A Beautiful Mind – This is likely the most successfully serious film director Ron Howard has ever done, but at the end of the day it’s still too much a too-tidy Ron Howard project. Russell Crowe stars as mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr., who battled schizophrenia and later won a Nobel Prize, with Jennifer Connelly in a career-best performance as his wife. Ed Harris co-stars. (2:09. PG-13 for intense thematic material, sexual content and a scene of violence.)
Blade II – A better vampire movie than recent entries such as “Queen of the Damned” or “Dracula 2000.” Yet Wesley Snipes’ return as slayer of the undead still is fairly anemic, relying on blood, glossy effects, high-kicking combat and a head-banging soundtrack rather than authentic chills and scares. But if you liked the original “Blade,” based on the Marvel comic book, you’ll probably like the sequel, which director Guillermo del Toro injects with a similar quotient of action and gore and an even higher body count. This time out, Blade and his mentor (Kris Kristofferson) reluctantly team with enemy vampires to fight a new super-breed of blood-suckers. (R for strong pervasive violence, language, some drug use and sexual content. 117 min.)
E.T. – “E.T.” is back, and that has to be a good thing. Hugely popular with both audiences and critics on its initial release, “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (to give it its full name) is being reissued in a special 20th anniversary edition that features, we are assured, “never before-seen footage, state-of-the-art computer-generated enhancements, and a digitally-remixed soundtrack.” Impressive as all this is, it’s a bit beside the point. A new “E.T.” is not exactly what’s called for; what we want is to have the old one back so we can take pleasure in it one more time. Which is, thankfully, pretty much what has happened. (PG)
Ice Age – A mammoth, a saber-toothed tiger, a sloth and a “scrat”‘ confront the big chill in this computer-animated adventure. Ray Romano, John Leguizamo and Denis Leary provide the voices. (PG, for mild peril.)
Peter Pan: Return to Never Land – A disappointing animated sequel to the 1953 classic “Peter Pan.” Wendy is now the mother of two, including daughter Jane, who dismisses all this Peter Pan nonsense until she gets mixed up with Peter, Captain Hook and the Lost Boys. (G. 72 min.)
Resident Evil – Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez star as video game heroines out to suppress a nasty virus. (R, for strong sci-fi horror violence, language, brief sexuality, nudity.)
Showtime – Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy play mismatched cops paired for a reality-based TV show produced by a pushy producer (Rene Russo). (PG-13, for action violence, language and some drug content.)
Sorority Boys – Men in drag amid the chauvinistic excesses of a fraternity-mad culture – what’s not to like about that? Director Wally Wolodarsky’s “Sorority Boys” is packed full of cliches and stereotypes, treading on material so timeworn that it wasn’t original in the 1950s. Riddled with flaws of logic, plot and common sense, it still manages to combine completely juvenile raunchiness with an essentially good heart. (R for crude sexual content, nudity, strong language and some drug use. 94 minutes.)
The Time Machine – The latest incarnation of H.G. Wells’ classic tale is barely science fiction; it’s more of a love story with special effects. Guy Pearce stars as a scientist who builds a time machine to go back to 1899 and prevent his fiancee’s death, but he ends up 800,000 years in the future. He finds two groups: people who live above ground, and the monsters who prey upon them from below, who aren’t scary. The worst part is the self-referential cutesiness that pervades throughout; it rips you from the reverie of watching a fantasy and drops you into back into reality. (PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence. 96 min.)
We Were Soldiers – A war movie at war with itself, it’s a film about Vietnam with the patriotism of a World War II propaganda flick. The juxtaposition is jarring, yet it’s hard to fault the filmmakers, whose intentions are noble.Mel Gibson stars in the role John Wayne would have played 30 years ago. (R for sustained sequences of graphic war violence, and for language. 2:15)
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