Page 3 of 4
· 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.
· INSIDE MAN 4 stars. (R) Spike Lee's Brian Grazer-produced Hollywood heist film makes a definite break from Lee's provocative, content-rich form, but this cops-and-robbers thriller also isn't without its subtext and subtle critiques. Denzel Washington, in engagingly laid-back mode, is a NYPD detective trying to salvage his tarnished reputation by negotiating with the ice-cold bank robber (Clive Owen) who has 50 hostages and a lot of cold, hard cash in his possession in a Wall Street bank. Lee's obvious interest in the bonhomie and friction that characterize NYC's melting pot and the ghosts of Sept. 11 that still linger give a semi-conventional plot line a little more heft. -- Feaster
· KEKEXILI: MOUNTAIN PATROL (NR) Named for the mountainous wilds of Tibet, this beautifully photographed, thematically complex docudrama depicts the efforts of dedicated volunteers to protect wild antelope from poachers.
· PHAT GIRLZ (PG-13) Mo'Nique plays an aspiring designer of plus-sized fashions who looks for love and acceptance in this comedy that co-stars Eric Roberts.
· THE SENTINEL 2 stars. (PG-13) Michael Douglas plays Harrison Ford and Kiefer Sutherland co-stars as Tommy Lee Jones in this slick thriller that tries to put one over on the audience but ends up only fooling itself. An appropriately constipated Douglas plays a Secret Service agent wrongly suspected of attempting to assassinate the U.S. president (David Rasche). It falls to his colleague and former friend (Sutherland) to track him down. The script runs out of steam long before the physically fit actors in the cast, leading to a string of unsatisfactory resolutions and tedious action set-pieces. Director Clark Johnson doubtless planned to deliver a hand-wringing thriller filled with unexpected twists and turns, but even good intentions can find themselves caught in the line of fire. -- Matt Brunson
· SCARY MOVIE 4 2 stars. (PG-13) Anna Faris and Regina Hall reprise their roles yet again for this irreverent, but mostly crude, send up of pop culture, particularly horror movies. Some potentially clever moments of parody fall flat by lampooning material that's long past it's expiration date, especially gags involving a certain Scientologist actor and daytime talk show host. Even moments like Dr. Phil (the real one) severing his own foot (the wrong one) in a send up of Saw II couldn't save this farce. Like an old joke that's been told too many times, the Scary Movie franchise should have been severed after its third installment. -- Keene
· SILENT HILL (R) Despite the protests of her husband (Sean Bean), a frightened mother (Radha Mitchell) takes her gravely ill daughter to the otherworldly ghost town of Silent Hill in search of a cure. This style-drenched horror flick was written by Pulp Fiction co-scripter Roger Avary.
· SLITHER (R) Serenity's Nathan Fillion stars in this comedic gore fest about a small town overrun by a zombie plague. Writer/director James Gunn wrote the Dawn of the Dead remake and the Scooby Doo live action movies.
· TAKE THE LEAD (PG-13) Antonio Banderas plays a former professional dancer who volunteers to teach dance in the New York public school system in this inspirational-teacher flick with Alfre Woodard and Ray Liotta.
· THANK YOU FOR SMOKING 4 stars. (R) Aaron Eckhart of In the Company of Men plays Nick Naylor, a proudly unprincipled tobacco lobbyist who tries simultaneously to be a professional liar and a good father. Smoking takes palpable delight at the double-speak of the spin industry -- Nick claims that lobbyists like him stick up for "little guys" like loggers, sweatshop owners and land mine developers -- and features many hilarious set pieces. As Nick weighs being a good role model to his son (Cameron Bright), the film never cops out by giving him a bogus change of heart, and he takes pride in his lack of integrity. -- Holman
· TSOTSI 2 stars. (R) Winner of this year's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Gavin Hood's crime drama tracks the change of heart of a vicious thug (Presley Chweneyagae) after he accidentally kidnaps a baby. For the first 10 minutes, Tsotsi has the street-wise energy of City of God or early Martin Scorsese, but the redemption themes play with a disappointingly heavy hand in Hood's adaptation of the novel by playwright Athol Fugard. -- Holman