* Against The Ropes -- Having sat on the shelf for about a year and a half, the film "inspired by the life of" female boxing promoter Jackie Kallen finally gets a release, but it will be down for the count in the first round. Meg Ryan looks great tossing her hair while wearing short outfits, but her character talks too much. Her boxer, played by Omar Epps, is more street punk than polished fighter, and even though he regularly wins, the film falls short by only including snippets of most fights. Cliches abound, predictability runs rampant, any drama comes much too late to be effective. (ES) Rated PG-13
Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen -- Lindsay Lohan has made her young career out of playing the ol' switcheroo. In The Parent Trap, she connives with her twin (played by herself) to reunite their parents. In Freaky Friday, she wakes up one morning to find out she's become her mother. And in her latest film, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, she goes from being the most popular girl in her school to being just another new kid in the suburbs, which are already presided over by their own drama queen. But there's nothing that a teenage drama queen likes more than scheming against and plotting the downfall of another teenage drama queen. Rated: PG
*** Eurotrip -- The producers of Road Trip and Old School take the European getaway; refreshingly awkward comedy often ensues in a journey that leads from London to Amsterdam to French nude beaches, with much quaffing of absinthe and doffing of duds. Some inspired gross-outs are left in their wake. (RP) Rated: R
Welcome to Mooseport -- Former U.S. president Gene Hackman retires to a quaint New England village where he hopes the bucolic setting and quieter lifestyle will enable him to write his memoirs. The townspeople have other ideas -- who better to fill the vacant mayoral seat than someone who knows political life inside and out? Just when it looks like a shoo-in, hardware store owner Ray Romano shows up as Hackman's surprisingly fierce competition. Rated: PG-13
The Passion of the Christ -- What Would Jesus Do ... at the box office? If buzz is any indicator of ticket sales, Mel Gibson's controversial portrayal of the last 12 hours of Christ's life should do quite well. Jim Caviezel, who was reportedly hit by lightning while filming The Passion, plays the Anointed One. Rated: R Opens Wednesday, Feb. 25.
**** To Be and To Have -- Nicolas Philibert's quiet 2002 masterpiece, To Be And to Have (Etre et Avoir) is a magnificent construction of empathy, a quietly heartfelt portrait of a dozen or so pupils in a single-room school in an isolated French farming village. The teacher, 55-year-old Georges Lopez, could be the portrait of an urban academic: black sweater, groomed gray goatee, rimless glasses. Instead he is a vestige, a teacher whose connection to a community is immediately clear, important and vital. Philibert constructs his film as the illusion of an inevitable, serene succession of lessons floating past. (RP) Not Rated. Showing at the Met Cinema Thursday at 5:30 and 8 pm.
Publication date: 02/19/04