Men in Black II (PG-13) Although it might just have well been titled Men in Black I, Slight Return, this briskly paced 80-some minute romp offers considerable fun, particularly for the undiscriminating summer viewer. There are no real surprises here to speak of, with the movie's main characters and wisp of a plot basically just reprising them. The chemistry between stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones still works, although it's a bit more labored and even more minimalist than in the original. The nasty little talking dog steals the show. Also stars Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson and Rip Torn.
Minority Report (PG-13) The best movie of the summer, and one of the best movies of recent years, Steven Spielberg's sci-fi noir boasts a fascinating premise beautifully expanded into a provocative and consistently gripping feature-length film. Based on a story by Philip K. Dick, Minority Report takes place in a not-so-distant future where crimes are predicted and criminals arrested before they actually commit their offense. Tom Cruise plays the top cop who becomes the glitch in a perfect system when he finds himself falsely accused and on the run. Minority Report is an exciting movie and, dare I say it, an important movie, made timelier than ever in the preemptive political environment of today. Although there's plenty of action, Minority Report is anything but an action movie; it's a smart, tough and tantalizing remapping of the familiar territory known as the crime thriller. Also stars Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton and Max Von Sydow.
Mr. Deeds (PG-13) Adam Sandler's latest is a remake of Frank Capra's classic populist comedy from 1936, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, in which a sweetly eccentric but basically ordinary guy suddenly comes into a huge amount of money, resulting in a close encounter with all the worldly garbage that comes with great wealth. In many ways, the remake is surprisingly faithful to Capra's original. What really separates the two versions, though, is the great divide between original star Gary Cooper and Adam Sandler — a leap of faith that says more about our culture than we might care to acknowledge. The 66-year slide from Cooper to Sandler is a little like confronting an evolutionary schematic charting the journey from amoebae to monkey to man, only in reverse. Also stars Winona Ryder, John Turturro, Peter Gallagher, Jared Harris and Steve Buscemi.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (PG) Nia Vardalos stars in this sweet-natured, sporadically amusing adaptation of her one-woman show about a plain Greek-American woman who transforms herself into a babe and hooks up with her Prince Charming — who, much to the chagrin of her loud and proud Greek family, turns out to be as WASP-y as they come. In all, Greek Wedding probably worked better on stage than on the big screen. Also stars John Corbett, Michael Constantine, Lainie Kazan and Andrea Martin.
Ocean Men (PG) As beautiful and bombastic as a Wagner opera, this latest IMAX documentary tells the story of the friendly (and sometimes not-so-friendly) competition between two world-class athletes, each striving to dive to unimaginable depths without the aid of any sort of breathing apparatus. At IMAX Channelside. Call theater to confirm.
The Powerpuff Girls Movie (PG) Animation iconoclast Craig McCracken's Powerpuff Girls is one of the coolest cartoons currently on TV, which is only one of the reasons that this big-screen version is so disappointing. The Powerpuff Girls Movie shares the same stylishly minimalist design sense of its small-screen counterpart, but that's where the resemblance ends. Whereas the television episodes are generally smart, snappy and just edgy enough to keep us watching, the big-screen version feels strangely conventional and padded with a formulaic mix of sentimentality and straightforward action sequences. Featuring the voices of Catherine Cavadini, Tara Strong and E.G. Daily.
Pumpkin (R) It's unclear if Pumpkin can't decide if it's a campy alternative satire or a sappy after school special, or if it's simply hedging its bets. Any way you look at it, though, it's terrible. Christina Ricci stars as blonde blueblood co-ed who finds her perfectly manicured life threatened when she begins to have feelings for the challenged athlete she's mentoring. Pumpkin attempts to juggle lots of elements, styles and attitudes, but it's not remotely up to the task. For such a painfully self-conscious project, the movie is basically clueless, and what we actually wind up seeing on screen is so unintentionally creepy it makes our skin crawl. It's rare to see a movie get everything so disastrously wrong. Also stars Hank Harris and Brenda Blethyn.