Short film blurbs

The Break-Up (PG-13, 106 minutes) Reviewed in this issue.  Playing at Regal Downtown Mall 6

Cars (G, 116 minutes) Now that Pixar and Disney are playing nice, the never-miss computer animation firm revs up the engine on its latest family outing. We’ve got a cocky stock car (voiced by Owen Wilson) who gets sidetracked on the way to a big race and ends up in tiny Radiator Springs. Busted for speeding, he’s sentenced to community service, and soon learns the meaning of friendship and respect. The premise sounds like Pixar’s weakest, but director John Lasseter (Toy Story) keeps things bouncy, fun and sweetly nostalgic. All-star voice cast includes George Carlin, Bob Costas, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Keaton, Paul Newman and Larry the Cable Guy. (Devin O’Leary) Playing at Regal Seminole Square Cinema 4

The Da Vinci Code (PG-13, 149 minutes) Ron Howard’s movie version of Dan Brown’s religious-mystery novel, in which a Harvard professor (Tom Hanks) and a Parisian cryptographer (Audrey Tautou) try to track down the Holy Grail while being pursued by a crazed albino monk (Paul Bettany), fails to get a decent spook going, à la The Exorcist or The
Omen. Howard has illustrated the book beautifully, but he hasn’t wrestled with it, made it his own. (Kent Williams)  Playing at Regal Seminole Square Cinema 4

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (PG-13) Vin Diesel, having long lost any level of relevance to this fast-moving film franchise, is here replaced by Lucas Black, the kid from Sling Blade. But, really, who cares which humans are involved so long as you’ve got a tricked-out Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX to ogle? Black plays a troubled teen who heads to Tokyo to live with his military uncle officer. There, he falls into the world of underground street racing. The film is rated PG-13 for “reckless and illegal behavior involving teens.” In other words, it’s gonna be a huge hit with high schoolers. (D.O.) Coming Friday; check local listings

Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties (PG) You have no one to blame but yourself for this, people. Garfield goes to England where a case of mistaken cat-identity has him inheriting a castle. There, he runs afoul of the scheming Lord Dargis (played by a no-doubt embarrassed Billy Connolly) who wants the estate all for himself. I realize you spent $75 million on the first movie, America, but I’m confident you regret that now. Think of this as a bad first date you’re embarrassed you slept with. Just avert your eyes as you pass the theater and pretend you can’t see it. (D.O.) Coming Friday; check local listings

The Lake House (PG) Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock (finally! a Speed reunion!) come together again for this romantic mystery, a remake of a beautiful if confusing Korean film. Bullock plays a lonely doctor who begins exchanging letters with a frustrated architect (Reeves). Turns out that Bullock and Reeves are actually living in the same lakeside vacation home, but exist two years apart and are communicating through a magical mailbox. …I told you it was confusing. (D.O.) Coming Friday; check local listings

Mission: Impossible III (PG-13, 126 minutes) J.J. Abrams (the guy behind “Alias” and “Lost”) takes over as director for this third outing. Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Laurence Fishburne, Keri Russell, Billy Crudup and Philip Seymour Hoffman (doing bad guy duty) make up the impressive cast list. Unfortunately, it’s scripted by the guys who wrote The Island. As in previous Impossible outings, the plot is baroque to the point of nonsensical. The explosions look pretty, though. (D.O.) Playing at Carmike Cinema 6

Nacho Libre (PG) From the makers of Napoleon Dynamite comes this equally odd comedy about a cook (Jack Black) at a Mexican orphanage, who moonlights as a masked wrestler to save his adopted home from foreclosure. The story is simple, and the humor is pretty low key, but Black gives it his all, delivering a surprisingly dexterous performance. (D.O.) Coming Friday; check local listings

The Omen (R, 95 minutes) The 1976 shocker The Omen is really just a slasher film dolled up in Biblical raiment. But it’s still a damnably entertaining movie. Naturally, we required no remake; but we’ve got one anyway, once again documenting a clueless Washington family who seems to have given birth to the Antichrist. The cast (including Liev Schreiber, Julia Styles, Mia Farrow and Pete Postlethwaite) takes things seriously, and the direction is notably slick. Still, the script apes the original almost note for note, making this feel like a cover album of your favorite band—good if only for of the familiarity, but not nearly as memorable as the original. (D.O.) Playing at Regal Downtown Mall 6

Over the Hedge (PG, 96 minutes) An all-star voice cast (Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, Wanda Sykes, William Shatner, Nick Nolte) lends its talents to this CGI toon adaptation of the popular newspaper comic strip. Willis plays a mischievous raccoon who helps his forest buddies adapt to the encroaching sprawl of suburbia. The animation is fluid and the writing has a bit more spark than most of the recent computer toons we’ve been subjected to (The Wild). From the director of Antz. (D.O.) Playing at Regal Seminole Square Cinema 4

Poseidon (PG-13) Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas and Richard Dreyfuss star in a big-budget remake of 1972 shipwreck movie The Poseidon Adventure, combining our fear of drowning with our fear of tight spaces. Director Wolfgang Petersen’s in too much of a hurry, keeping all the deaths at a distance. (K.W.) Playing at Carmike Cinema 6

A Prairie Home Companion (PG-13, 105 minutes) Reviewed on page 46. Playing at Vinegar Hill Theatre

RV (PG) Steve Martin must have been busy, because it’s fallen to Robin Williams to star in this pathetic, plotless excuse for a “family” comedy. Williams stars as a hapless dad who tries to pass off a business trip to Colorado as a family vacation. Along the way, the annoying clan has lots of wacky misadventures in a rented RV. That’s it, folks. Williams was starting to get annoying on screen, now he’s just sad. Go rent National Lampoon’s Vacation instead. It’s pretty much the same movie, only 20 times funnier. (D.O.) Playing at Regal Downtown Mall 6

See No Evil (R) Porn king Gregory Dark (New Wave Hookers, Let Me Tell Ya ’Bout White Chicks) tries his hand at directing a mainstream horror film. Naturally, he hooks up with professional wrestler Kane (who used to grapple under the name Dr. Isaac Yankem DDS). The story (such as it is) concerns a group of troubled teens (nobody you’ve ever heard of) who are assigned to clean up an old hotel. Wouldn’t you know it: There’s a serial killer living there. It’s produced by World Wrestling Entertainment Films. My work here is done. (D.O.) Playing at Carmike Cinema 6

Thank You for Smoking (R, 92 minutes) Based on Christopher Buckley’s satiric novel about a tobacco-industry lobbyist (Aaron Eckhart) who seems to feel good about what he does for a living, Jason Reitman’s refreshingly un-PC film lets both sides of the smoking/anti-smoking debate have it with both barrels. Encompassing a trip to Hollywood as well as a kidnapping, the movie gives off a caffeinated buzz, capturing the book’s slightly giddy tone. (K.W.) Playing at Regal Downtown Mall 6

X-Men: The Last Stand (PG-13, 104 minutes) The third installment in the Marvel Comics franchise delivers the goods, with moments of sublime pathos and mystic power. With a cure in the offing, society’s untouchables—mutants with superhuman powers—must once again choose between reform or revolution. (K.W.) Playing at Carmike Cinema 6

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