Outtakes

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Road to Perdition (R) Director Sam Mendes follows up American Beauty with a densely textured but occasionally magnificent gangland epic. Tom Hanks stars in an uncharacteristically ambiguous role as a paid killer who doesn't like what he does, but does it anyway. Targeted by his former boss and a couple of mad dog killers, Hanks and his young son take to the road seeking revenge and survival, and finding (this is a Hollywood movie, after all) redemption. While not as immediately hooky as Mendes' debut, Perdition may just be an even better film. Also stars Paul Newman, Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Stanley Tucci, Daniel Craig and Tyler Hoechlin.

Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure (PG) An engaging mix of history, drama, fascinating archival footage and breathtaking, state-of-the-art photography, Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure tells the incredible true tale of an epic battle for survival in the wake of a failed expedition to cross Antarctica in 1914. Playing at IMAX Dome Theater at MOSI. Call theater to confirm.

Signs (PG-13) The least convoluted but, in some ways, the least compelling movie yet from M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable). Mel Gibson stars as a faith-challenged former clergyman who spends most of the movie sweating bullets and waiting, along with the rest of the world, for a devastating attack from hostile extraterrestrials. The movie is all mood — ominous, still and full of apocalyptic mystery. Nothing much happens, but it's good, uncomplicated pulp entertainment, with a vaguely spiritual underpinning that rises to the surface in the last act. Also stars Joaquin Phoenix , Cherry Jones and Rory Culkin.

Space Station (PG) IMAX featurette documenting a pair of voyages to the international space station floating high above planet Earth. The multinational crews include a mix of American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts. At IMAX Dome Theater.

(Not Reviewed)

Spider-Man (PG) Sam Raimi's big screen adaptation of Spider-Man is surprisingly faithful to Spidey's origins as an outsider superhero, even if the edges have been smoothed out a touch. The movie's first half lays the story out in a manner that has all the symmetry and primal oomph of modern myth, with Peter Parker spending most of the movie simply adjusting to his new powers. Even though the second half of Spider-Man is infinitely more action-packed than the setup, the movie gives the distinct impression of slowing down as it progresses. Also stars Kirsten Dunst and James Franco.

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (PG) Just to get the caveats out of the way, this is even more of a turn your brain off at the door and just enjoy it sort of affair than the first one, but if you're down with that, the sky's the limit. Like its predecessor, Spy Kids 2 is an unapologetically silly little romp that's so full of energy and sincerity it's almost impossible to dislike. It's not a great movie, but it's a pretty darned good kids' movie because it does what it does very well and, most important of all, it almost never condescends to its audience. As in the first time around, there's not much story here, but plenty of zingy action, cool gadgets, scary monsters (but not too scary), fabulous eye candy and sheer momentum. Stars Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Steve Buscemi, Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara.

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (PG) As enticing as anything George Lucas has ever done, Episode II is good enough to not only ease the pain of the fiasco otherwise known as Episode I, it quite nearly redeems it. The middle installment of Lucas' new trilogy is a big, juicy entertainment that manages to put into perspective everything that's come before and neatly set up what's to follow. The action sequences are among Lucas' most muscular and exciting to date, but the movie's narrative is surprisingly intriguing as well. Stars Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson and Christopher Lee.

Stuart Little 2 (G) Teeny tiny tikes will eat up this barely 75-minute sequel to Stuart Little, but most grown-ups will either be bored out of their skulls or find their teeth tingling from all the sugar-coated sap. Despite the expensive-looking production values and state-of-the-art CGI effects, Stuart Little has the bland, throwaway feel of a direct-to-video sequel. There wasn't much of an edge to the first Stuart project, but in this one, virtually everybody is as sweetly innocuous as the title rodent. Stars Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie and the voices of Michael J. Fox, Melanie Griffith and Nathan Lane.

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