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FRAILTY (R) Bill Paxton (Apollo 13, A Simple Plan) stars and directs in this unusual thriller about a small-town Texas father who believes he's been called by God to kill demons. Featuring elements of Southern gothic, Bible allegory and even black comedy, the script builds to some clever twists but still feels drawn-out, as if it could be cut to fit a one-hour "X-Files" slot without suffering.--CH
HIGH CRIMES (PG-13) It's a high crime indeed that the once-exciting Ashley Judd now delivers the same spunky-woman-in-peril job in studio-sanctioned programmers like this. It's a shame that Morgan Freeman isn't finding more roles better suited to his awesome abilities. And it's a shame that, in the age of mind-benders like Memento, we're still force-fed reheated pulp more adept at creating massive plotholes than any semblance of suspense. --MB
HOLLYWOOD ENDING (PG-13) Woody Allen plays a director on the skids who gets a second chance to helm a picture from his L.A.-based movie executive ex-wife (Tea Leoni). But chaos ensues when Allen is struck blind and must hide his condition. When Hollywood allows the full slapstick energy of this goofy scenario to flow, things tend to go well. But the long-winded exposition devoted to Allen's relationship with ex-Leoni and his reconciliation with a long-lost son can make the film feel as suffocating as two hours in the smoker's lounge at Hartsfield.--FF
ICE AGE (PG) Ray Romano's sensible woolly mammoth, Denis Leary's duplicitous saber-toothed tiger and John Leguizamo's imbecilic sloth are unique enough for us to pardon the pedestrian plot of this computer-animated film that's like Disney's Dinosaur without the mountainous sentimentality. The prehistoric squirrel Scrat is such a character that you're sorry every time he leaves the screen.--MB
IMAX Majestic White Horses (Not Rated) The pomp, history and legend of the famous Lipizzan horses of Austria and the Spanish Riding School of Vienna gets the really big screen treatment. Through May 23. Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa (Not Rated) Everest director David Breashears' latest IMAX documentary follows an expedition through five distinct climate zones to the top of Africa's highest point. Through September 20. Fernbank Museum of Natural History IMAX Theater, 767 Clifton Road.
JASON X (R) Apparently every schlock horror franchise is destined to go to space: it happened to Critters, it happened to Leprechaun and now it happens to Friday the 13th, as the hockey-masked murderer stalks young people on a 25th century spaceship.
KISSING JESSICA STEIN (R) The misadventures of a singleton in the city gets a gimmicky reworking in this film about a New York journalist and a Chelsea art chick who, tired of the lameoid men around, decide to date each other. Some clever writing by stars and screenwriters Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergensen can't dispel the sense that this is just a calculated reworking of a hackneyed suffering-single formula.--FF
LIFE OR SOMETHING LIKE IT (PG-13) This schizophrenic picture's success begins and ends with Angelina Jolie, cast as a TV reporter who comes to reassess her values after a street prophet (Tony Shalhoub) informs her she has a week to live. Director Stephen Herek and writers John Scott Shepherd and Dana Stevens are too much the consummate hacks to provide the serious sections with the import they require. But with the appeal of Jolie and co-star Edward Burns, it represents a serviceable feature -- or something like it.--MB
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (PG-13) Adapting the first and longest book of J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy, Peter Jackson offers an all-but-perfect fantasy epic that's no simple piece of story-book escapism. Jackson offers a full immersion in an imaginary world, and even when some virtual environments look fake, they bristle with personality. Thrilling -- and exhausting -- at a full three hours, Fellowship's greatest achievement is that it never loses sight of the human side of its fanciful story. --CH
MONSOON WEDDING (R) Beneath the initially frenzied energy and silliness of Mira Nair's film is an affectionate, moving portrait of how the imminent marriage of a New Delhi father's only daughter leads to a profound reassessment of the meaning of family, the one tradition worth holding onto in this meditation on the clash of new and old in modern India.--FF
MONSTER'S BALL (R) The relationship between a racist death row guard (Billy Bob Thornton) and a condemned prisoner's wife (a remarkable Halle Berry) provides the fulcrum for a stunning, unpredictable treatment of Southern race relations. Little-known director Marc Foster and screenwriters Milo Addica and Will Rokos capture the rural South while avoiding sugarcoating or stereotypes, take on challenging subjects without hysteria or contrivance, and get Oscar-worthy performances from some of the least likely of actors.--CH
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