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by Inlander Staff & r & Aeon Flux -- I wanted so desperately for this movie to be good, not just for the MTV early-'90s liquid television kitsch factor, but because the general plot -- as futuristic dystopian thrillers go -- is gritty and interesting and filled with all manner of gray shades. No black and white morality here, this isn't Orwell. The world itself is imaginative and detailed as well, full of really fascinating devices and costume design. Even the background bric a brac looks alien and wonderful. The problem is that the dialogue is atrocious. If I hadn't used the Dyson vacuum joke last week, I'd make it again here. Disappointment made all the more tragic by what might have been. (LB) Rated PG-13





The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe -- The C.S. Lewis novel has its charm and fantastical imagery intact, although, happily, the religious overtones are now undertoned. During World War II, four siblings are sent to the British countryside for safety, where they find a portal to another world: the wintry land of Narnia. They must come together as a unit, join forces with magical creatures and defeat a wicked queen (Tilda Swinton). Nicely done, for all ages. (ES) Rated PG








The Family Stone -- There's a lot to love about this film, just not many of its characters and not many of its plot contrivances. Progressive upperclass New England Bohemians, the Stone family is gearing up for the arrival of eldest son Everett (Dermot Mulroney) and his hopelessly uptight girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker). They don't like her from the get go but try half-heartedly to put on a friendly face. Blue state hilarity ensues. (LB) Rated PG-13





Forces of Nature -- Showcasing the awesome spectacle of earthquakes, volcanoes, and severe storms as we follow scientists on their groundbreaking quests to understand how these natural disasters are triggered. Narrated by Kevin Bacon! Unrated





Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire -- Harry and friends return for another term at Hogwarts, and Harry somehow becomes a contestant in the dangerous and exciting Triwizard Tournament. Director Mike Newell and entire-series writer Steve Kloves add new dimensions to the story, with more emotional punch and some maturing (sexual awakening?) of the young wizards. This fourth installment is the most fun and the scariest. Brendan Gleeson steals the show as "Mad-Eye." (ES) Rated PG-13





Just Friends -- If we can use Eddie Murphy's late-'90s career resurgence as a guide, Ryan Reynolds will do movies where he plays a hapless fat man, then a hapless scientist, then a hapless cartoon character, then, hopefully, he'll become a hapless ex-star who never bothers us again. Just Friends is his hapless fat man movie. Rated PG-13





King Kong -- Peter Jackson's dream remake of the fabled 1933 film lives up to expectations, though it's a bit long at three hours. But the story of the giant ape and the pretty blonde he goes ape over is told with excitement, humor, horror and some "romantic" longing. Visual effects are top of the line, from the T-Rex fight to Kong's trampling of New York City. Great screaming from Naomi Watts as Ann Darrow, and superb specialized acting from Andy Serkis (Gollum in LOTR) as Kong. (ES) Rated PG-13





Magnificent Desolation -- Only 12 people have walked on the moon, but now IMAX is proclaiming that you'll be number 13. All of you. Don't be fooled! You won't really be on the moon, just leaning back a little in your chair, gazing up at the moon's desolate vistas projected on a massive format screen. This is bound to be good. Tom Hanks produced it, and he doesn't put his name on bad movies. Except The Terminal... and Ladykillers. Unrated





Syriana -- While lacking classic human story elements, Syriana is nonetheless suffused with emotion -- the passion ideologues have for their ideals, the passion of faith and of commitment. It makes the bad guys terrifyingly effective and the good guys tragically impotent. Barnes (George Clooney) will never get the desk job he covets because he believes that success in national policy should depend more on being right than on being politic. Prince Nassir's coup is flawed because he believes little countries can make their way without friends in the West. It's a heartbreaking tale because it's that kind of passion and that kind of faith that our country was built on and it's that kind of idealism that America is engaged in actively suppressing. (LB) Rated R





Walk the Line -- Biopics come in two distinct flavors, good and bad. There's very little in between. The good are measured and unsensationalized, focusing on the person more than his or her celebrity and public persona, engaging and salacious as those might be. They help us make sense of the person behind the image. Walk The Line - directed by James Mangold and starring Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash - is one of those biopics. (LB) Rated PG-13





Yours, Mine & amp; Ours -- In its never-ending quest to remake every film and TV show of note, Hollywood may have actually stumbled on a winner -- 1968's Yours, Mine and Ours, which starred Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball. In the remake, it's Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo who fall in love with tons of baggage -- 18 children between them, that is. The kids join forces to break up the happy couple. Rated PG

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