AEON FLUX (PG-13) Based on the popular MTV animated series of the '90s, Aeon Flux takes us 400 years into the future to the last city on Earth. Charlize Theron, making her debut in the sci-fi action genre, stars as an underground operative leading the rebels against totalitarian rule of a seemingly perfect society. Also stars Martin Csokas, Jonny Lee Miller and Frances McDormand. (Not Reviewed)
CAPOTE (R) Anyone who has read In Cold Blood or seen the 1967 movie version will be basically familiar with the raw material here — a pair of drifters reveal themselves to a reporter while awaiting execution for the senseless slaughter of a Kansas family — but Capote yanks the focus away from the killers and puts it squarely on the writer and his process. That writer is Truman Capote, portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman in a performance that gives us traces of all the Capotes that we think we know — the narcissistic dandy, the sensitive artist, the twee fop with the whiney baby voice, the literary powerhouse — and fuses them all into a character too complex and human to be pigeonholed by any of those descriptions. Also stars Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins Jr and Chris Cooper. Currently at Sunrise Cinemas in Tampa. Call to confirm. 4 1/2 stars.
CHICKEN LITTLE (G) Disney's latest computer-animated feature offers an increasingly familiar scenario: plenty of great stuff to look at, but not much by way of memorable characters or even a stick-to-your-ribs story. Featuring the voices of Zach Braff, Garry Marshall, Joan Cusack and Steve Zahn. 2 1/2 stars.
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE (PG) Although it gets off to a decidedly slow start, this big-screen adaptation of C.S. Lewis' beloved book turns out to be pretty smashing entertainment. Four heroic young siblings stumble into the film's magical realm of talking animals, evil queens, fauns, gryphons, centaurs, satyrs, Cyclopses and even a stripped-down Kris Kringle. The sheer profusion of fantastical beasties on display is worth the proverbial price of admission. It all culminates, as if you couldn't guess, in a massively proportioned Lord of the Rings-lite battle royale between the forces of good and evil, but hey, you could do a lot worse. Stars Tilda Swinton, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Anna Popplewell, William Moseley, James McAvoy and Jim Broadbent. 3 1/2 stars.
EL CRIMEN FERPECTO (NR) El Crimen Ferpecto (The Ferpect Crime — the typo is intentional) gives us all the basic building blocks of noir — deception, amoral behavior, and, finally, murder — in the decidedly black comedy of a suave, up and coming department store manager whole ambitions go horribly wrong. The director here is Spanish auteur Alex de la Iglesia, an inspired lunatic wholse movies are all over the map but often outlandishly funny. Stars Guillermo Toledo, Monica Cervera, Luis Varela and Enrique Villen. 3 1/2 stars.
GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN' (R) Director Jim Sheridan (In America), diving for the first time into non-Irish subject matter, tries to do for hip-hop star Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson what Curtis Hanson did for Eminen in 8 Mile. 50 Cent plays Marcus, a thinly veiled version of himself, who grows up fatherless and floundering in the Bronx, drifts into drug-dealing and eventually into prison, where he vows to turn his life around. The parallels to 8 Mile and, particularly, to Hustle & Flow are unavoidable as Marcus struggles to make the leap from gangsta to rapper, but Get Rich never achieves the emotional power or stylistic command of either of those films. Also stars Joy Bryant and Bill Duke. 3 stars.
GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK (PG-13) Ostensibly, actor-turned-director George Clooney's remarkable new film is a more-or-less true account of that pivotal moment in American politics when CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow dared speak out against Joseph McCarthy, the Commie-hunting U.S. Senator who turned paranoia into a national pastime. David Strathairn is an effective presence as Murrow, a 1950's proto-liberal media star (Murrow might just be the Anti-O'Reilly) who spoke his mind and crusaded tirelessly for the truth, brow furrowed earnestly and a burning cigarette permanently wedged between his fingers. Clooney chose to shoot in black and white, a wise decision that lets us know that Good Night and Good Luck is art, too, while blending seamlessly with the extensive archival footage of McCarthy incorporated into the film. Also stars Robert Downey Jr, George Clooney, Ray Wise, Patricia Clarkson and Frank Langella. Currently at Burns Court Cinemas in Sarasota and Sunrise Cinemas in Tampa. Call to confirm. 4 stars.
HAPPILY EVER AFTER (NR) Run of the mill kvetching about a bunch of middle-aged guys feeling trapped by marriage, work and life in general, and compensating by fantasizing about sex (and, in some cases, acting out those fantasies). The film happens to be French, but it's very nearly as shallow and clichéd as what you'd expect in an equivalent tale from Hollywood, and is only slightly redeemed by the presence of the always engaging Charlotte Gainsbourg (Serge's daughter) and a few tasty cameos by the likes of Johnny Depp and Anouk Aimee. The blame for this self-indulgent time waster can mostly be laid at the feet of writer-director Yvan Attal, who also co-stars as Gainsbourg's philandering husband, who acquitted himself much better in the similarly themed but somewhat more energetic My Wife is an Actress. Also stars Alain Chabat, Emmanuelle Seigner and Alain Cohen. 2 stars.