Shorter Movie Reviews

The Ant Bully (PG) The summer of CGI toons continues. In this family fantasy, a young boy is magically reduced to micro-size after flooding an ant colony with his squirt gun. Our wee protagonist is then dragged into the ant colony and sentenced to hard labor for his trangressions. Eventually, of course, he learns a valuable lesson. Nicolas Cage, Paul Giamatti, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin and Bruce Campbell are among the impressive voice cast. Based on the kids book by John Nickle. (Devin O’Leary) Coming Friday; check local listings

Cars (G, 116 minutes) Pixar blows us away yet again with an animated story of a NASCAR hotrod (voiced by Owen Wilson) who needs to take the “I” out of “TEAM.” Only by the amazingly high standards set by Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles does the movie come up a little short. (Kent Williams) Playing at Regal Seminole Square Cinema 4

Clerks II (R) After a brief, fruitless foray into mainstream romantic comedy (Jersey Girl), Kevin Smith returns to his roots: shooting a foul-mouthed low-budget comedy with a few of his friends. It’s been a few years since we last saw Dante and Randall. Their older now, but not necessarily wiser, having landed jobs at the local fast-food establishment. Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes, Ethan Suplee, Jason Lee and other longtime Smith compatriots return for more ensemble fun. There’s actually a bit of story this time around, but the emphasis is on blistering pop culture humor. (It’s Lord of the Rings versus Star Wars now.) (D.O.) Playing at Regal Downtown Mall 6

Click (PG-13, 86 minutes) Adam Sandler is a harried family man (welcome to the realm of Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin, Mr. Sandler) who finds a magical remote control. Get this: With it, he can pause stuff and fast forward it and mute it. Why he could fast-forward a fight with his wife or slo-mo that jogging girl with the big boobies. My god, that plot is clever enough to be a light beer commercial! (D.O.) Playing at Carmike Cinema 6

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. (K.W.) Playing at Regal Downtown Mall 6

The Devil Wears Prada (PG-13, 106 minutes) This fashion-industry comedy stars Anne Hathaway as an aspiring journalist who winds up as a gopher for Meryl Streep’s boss-from-hell, but the two of them aren’t allowed to get much going, Streep’s ice-cold performance getting stranded on the runway. The movie could have been an enjoyable romp; instead, it’s as earnest as Wall Street, only with frocks instead of stocks. (K.W.) Playing at Regal Seminole Square Cinema 4

An Inconvenient Truth (PG) Al Gore, now exuding a self-deprecating folksiness, makes the case for global warming in a documentary that may be the most alarming dog-and-pony show of all time. Using charts and graphs and even the occasional “Simpsons”-like cartoon, Gore lays out his argument, and the result is a sneak preview of “a nature hike through the Book of Revelations.” (K.W.) Playing at Vinegar Hill Theatre

John Tucker Must Die (PG-13, 87 minutes) Three vindictive ex-girlfriends of a serial cheater (Jesse Metcalf from “Desperate Housewives”) come up with a plan for revenge. They’ll set him up to fall in love with the new girl in town, just so they can watch his heart get broken. Your basic teen-aimed romantic comedy filled with as much PG-13 sexual innuendo as director Betty Thomas (Private Parts, Doctor Dolittle, I Spy) could cram between the credits. (D.O.) Coming Friday; check local listings

Lady in the Water (PG-13) At this point you either love or hate writer/director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Village). In this dark, twist-laden (of course) fantasy, the superintendent (Paul Giamatti) of a run-down apartment complex discovers a mysterious woman (Bryce Dallas Howard) in the apartment’s pool. Turns out she’s actually a fairy tale character who has escaped from a bedtime story. Unfortunately, she’s not the only one who has escaped from the story. Interesting, but definitely not as scary as you’re thinking. (Didn’t you learn your lesson with The Village?) (D.O.) Playing at Regal Seminole Square Cinema 4

Little Man (PG-13) God help us, the Wayanses are back in town! Keenan Ivory Wayans directs brother Shawn Wayans as a wannabe dad who mistakes a vertically challenged, cigar-chomping criminal (Marlon Wayans) as his newly adopted son. While the sight of a digitally reduced Marlon Wayans is arguably scarier than the sight of Marlon Wayans dressed as a white chick, what’s most disturbing about this film is how it so blatantly rips off the old Warner Brothers cartoon “Baby Buggy Bunny” starring midget criminal Baby Face Finster. (D.O.) Playing at Regal Downtown Mall 6

Miami Vice (R, 146 minutes) Writer/director Michael Mann turns his mega-popular ‘80s TV series into a two-hour-plus movie. Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx take over as Crockett and Tubbs, the two most conspicuous detectives in the history of undercover police work. It doesn’t look or feel much like the original series (no ice cream suits or visits from Phil Collins, sadly), but what’s on screen comes close to the best of Mann’s crime film output (Heat, Collateral). A preponderance of guns, sex and seedy atmosphere (not to mention a tough-to-follow storyline) make this a decidedly “adult” popcorn film. (D.O.) Coming Friday; check local listings

Monster House (PG, 91 minutes) Reviewed on page 43. Playing at Carmike Cinema 6
My Super Ex-Girlfriend (PG-13) Luke Wilson stars as an ordinary dude who breaks up with his plain-Jane girlfriend (Uma Thurman) because of her neediness. Big mistake. Turns out that she’s actually the alter-ego of G-Girl, the city’s most powerful superheroine, and she proceeds to make his life a living hell. From director Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters). (D.O.) Playing at Regal Downtown Mall 6

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (PG-13, 150 minutes) Call it a nasty case of sequelitis, but this second installment in the Disney theme-park franchise is bigger, louder and absolutely determined to entertain. The action sequences more or less work, but the smaller, goofier moments come up short, and that includes Johnny Depp’s surprisingly unsurprising performance as Captain Jack Sparrow. (K.W.) Playing at Carmike Cinema 6

Scoop (PG-13) The newly revitalized Woody Allen continues to pump out the films. His new muse, Scarlett Johannson, stars as an American journalism student who falls in love with a handsome aristocrat (Hugh Jackman), who just happens to be the prime suspect in a string of serial killings. It’s a little scary to see Allen stepping back in front of the camera (he plays a bumbling magician helping our gal reporter in her investigation), but at least he hasn’t cast himself as the romantic lead. Considerably funnier than Match Point, but not quite as brilliant. (D.O.) Coming Friday; check local listings

Strangers with Candy (R) Reviewed on page 43. Playing at Regal Downtown Mall 6
Superman Returns (PG-13, 157 minutes) America’s favorite Boy Scout is back, and the most enjoyable moments in this $363-million behemoth are when Brandon Routh’s Superman flies through the air with the greatest of ease. Despite Routh’s lackluster performance and Kevin Spacey’s refusal to ham up Lex Luthor, the movie often soars, but it never comes up with a sufficient reason why the Man of Steel is still relevant in post-industrial America. (K.W.) Playing at Regal Seminole Square Cinema 4

You, Me and Dupree (PG-13, 108 minutes) Owen Wilson (still hot off Wedding Crashers) stars as a down-and-out best man who moves in on two newlyweds (Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson). Since he got fired from his job for attending their wedding, they feel guilty and are happy to have him stay over for a day, or two, or three, or… Eventually, of course, Dupree’s seemingly endless couch-surfing ways cause friction with the new couple. A fine cast jokes it up in the same vein as Wedding Crashers. (D.O.) Playing at Regal Downtown Mall 6

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Galleries & Exhibitions 7/25 – 7/31/2006

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