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It's finally happened. The Walt Disney Studio, which pioneered hand-drawn animation, has made its first fully animated computer feature, "Chicken Little." Is the sky falling? No tears need be shed: This fast and funny comedy, which will be shown in digital 3-D in select theaters, demonstrates that Disney can survive quite well without Pixar. The visuals are irrepressibly witty and so is the script, which morphs from the classic fable into a spoof on "War of the Worlds." I prefer this version to Spielberg's. Grade: A-Skip to next paragraph
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Director: Mikhal Håfström. With Jennifer Aniston, Clive Owen. (100 min.)
"Derailed" is a penny dreadful with A-list stars. Clive Owen, who really should have tried harder to be cast as the next James Bond, plays a Chicago ad executive who meets a magnetically friendly commuter, played by Jennifer Aniston, on the morning train to work. Though both are married with children, they soon find themselves booking a seedy hotel room. Enter Vincent Cassel, who one might think had his fill of this kind of thing after starring in "Irréversible." What happens next shall remain a secret, but here's a hint: Retribution awaits. Here's another: Stay home. Grade: C
Sex/Nudity: 6 scenes. Violence: 10 scenes including rape. Profanity: 86 harsh expressions. Drugs: 8 scenes with smoking. 9 scenes with drinking.
Director: Jim Sheridan. With 50 Cent, Joy Bryant, Terrence Howard. (134 min.)
Lightning didn't strike twice. Eminem made an improbably strong movie debut in "8 Mile" but now there's "Get Rich or Die Tryin'", which stars his rapper protégé Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. I had high hopes - its director is Jim Sheridan ("My Left Foot," "In America"); and Terence Howard, who's on a roll, has a meaty part in it. But this thinly autobiographical gangsta odyssey never achieves liftoff, and Jackson is unconvincing. Even if you are playing (essentially) yourself, it helps if you're an actor first. Grade: C-
Sex/Nudity: 11 scenes including nudity and sex Violence: 19 scenes, including torture. Profanity: 295 harsh expressions. Drugs: 5 scenes with drinking, 7 scenes with smoking, and 11 scenes with drug use or selling.
Director: Joe Wright. With Keira Knightley, Judi Dench, Matthew Macfadyen. (135 min.)
One of the great romances in the canon, Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" has been adapted for TV five times but only once before as a movie. If young audiences respond to director Wright's version, set in the late 18th century, it will be because he has brought out the vigor in Austen's romance in a way that the other adaptations never quite accomplished. Keira Knightley triumphantly comes into her own as Elizabeth, the heroine. Grade: A
Sex/Nudity: 3 scenes of mild innuendo. Violence: None. Profanity: None. Drugs: 8 scenes with drinking. 1 scene with smoking.
Director: Martin Campbell. With Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones. (100 min.)
"The Legend of Zorro" made me long to re-watch "Zorro the Gay Blade," the spoof starring George Hamilton. In that film, the Spanish accents sound deliberately fake. Here, even Banderas has a hard time sounding authentic. Zorro's nemesis, a French aristocrat, plans to blow up America. He seems to be under the misapprehension that Zorro is James Bond. Grade: C-
Director: Jon Favreau. With Tim Robbins, Frank Oz, Jonah Bobo. (113 min.)
Two squabbling brothers, home alone for a few minutes, find an old board game in the basement with mysterious, not to mention dangerous, properties. Once the duo sets the game in motion, they not only find their home adrift in outer space, but also have to learn teamwork to cope with a demented robot and attacks by Zorgons (meat-eating, pyromaniac lizard-men). Here, appropriately retro effects and family values outweigh an episodic script. After the screening, a preteen next to this critic asked his mom, "Why did you think I wouldn't like this?" There's your endorsement. Grade: B-
- M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 1 instance of mild innuendo. Violence: 15 scenes. Profanity: 5 mild expressions. Drugs: None.