Amazing Journeys (PG) IMAX films are about scale, size — from the unfathomably huge (the oceans, the cosmos themselves) to the microscopically small — and this latest IMAX production gives us a little bit to look at from both ends of the spectrum. Amazing Journeys examines the migration habits of various creatures.
(3 1/2 Planets)
Amelie (NR) Amelie wears its heart proudly on its sleeve even as it calls to mind all those glorious old Looney Tunes freak-outs where something is always happening and the screen literally vibrates with visual and verbal gags. If the film feels like a cartoon, though, then it's a cartoon of the cosmic variety — as much about fate, destiny or whatever you want to call it as anything by Kieslowski (or Tex Avery). Our plucky and quintessentially quirky heroine Amelie (saucer-eyed Audrey Tautou, who actually looks like a cartoon character) spends the entire movie tempting fate by arranging good deeds and choreographing love connections for her neighbors and, eventually, herself. As is his stylistic wont, Jeunet crams every inch of the film with marvelously composed shots of bric-a-brac and arcane doo-dads, lavishing equal, fetishistic attention upon a kitschy garden gnome and the sensual pleasure of cracking open the crust on a well-turned creme brulee. The film, which is really as much a fairy tale as it is a cartoon, brims over with imagination and emotion, and the impossibly fetching Montemartre neighborhood in which it's set is as much a dreamscape as it is an actual physical location. Also stars Mathieu Kassovitz. Held over at Tampa Theatre. Call theater to confirm.
(4 1/2 Planets)
Bandits (PG-13) Director Barry Levinson mixes buddy-crime-flick shtick and romantic comedy (a la Ally McBeal) and peppers it with the stylish verite camera moves and music video-style montages he employed in his TV show Homicide. The combination makes for an entertaining, though unevenly paced and overly quirky, two hours of madcap caper fun. Stars Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett.
(3 1/2 Planets)
Black Knight (PG-13) See Film.
Bones (R) Stylishly lensed but incoherently told horror tale about — as near as we can tell, anyway — a ghetto boss who returns from the dead. Bones is a vapid, convoluted mishmash of Hellraiser, Candyman and a dozen other, better horror films, and, despite top billing, Snoop Dogg isn't even in the movie very much. That's a blessing, actually, since he's pretty awful.
(1 1/2 Planets)
Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man (G) Multimedia performance artists/acrobats/magicians Cirque du Soleil find their way to the big screen — the really big screen — in this visually spectacular IMAX 3-D experience. The film's astonishing imagery constitutes an authentic document of Cirque du Soleil in motion, as well as a beautifully poetic tribute to the glory of the human body. At IMAX Channelside.
(3 1/2 Planets)
Corky Romano (PG-13) Goofy-looking vehicle for rubber-faced SNL regular Chris Kattan. The loser son of a Mafioso, Corky must help the family by infiltrating the FBI.
Domestic Disturbance (PG-13) A cute little kid is terrorized by his evil step dad (Vince Vaughan). Never fear, though: Bio-pop John Travolta is on to him. Also stars Steve Buscemi.
Don't Say a Word (R) A slickly made but only modestly interesting thriller in which a child psychologist (Michael Douglas) races against time to meet the ransom demanded by his daughter's kidnappers. What Douglas' character needs to do is extract information locked in the mind of a deeply traumatized patient and then convey that info to the bad guys. There's much less here than meets the eye, but there are some passable moments of suspense, and the film is skillfully crafted enough to occasionally give the thin storyline the illusion of substance.
From Hell (R) Ye Old London Town comes off as a cross between something out of a vintage Hammer flick and a Marilyn Manson horrorshow, with Johnny Depp starring as an absinthe-swilling, opium-smoking inspector on the trail of history's first and, arguably, most notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper (depicted here as a predictable blend of Lecter and Dracula). The moody atmosphere in this most explicit and goriest of mainstream Ripper movies is so thick you could cut it with a bloody scalpel, but underneath all the extraordinary visuals and conspiracy theories beats the heart of a fairly routine slasher flick. Also stars Heather Graham.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (PG) A wizard, a true star. Living up to the hype in almost every way, Chris Columbus' big screen adaptation of the first Harry Potter book is a rousing blend of fantasy, mystery, action and pure charm that puts the film in a league with modern adventure classics like Raiders of the Lost Ark or the original Star Wars trilogy. The movie creates a genuine sense of wonder and its 2 1/2 hours practically fly by, bolstered by a strong script, amazing sets and special effects, a classic John Williams score, and some great performances by a well chosen cast of young newcomers and seasoned pros, all of whom strike just the right tone. Stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Harris, Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith.