SCARY MOVIE 3 (PG-13) The third installment of David Zucker's popular horror-spoof franchise arrives complete with obligatory raunchy-silly nods to Hollywood's latest crop of fright flicks. Expect the jokes to take on The Ring and Signs, among others. Stars Anna Faris, Charlie Sheen and Anthony Anderson. (Not Reviewed)
THE SCHOOL OF ROCK (PG-13) Rocker Jack Black (Tenacious D), in this new Richard Linklater film, is a harmless but not terribly talented slacker who wants to rock so hard it's practically heartbreaking, and pulls off a scam that allows him to get paid for secretly teaching "Smoke on the Water" to nerdy students at an elite prep school. In lesser hands this could have been Kindergarten Cop, but Linklater makes most of it work, albeit not in a laugh-out-loud Dazed and Confused sort of way. Also stars Joan Cusack, Sarah Silverman and Mike White (Chuck & Buck), who also wrote the script.
SEABISCUIT (PG-13) Seabiscuit chronicles the over achieving stallion that captured America's fancy during the height of the Great Depression. This sentimental drama focuses on the three diverse people in Seabiscuit's life, who team up to conquer long odds. Fire-blooded jockey Red Pollard (Tobey Maguire), eccentric trainer Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) and nice-guy owner Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges) work together to take the horse all the way to the top. The film's relatable characters and attention-grabbing race scenes prove that a historical sports drama can gallop ahead of other summer blockbusters. 1/2—Chris Berger
SECONDHAND LIONS (PG) This instant family classic stars Haley Joel Osment as young Walter, who learns how to be a man as his eccentric and wealthy uncles (Michael Caine and Robert Duvall) learn how to care for a child. Abandoned at the old men's farm by his mother (Kyra Sedgwick), Walter develops a relationship with his uncles through their endless storytelling and encourages them to buy items from door-to-door salesmen, including a yacht, a lion and a plane. Caine and Duvall give unique performances, while Osment is a bit clueless and stiff in this humorous and definitely appropriate movie the entire family can appreciate. 1/2—Emily Anderson
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (R) Although it's nowhere near as radical as Tobe Hooper's relentlessly rude, crude and frenetically formless cannibal-killers clasick, this contemporary remake is pretty effective in its own way. There's an obsessive attention paid to grotesque details, blood and fetid slime ooze from every nook and cranny, and streams of moody light seep through trees and slates of walls like outtakes from Alien or David Fincher's Seven. There's ultimately not all that much you can do with this material to "re-invent" it, but director Marcus Nispel displays enough imagination and passion to keep us involved. Quick cuts and some slickly imagined camerawork tip us off to Nispel's music video roots, but the basic approach here is refreshingly straightforward and all but free of postmodern nudges (outside of a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo by aint-it-cool-news.com's Harry Knowles). There are plenty of good, strong scares, some hot babes in distress, lots of creepy atmosphere and an appropriately mean-spirited, nasty streak that makes the movie exactly the love-it-or-hate-it proposition it should be. Stars Jessica Biel, Jonathan Tucker and Eric Balfour. 1/2
TUPAC RESURRECTION (R) MTV-produced documentary using archival footage and interviews to tell the life story of iconic dead rapper Tupac Shakur. Opens Nov. 14 at local theaters. (Not Reviewed)
UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN (PG-13) Diane Lane (Unfaithful) stars in this trite but scenic film about a writer who, after a messy divorce, impulsively buys a rundown Italian villa in an attempt to find herself. Between the painfully predictable plot and the freshman-English-caliber foreshadowing and symbolism, Under the Tuscan Sun seems like a made-for-TV movie with a big budget. There are enjoyable moments but you have to wait out a lot of cheese to see them. Also stars Sandra Oh (Waking the Dead). —Laurie Stark
— Reviewed entries by Lance Goldenberg unless otherwise noted.