DUPLEX (PG-13) The happy new owners of a seemingly ideal New York City duplex, Alex (Ben Stiller) and Nancy (Drew Barrymore), are soon at their wits' end trying to fulfill the odd requests of their upstairs rent-controlled tenant, elderly Mrs. Connelly (Eileen Essell). Stiller and Barrymore make a great team when they become bent on forcing the old woman out, and the physical comedy involved — electrocution, an exploding oven — delivers the funniest moments in the film. There's not much plot, but the young couple's unfolding desperation in the face of Mrs. Connelly's refusal to die is amusing. 1/2—Emily Anderson
FREAKY FRIDAY (PG) Disney remakes its 1976 comedy about a young girl switching bodies with her mom. It might have been fun if Jodie Foster, who was 14 when she played the daughter in the original movie, returned as the mom in the remake. Instead, we get an incessantly mugging but seriously unfunny Jamie Lee Curtis doing the honors, while fresh-faced Lindsay Lohan (star of Disney's Parent Trap remake) steps into Foster's old shoes. Lohan is mildly amusing playing the post-switcheroo teen with an adult's personality, but it's often just plain embarrassing watching Curtis strut around playing "young." Also stars Mark Harmon and Chad Murray.
GOOD BOY! (PG) Kiddie comedy about a boy and his dog, who turns out to be an alien from the dog star Sirius. The movie's pretty much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get affair, which mostly means lots of precocious, talking animals wreaking havoc in the neighborhood, in between bonding with their humans. The movie has its heart firmly in the right place, and young Liam Aiken is quite good in the lead human role, but don't expect much beyond that. Production values are so-so at best, fart jokes abound, and, with one or two exceptions, the dogs featured in the film aren't exactly the cutest critters on the planet. Worst of all, the actors providing the pooches' voices, beginning with Matthew Broderick, don't provide much personality. Also stars Kevin Nealon and Molly Shannon. 1/2
HAUNTED CASTLE (PG) There's a story (albeit a lame one) somewhere in this latest giant screen 3-D featurette, but what Haunted Castle is really offering is just a stroll through a virtual reality spook house. The computer generated animation and effects are elaborate but not terribly imaginative, and the main character simply walks around gasping at things. The highlight is a gravel-throated demon who sounds like a Jersey hit man straight out of The Sopranos (and voiced by Harry Shearer). The scares are generally pretty mild, but be aware that Haunted Castle contains a few scenes involving torture and mutilation that seem to warrant a much tougher rating than the PG the film was awarded. 1/2
INTO THE DEEP (G) Into the Deep is an extremely well made 40-minute documentary on underwater creatures, but in 3-D, it becomes an absolutely breathtaking experience. Watch millions of mating, opalescent squid swarming all around your head, frisky sea lions dropping right into your lap and sharks poking their noses directly in your face. The IMAX 3-D picture is precise, utterly life-like and, frankly, so revolutionary that I could easily see these sorts of films one day replacing standard 2-D movies.
INTOLERABLE CRUELTY (PG-13) A slick divorce lawyer (George Clooney) butts heads with a sexy gold digger (Catherine Zeta-Jones) in the Coen Brothers' attempt at blending their quirky sensibilities with what sounds very much like a mainstream romantic comedy. Also stars Geoffrey Rush. (Not Reviewed)
KILL BILL — VOL. 1 (R) In Tarantino's long-anticipated new movie, the cool influences are no longer merely influences; they're the whole show. Kill Bill is a shrine to movies — a high-octane blend of mostly Japanese and Hong Kong chopsocky, with a little spaghetti western thrown in for good measure — with Uma Thurman as a pissed-off super-assassin killing everyone who's done her wrong. Gone even are the elaborately clever monologues that made Tarantino's reputation. Kill Bill might have been designed with fan boys in mind, but the bulk of this unabashedly bloody, beautifully made film should prove equally eye-popping and/or offensive to everyone. Also stars Lucy Liu, David Carradine and Vivica A. Fox.