Page 3 of 5
FEVER PITCH (PG-13) Workaholic careerist Lindsey (Drew Barrymore) and boyish math teacher Ben (Jimmy Fallon) fall in love, but his superfan obsession with the Boston Red Sox throws their relationship a curve ball. The pointedly unfunny first half-hour makes Fallon and Barrymore look like big-screen comedy rookies. But once the film starts digging into sports rituals, fan psychology and incompatible passions, Fever Pitch turns into the rare Hollywood romantic comedy that's actually about something. - CH
GUESS WHO (PG-13) In this race-versed remake of 1968's famed mixed-marriage comedy Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Bernie Mac plays a temperamental dad nonplussed by her daughter's white boyfriend (Ashton Kutcher). Apart from a handful of intriguingly tense scenes, the remake avoids the complexities of race in America to become little more than a rip-off of Meet the Parents. Mac's slow-burning presence and moments of effortless cool give Guess Who what little soul it has. - CH
HITCH (PG-13) It's a rare director and actor who can handle the contrapuntal demands of romantic comedy. As inoffensively lovable as Will Smith is, he makes a far better class clown than a love-burned romantic lead. "Hitch" is a Manhattan matchmaker schooling nerdy guys to romance their dream girls who must learn to love again from a newspaper gossip columnist (a brittle Eva Mendes). When Hitch coasts on factory-assembled comic convention (black guy teaches white guy how to play it coooool) the film is on firm ground. When it asks Mendes and Smith to summon up some chemistry, and heads toward a canned matrimonial denouement, the fun turns into grueling ordeal. - FF
HOSTAGE (R) Bruce Willis delivers a committed performance as Jeff Talley, an LAPD hostage negotiator whose botching of a tense standoff leaves him with innocent blood on his hands and prods him into moving to a sleepy community where the crime rate hovers around zero. For a good while, director Florent Siri and scripter Doug Richardson do their pulpy material proud, with real attention to both exposition and execution. But as the storyline gets more crowded (another gang of villains ends up holding Talley's own family hostage), the film falls apart through outlandish developments and ludicrous resolutions to the various plot strands. - Matt Brunson
ICE PRINCESS (G) A high school bookworm ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer's" Michelle Trachtenberg) defies her Ivy League-obsessed mother (Joan Cusack) to pursue her dream of becoming a competitive figure skater. Kim Cattrall plays her coach.
IN MY COUNTRY (R) Samuel L. Jackson and Juliette Binoche star in this drama, directed by John Boorman, about the revelations of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings on apartheid.
IMAX THEATER: Bugs! (NR) A praying mantis and a butterfly "star" in this documentary about the insects of the Borneo rainforest - some of whom will be magnified 250,000 times their normal size on the IMAX screen. The Living Sea (NR) Humpback whales, golden jellyfish and giant clams star in this documentary about the diversity of undersea life, with music by Sting and narrated by Meryl Streep. (CH) Fernbank Museum of Natural History IMAX Theater, 767 Clifton Road. 404-929-6300. www.fernbank.edu.
IN THE REALMS OF THE UNREAL (NR) This documentary about outsider artist Henry Darger perhaps makes Darger too much of a freakish "discovery" of the filmmaker, though the artist was long known in art world circles. Darger's bizarre, beautiful drawings, assembled in an epic 15,000 page tome, featured an army of plucky little girls fighting sadistic grown-ups in a fantastical world of the artist's creation. Those testaments to one man's obsessiveness and rich inner life were discovered by his landlords after the Chicago janitor's death in 1973. Perhaps Yu's film will bring a larger audience to Darger's fascinating artworks. - FF
MELINDA AND MELINDA (PG-13) Woody Allen sets his comedic instincts head-to-head with his dramatic aspirations in this film that presents roughly the same story twice, alternating between comedic and tragic spins of similar events. Radha Mitchell plays a self-loathing boozehound in one, a sexy free spirit in the other, but in each reveals the fissures in some friends' marriage. As Woody Allen's surrogate neurotic wise-cracker, Will Farrell makes the humorous half pleasant enough, but the self-important "tragic" portion proves weirdly, inhumanly stilted. Melinda and Melinda's intriguing premise only proves that a lousy tragedy isn't as good as a passable comedy. - CH
In the latest 'Emory Looks at Hollywood' episode, Judith Evans Grubbs, Emory Professor of Roman…
"In the movies' worst scene..." should be "movie's"
--freelance copy editor, available for hire
I saw this headline before watching the movie yesterday, but this movie was way better…