Four Weddings and a Funeral. The ensemble piece (Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, many more) has a little too much going on: Just as one story gets interesting, it jumps to another. It's funnier than it is sad, but it could use some trimming. (ES) Rated: PG-13
*** The Matrix Revolutions -- The kicky, streamlined finale to the trilogy dispenses with much of the philosophy and gets down to loud, sustained action set-pieces that will thrill the younger set and test the patience of anyone over 30. There's a sweet climax, cheesy but pleasant. Directed by the Wachowski brothers. (RP) Rated: R
**** The Nightmare Before Christmas -- With all the new holiday fare starting to crowd local movie screens, how nice to revisit a modern day classic like Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas. The reigning king of Halloweentown, Jack Skellington, is becoming bored with scaring small children and walking through cemeteries with his little dog Zero. Discovering a "wood between the worlds," Jack falls into Christmas and tries to import many of their customs, with disastrous results. From afar, Sally the rag doll pines for Jack, while the sack-shaped villain Oogie Boogie gambles with fate in his underground lair. A wonderfully ghoulish romanticism pervades this fable for all ages. Rated: PG (Sheri Boggs) One night only, Wed. Nov. 12 at the Met Cinema.
Step Into Liquid -- If Peter Travers of the Rolling Stone calls it "the best surfing documentary ever made," it must be pretty good. Director Dana Brown goes beyond the riptides, 30-foot waves and crashing undersea footage to get inside the surfer's passion. Locales vary from the expected (Oahu, Santa Cruz) to the undiscovered (Lake Michigan, Ireland, Vietnam and even off the shore of Texas, where waves are created by oil supertankers). Not rated. Nov. 6 at the Met Cinema
**** Don't Miss It *** Worth $8 ** Wait For The Video * Save Your Money
& lt;i & Capsule reviews are written by Ed Symkus (ES) and Ray Pride (RP), unless otherwise noted. & lt;/i &
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Publication date: 11/06/03