News & Comment » News

Now Playing


by THE INLANDER & r & & r & ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS & r & & r & For anyone living in the last quarter of the 20th century, this needs no introduction. The classic Ruby-Spears cartoon is live-action and computer-graphic-ized here, then fortified with Jason Lee as the chipmunks' guardian Dave, along with a healthy bit of fecal humor. (The one joke in the trailer involves Alvin eating a little raisin-shaped turd of Theodore's.) (LB) Rated PG


Denzel Washington is the New York drug kingpin who does lots of business under the radar of the Italian Mob in the late 1960s. Russell Crowe is the clean cop who's out to clean up the streets. By interweaving multiple storylines about family relationships, good and bad cops, and powerful opposites bumping heads, director Ridley Scott and writer Steve Zaillian have created a tight, tough, gripping, nasty movie. (ES) Rated R


An orphaned boy (Freddie Highmore) connects his main love of music to his parents as he tries intently to find them. His parents, a talented cellist from Juilliard and an Irish rock star (Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers) briefly meet, fall in love, and are torn apart. The acting of a few of the minor characters is unimpressive, but the encouraging storyline and Highmore's ability to win over an audience make it worthwhile. (AEM) Rated PG


Young billionaire Hayden Christensen gets a heart transplant, but he finds he's mentally awake but physically paralyzed as doctors pry open his chest. The phenomenon is real, though it's statistically overblown in the film's opening title cards. Unfortunately, that discussion overshadows a surprisingly good film. Christensen's a bore, but the Keyzer Soze plot twist and first-time director Joby Harold's clever obfuscation of good and bad are worth 78 minutes of your life. (JS) Rated R


Jerry Seinfeld stars as a honeybee who escapes the hive, discovers that humans are stealing the world's honey, sues, then has to save the planet and its dying plant life. (JS) Rated PG


Director Robert Zemeckis foolishly inflicts the Polar Express treatment on this tale of a medieval warrior (Ray Winstone) fighting a man-devouring beast (Crispin Glover). Zemeckis spent millions of dollars computer-retouching live actors so they would resemble... themselves. (MJ) Rated PG-13


Dan (Steve Carell) is a sad widower who finally finds another woman who interests him (Juliette Binoche), only to discover that she's the new girlfriend of his brother (Dane Cook). It's a great idea, but it falters, then runs out of steam, then tries a little too hard to pick up the beat again. (ES) Rated PG-13


The sweet silliness of the collective Disney animated fairy tale landscape meets the rough reality of Noo Yawk City? Why didn't someone think of this sooner? Evil queen Susan Sarandon banishes princess Amy Adams from a parody of an animated world to an idealized version of Central Park -- with prince James Marsden in florid pursuit and McDreamy Patrick Dempsey lying in wait as a divorce lawyer. Wholly suitable for both kids and grownups, Enchanted is, well, enchanting. (MJ) Rated PG


A classic Vince Vaughn performance, cleaned up for a PG rating, turns out to be not so funny. Paul Giamatti plays a Santa Claus who may be forced to abandon Christmas because of Fred's negligence. Kevin Spacey plays the villain who threatens to move Christmas to the South Pole. The movie has childish humor but fails to bring comedic relief to the rest of us. (AM) Rated PG


If it weren't for the wondrous visuals on display in this first film installment of the His Dark Materials trilogy, this would only merit a "wait for the DVD" rating. The confounding story traces the adventures of young Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards), the only person who can read the title Compass. She and her shape-shifting daemon must go up against the evils of Mrs. Coulter (Nicole Kidman) and get a giant ice bear (voice of Ian McKellen) on her side, as she searches for a way to travel between worlds. More is coming in two planned sequels. (ES) Rated PG-13


Agent 47 is an assassin. He has no name because he doesn't need to interact with society at large, other than to murder little individual pieces of it. He was secreted from an orphanage as a kid, taken by a shadow organization whose sole purpose is to produce killers. As he trots the globe trying to figure out who set him up in the killing of the Russian president, we learn some lessons about videogames (Hitman is based on the long-running PC and console franchise) and how their film adaptations break the fourth wall. (LB) Rated R


No invading aliens, no mushroom clouds -- yet New York City is distressingly desolate. There is only Robert Neville, alone in the urban vastness with his German shepherd, Sam. Will Smith plays Neville like a man pushing to keep himself too busy to have a breakdown. And when he stops to talk to mannequins, he'll break your heart. But if he's completely isolated, then why does he shut up his makeshift home every night like a fortress? (MJ) Rated PG-13


The toy store of Edward Magorium (Dustin Hoffman) is full of magic, but only if you believe in it. When a mirthless accountant (Jason Bateman) drops by, all the toys play dead. Molly (Natalie Portman), the store's awkward manager, wonders why the need for an accountant nosing around. Then things really get interesting: toy riots. (LB) Rated G


When Llewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin) finds the remnants of what looks like a drug deal gone bad -- lots of heroin, money and dead bodies -- he decides to take the money. Bad choice: That puts a psychopath (Javier Bardem) on his trail. And while Tommy Lee Jones' sheriff provides some help, Llewellyn has now plunged himself into a world in which everyday things turn lethal. Joel and Ethan Coen return to the violent black comedy of Fargo. (ES) Rated R


A spare quasi-musical about a singer and the poor immigrant in whom he finds a muse, Once is the best movie I've seen in 2007. It's probably the most beautiful film to emerge from a decade overly obsessed with cleverness. (LB) Rated R


As the Whitfield siblings troop home for Christmas, each brings their own drama. Lisa (Regina King) is coping with her cheating husband; Claude (Columbus Short) is a soldier gone AWOL; "Baby" (Chris Brown) is struggling to become a singer. The matriarch (Loretta Devine) is just happy to have everyone home. (TLM) Rated PG-13

Add a comment