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· IMAX THEATER Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets (NR): This exploration of one of America's greatest natural wonders retraces the canyon's history, from Native Americans to modern-day white water rafters. Wild Safari: A South African Adventure (NR): This 5,000-mile journey from the lush grasslands of the Southern Cape to the desert expanse of the Kalahari tracks elephants, Cape buffaloes, rhinos, leopards and lions. Fernbank Museum of Natural History IMAX Theater, 767 Clifton Road. 404-929-6300. www.fernbank.edu.
· KING KONG - 3 Stars (PG-13) The heart of Peter Jackson's lavish, slavish remake lies not in the giant ape's improbable love for a screaming starlet (Naomi Watts), but the Oscar-winning filmmaker's almost blind adoration of the original, also set in 1930s New York (and Skull Island). Jackson's version contains sights that truly astonish while feeling overly faithful to a story we know all too well. Still, despite labored comedy and some spotty special effects, the Beauty and the Beast story at the core can win over the most savage detractor. -- Holman
· LAST HOLIDAY (PG-13) Diagnosed with a terminal illness, a conservative woman (Queen Latifah) discovers love and other pleasures when she spends her life's savings on a fancy vacation in this feel-good comedy. Gérard Depardieu plays a hotel chef, and brainy-artsy filmmaker Wayne Wang directs.
· LOOKING FOR COMEDY IN THE MUSLIM WORLD - 2 Stars (PG-13) Filmmaker/funnyman Albert Brooks plays a fictionalized version of himself as a clueless celebrity searching India and Pakistan for what makes Muslims -- not to mention Hindus -- laugh. The film's first act proves genuinely hilarious as Brooks takes the government assignment and quickly finds himself over his head, but the humor dries up as the director makes his own ignorant complacency the butt of the comedy. American self-centeredness may be a worthy theme, but a real search for comedy in the Muslim world would have made a more intriguing film. -- Holman
· THE MATADOR - 4 Stars (R) In this rollicking opposites-attract buddy thriller, Pierce Brosnan plays a smarmy, sexist, ice cold professional assassin who meets a geeky, failed American businessman (Greg Kinnear) in Mexico City. The two form an unlikely bond in Richard Shepard's skillfully plotted action comedy that beneath its Tarantino-meets-Bond cool has a core of integrity and insight into the working man's grind that lifts it above the ranks of most hipster crime story diversions. -- Feaster
· MATCH POINT - 4 Stars (R) As Jonathan Rhys-Meyers' calculating tennis pro ingratiates himself into a wealthy British family while pursuing a doomed affair with a self-destructive American actress (Scarlett Johansson, in her finest role to date), Match Point achieves an icily compelling tone comparable to The Talented Mr. Ripley that proves far more effective than the stodgy airlessness of Woody Allen's usual "heavy" pictures. In plot and theme, it plays like Crimes and Misdemeanors, only without the comedic misdemeanors. -- Holman
· MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS - 2 Stars (R) This British period piece depicts a rich widow (Judi Dench) who revolutionizes London theater by producing nude revues before and during World War II. Despite its polished sheen and the comfy comedic interplay of Dench and Bob Hoskins, Mrs. Henderson offers a skin-deep appraisal of its subject, avoiding any meaty debate of sexuality and freedom of expression. Instead it goes for doomed wartime romances and plucky, Oscar-worthy speeches that prove genuinely shameless. -- Holman
· MUNICH - 4 Stars (R) In the aftermath of the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Munich Olympics, the Israeli government sends a cadre of assassins led by Eric Bana to Europe to kill the Palestinian organizers of the terrorist attack. Though Bana has a hard time drawing us emotionally into his moral dilemma about killing, with a script co-written by Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner ("Angels in America"), Munich has much to say about how governments often use individuals to do their dirty work, and how it is the foot soldiers, not the intelligence agencies or politicians, who pay the psychological cost for committing murder in their country's name. -- Feaster
· NANNY MCPHEE - 3 Stars (PG) Nanny McPhee finds director Kirk Jones and scripter-star Emma Thompson similarly employing menacing situations, questionable comic material and oversized, often grotesque characters in an unorthodox attempt to arrive at a sentimental conclusion. Thompson, delivering a sharp performance under pounds of facial latex, plays the title character, a snaggletoothed, wart-sprouting nursemaid who mysteriously shows up to help a widower (Colin Firth) contend with his seven monstrous children. Nanny McPhee should play well with the small fry, though adults may be more bothered by the clumsy shifts in tone. -- Brunson
· THE NEW WORLD - 2 Stars (PG-13) Stunning 14-year-old Q'Orianka Kilcher plays the Indian maiden who captivates British explorer Captain John Smith and proves as visually intoxicating to Malick as the unspoiled Eden of 17th-century Virginia before the Jamestown settlers muck things up. But exquisite beauty can only get you so far. Terrence Malick returns to a familiar theme of Eden ruined by human intervention but his often maddeningly precious vision is bogged down by molasses pacing and a belief that exposition is inconsequential next to the supremacy of an unspoiled girl and nature. -- Feaster
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