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"Zathura" Jordan Landing
"Zathura" Jordan Landing
Columbia Pictures Industries Inc.

NEW FILMS FRIDAY

CHICKEN LITTLE — *** — More clever than funny, this digitally animated feature does have a peculiar, goofy sweetness to it. Zach Braff voices the title character. Running time: 80 minutes. G (animated violence, vulgarity).

GOD'S ARMY 2: STATES OF GRACE — *** 1/2 — Equal parts drama and thriller, Richard Dutcher's nervy follow-up to his 2000 hit goes much further in exploring the fairly weighty concepts of faith and redemption than the first film. Running time: 128 minutes. PG-13 (violence, brief gore).

GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK. — *** 1/2 — George Clooney's fact-based drama about CBS News during the 1950s' "Red Scare" is probably the best feature film made about journalism since 1976's "All the President's Men. Black and white. Running time: 93 minutes. PG (profanity, racial epithets).

JARHEAD — ** —This overly familiar war drama is reminiscent of other, better movies, especially "Full Metal Jacket." Jake Gyllenhaal stars. Running time: 118 minutes. R (profanity, violence, vulgarity, sex, nudity, brief drugs, racial epithets).

NEW YORK DOLL — *** 1/2 — Writer-director Greg Whiteley's fascinating and moving musical documentary examines the life of late glam-punk musician and LDS Church convert Arthur "Killer" Kane. Running time: 77 minutes. PG-13 (drugs, profanity).

THE PRIZE WINNER OF DEFIANCE, OHIO — ** 1/2 — Julianne Moore's performance as another harried housewife is the ultimate reward of this uneven adaptation of Terry Ryan's greeting-card memoir. Running time: 99 minutes. PG-13 (profanity). — Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Daily News

SHOPGIRL — ** 1/2 — Jason Schwartzman steals the show as a goofy suitor in this uneven adaptation of Steve Martin's novel. Martin and Claire Danes star. Running time: 106 minutes. R (sex, vulgarity, brief drugs, brief partial nudity).

TONY TAKITANI — *** — Adapted from a Haruki Murakami short story, this biographical drama may seem simple, but it is hardly slight. Japanese with subtitles. Running time: 75 minutes. Not rated, probable PG-13 (profanity). — Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe

NEW FILM WEDNESDAY

GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN' — Rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson stars as a drug dealer with aspirations of a musical career in this dramatic thriller, which is loosely based on some of his own experiences. To be reviewed when it opens next week. R (violence, profanity, drugs, sex, nudity).

SNEAK PREVIEW

ZATHURA — Director Jon Favreau's follow-up to "Elf" is this fantasy about two boys who find a board game that takes them on an outer-space adventure. To be reviewed when it opens next week. PG (violence, vulgarity, mild profanity). (Saturday, Century, Jordan Landing.)

MIDNIGHT MOVIES

RAGING BULL — *** —Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning 1980 biography of boxer Jake La Motta features a powerful lead performance by Robert De Niro, who gained more than 50 pounds to play the controversial prizefighter. Black and white. R (violence, profanity, gore, vulgarity). (Tonight, Saturday and Monday, Tower.)

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL — A festival featuring documentaries selected by the international human-rights organization, including the documentary "Pulled From the Rubble." A schedule is available at www.slcfilmcenter.org. See story on Page W7. (Today, 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 12:30 p.m.; and Sunday, noon; Salt Lake City Library.)

CHICKEN LITTLE 3D — Select theaters are showing the animated film in the new Disney Digital 3D format. (Megaplex 17.)

HELLBENT — Billed as the first "gay slasher film," this independently made horror film follows several West Hollywood residents who are stalked by a killer. Running time: 85 minutes. Not rated, probable R (violence, sex, nudity, drugs, profanity). (Through Thursday: Trolley Square.)

NEW WORLD BORDER — A 2001 documentary examining reports of human-rights abuses on the U.S.-Mexican border. Spanish with subtitles. This film is not rated but may feature some PG-13 rated content. (Monday, 7 p.m., Salt Lake City Library.)

THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC — Maria Falconetti plays the martyred 15th-century saint in Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1928 biographical drama. Running time: 82 minutes. Black and white. Live musical accompaniment. Made before ratings, probable PG (violence). (Tonight, 7:30 p.m., Organ Loft.)

PENTIMENTO OF THE PAST — Documentary feature examining the recovery and restoration of the medieval Jewish Quarter of Segovia, Spain. This program is not rated but may feature some PG-rated content. (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Wagner Jewish Community Center.)

PLAN 10 FROM OUTER SPACE — ** — Director Trent Harris' broad sci-fi spoof of Mormons and Utah culture runs out of steam about halfway through, but there are some amusing moments, including a rap/rock version of an LDS hymn. Not rated, probable PG-13 (sex, profanity, nudity, vulgarity, violence). (Tonight, 9:30 p.m., Tower.)

THE SALT LAKE FREEDOM FILM AND STORYTELLING FESTIVAL — Intended to celebrate "the nobility in liberty," the festival includes screenings of the holiday classic "It's a Wonderful Life." A schedule of events is available at www.fortdouglas.org. (Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Fort Douglas, University of Utah.)

SOME LIKE IT HOT — **** — Director Billy Wilder's classic 1959 cross-dressing comedy starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe is still a hoot. Black and white. Running time: 120 minutes. PG (violence, vulgarity). (Tuesday, 10 a.m., SCERA, Orem, for seniors only.)

SPY HOP PITCH-NIC AUCTION — A special fund-raiser for the Spy Hop program, which teaches filmmaking techniques to at-risk youth. Included are screenings of past Spy Hop-produced works. This program is not rated but may feature some PG-13 rated content. (Monday, 7 p.m., Tower.)

YESTERDAY — Made-for-pay-cable drama about a young Zulu mother who discovers she is HIV-positive. Zulu with subtitles. Running time: 96 minutes. R (profanity). (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Salt Lake City Library.)

LARGE-FORMAT FILMS

ADRENALINE RUSH: THE SCIENCE OF RISK — ** 1/2 —This adventure can't decide if it's a documentary or an "extreme-sports" travelog. Running time: 40 minutes. Not rated, probable G (nothing offensive). (Tonight and Saturday, 10 and 11 p.m., Clark Planetarium.) — Ivan M. Lincoln

ALIENS OF THE DEEP — ** 1/2 — James Cameron's latest 3-D IMAX extravaganza about undersea exploration could do with less of him on camera. Running time: 47 minutes. G (nothing offensive). — Christy Lemire, Associated Press

BATMAN BEGINS — *** — Director Christopher Nolan's involving but darker superhero remake is the best of the big-screen adventures featuring the Caped Crusader (Christian Bale). Running time: 140 minutes. PG-13 (violence, drugs, profanity).

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY — *** 1/2 — In many respects, Tim Burton's inventive, visually rich fantasy about a tour of a mysterious candy factory is faithful to Roald Dahl's source material. Johnny Depp stars. Running time: 110 minutes. PG (slapstick violence, vulgarity, mild profanity).

INTO THE DEEP —*** —One of the first IMAX films, this underwater documentary is a visual treat, stunningly photographed and always entertaining. Running time: 35 minutes. Not rated, probable G (nothing offensive).— Joe Baltake, Sacramento Bee

THE LIVING SEA — *** — Even for the landlocked, this large-screen documentary about the ocean resonates, reminding us that we're like so many fish in a school. Running time: 40 minutes. Not rated, probable G (nothing offensive). — Diane Urbani

MAGNIFICENT DESOLATION: WALKING ON THE MOON 3D — *** 1/2 — This IMAX mini-feature on manned space missions is as entertaining as it is educational. Narrated by Tom Hanks. Running time: 40 minutes. Not rated, probable G (nothing offensive).

WILD SAFARI 3D: A SOUTH AFRICAN ADVENTURE — *** — This cinematic safari's simple pleasures are best experienced with the littlest ticket-holders, who get a thrill ride and a sense of a wider world. Running time: 45 minutes. Not rated, probable G (nothing offensive). — Ned Martel, New York Times News Service

CONTINUING FILMS

THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN — *** 1/2 — It's extremely raunchy and crude, but this Steve Carell vehicle just might be the funniest movie since "There's Something About Mary." Running time: 116 minutes. R (vulgarity, profanity, sex, nudity, slapstick violence, drugs, brief gore, racial epithets).

THE ARISTOCRATS — ** 1/2 — This sexually profane documentary about the so-called "dirtiest joke ever" is only for those with extremely open minds. Running time: 86 minutes. Not rated, probable NC-17 (profanity, vulgarity, brief drugs).

THE BROTHERS GRIMM — ** 1/2 — Terry Gilliam's dark comic fantasy has its share of good and bad moments.Heath Ledger and Matt Damon star. Running time: 118 minutes. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, mild profanity, torture, gore).

CAPOTE — *** — Philip Seymour Hoffman's Oscar-worthy performance as late author Truman Capote propels this effective, albeit sometimes too-aloof, drama about the true-crime novel "In Cold Blood." Running time: 110 minutes. R (violence, profanity, gore, racial epithets).

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY — See listing under "Large-Format films."

THE CONSTANT GARDENER — ** 1/2 —The chemistry between Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz salvages this muddled dramatic thriller, based on the best-seller by John Le Carre. Running time: 129 minutes. R (profanity, violence, drugs, nudity, sex, vulgarity).

CRY_WOLF — * — Hardened fans of movie splatter may be tossing their drinks at the screen in contempt for this botched, PG-13 slasher film. Running time: 90 minutes. PG-13 (violence, profanity, sex, brief drugs). — Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

DOOM — * 1/2 — Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars in this moronic science-fiction thriller, which is too similar to the smash hit video game it's based on. Running time: 100 minutes. R (violence, gore, profanity, drugs, vulgarity).

DREAMER: INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY — *** — Stars Dakota Fanning and Kurt Russell are both charming in this unassuming but crowd-pleasing, horse-racing drama. Running time: 105 minutes. PG (mild profanity, violence, racial epithets, brief drugs).

ELIZABETHTOWN — ** — Cameron Crowe's latest comedy-drama goes off in a million different directions but winds up going nowhere. Orlando Bloom stars. Running time: 117 minutes. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, violence).

EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED — *** — This quirky adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's best-seller has enough style and laughs to help it overcome its shortcomings. Elijah Wood stars. With subtitles. Running time: 102 minutes. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, violence, gore, ethnic slurs, brief drugs, nude photos).

THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE — ** — More boring than it is scary, this demonic-possession thriller wastes the talents of Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson. Running time: 116 minutes. PG-13 (violence, profanity, drugs, brief gore).

FANTASTIC FOUR —** — Not as horrid as the trailers make it appear, but this superhero adventure is more of a "Mediocre Four." Running time: 110 minutes. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, profanity, brief gore).

FLIGHTPLAN — * 1/2 — This kidnapping thriller completely falls apart in the final third, as it jettisons reason and logic. Jodie Foster stars. Running time: 93 minutes. PG-13 (violence, profanity, brief drugs, vulgarity, racial epithets).

THE FOG — * 1/2 — Like most remakes, this reprise of the 1980 John Carpenter horror film is pretty unnecessary. Tom Welling and Maggie Grace star. Running time: 100 minutes. PG-13 (violence, brief sex). — Christy Lemire, Associated Press

FOUR BROTHERS — * 1/2 —The most deadly flaw of this vicious revenge-thriller is that it only occasionally has a sense of humor. Mark Wahlberg stars. Running time: 108 minutes. R (violence, profanity, gore, vulgarity, racial epithets, brief nudity, brief sex, torture).

THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED — ** 1/2 — Gimmicky filmmaking almost proves to be the undoing of this sports drama, based on the true story of the 1913 U.S. Open Golf Championship. Running time: 115 minutes. PG (mild profanity, violence).

GRIZZLY MAN — *** 1/2 — Director Werner Herzog's documentary profile of animal activist Timothy Treadwell, who was killed by a grizzly bear, is compelling stuff. Running time: 103 minutes. R (profanity, violence, brief drugs, brief gore, vulgarity).

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE — *** — This thriller starring Viggo Mortensen really is violent, but much more effective in the non-violent scenes. Running time: 96 minutes. R (violence, gore, profanity, sex, brief nudity, vulgarity).

IN HER SHOES — *** — Shirley MacLaine steals the show in this well-acted comedy-drama about squabbling sisters (Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette). Running time: 131 minutes. PG-13 (vulgarity, profanity, sex, violence, brief drugs).

JUST LIKE HEAVEN — ** 1/2 — It isn't nearly as funny as it should be, but this comedy-fantasy gets by on the charms of stars Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo. John Heder (a k a "Napoleon Dynamite") has a supporting role. Running time: 102 minutes. PG-13 (profanity, brief drugs, brief partial nudity, vulgarity, violence).

THE LEGEND OF ZORRO — ** — This sequel's propensity for silliness would be forgivable if there wasn't a real nastiness to some of its violence. Antonio Banderas reprises his role as the title character. Running time: 128 minutes. PG (violence, profanity, vulgarity, racial epithets, brief partial nudity).

MARCH OF THE PENGUINS — *** 1/2 — The acclaimed penguin documentary features a life-and-death struggle that's much more compelling than any film so far this year. Running time: 80 minutes. G (animal violence).

MIRRORMASK — *** — The imaginative design goes a long way towards redeeming this somewhat cold and aloof live-action/digital animation hybrid. Running time: 101 minutes. PG (violence).

MOBSTERS AND MORMONS — ** 1/2 — There are a few laughs in this silly, locally made comedy about a Mafia family sent to Utah as part of the Witness Protection Program. Running time: 98 minutes. PG (violence, vulgarity, mild profanity, brief drugs, ethnic slurs).

MUST LOVE DOGS —** 1/2 — It feels like a sitcom, but this romantic comedy starring Diane Lane and John Cusack works as cinematic comfort food. Running time: 98 minutes. PG-13 (vulgarity, profanity, brief sex, slapstick violence).

NORTH COUNTRY — ** 1/2 — Charlize Theron's strong performance bolsters in this heavy-handed drama, inspired by the nation's first class-action, sexual-harassment case. Running time: 123 minutes. R (profanity, vulgarity, rape, violence, sex, brief drugs, brief nudity).

PRIME — ** — Supporting performer Meryl Streep carries the comic load in this romantic comedy starring Uma Thurman. But when Streep disappears for much of the second half, the film suffers. Running time: 105 minutes. PG-13 (vulgarity, profanity, sex, ethnic slurs, slapstick violence).

RED EYE — *** — Wes Craven's air-travel thriller moves so quickly, it covers up some of the bigger plot holes. Rachel McAdams stars. Running time: 85 minutes. PG-13 (violence, profanity, brief gore).

SAW II — * — If anything, this blood-spattered, stomach-churning sequel to last year's serial-killer thriller hit is even more moronic. Running time: 91 minutes. R (gore, violence, profanity, drugs, vulgarity).

SEPARATE LIES — ** — This marital-strife drama is a movie you want to like. But there's scarcely any pleasure. Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson star. Running time: 85 minutes. R (profanity, vulgarity). — Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe

SERENITY — *** — Fans of the canceled science-fiction series "Firefly" will be pleased by this big-screen sequel, though newcomers may be lost. Running time: 119 minutes. PG-13 (violence, brief gore, brief drugs, vulgarity, brief sex).

THE SKELETON KEY — ** —This supernatural suspense-thriller starring Kate Hudson offers fewer scares than it does tiresome Southern stereotypes. Running time: 104 minutes. PG-13 (violence, profanity, drugs, racial epithets, brief partial nudity).

SKY HIGH —*** — The charm eventually wears off of this superhero spoof, but there are a few funny gags. Running time: 98 minutes. PG (violence, mild profanity, mild vulgarity).

TIM BURTON'S CORPSE BRIDE — *** 1/2 — At times this stop-motion animated feature is grotesque, but it's just as often achingly sweet. Johnny Depp stars as one of the voices. Running time: 78 minutes. PG (violence, vulgarity, mild profanity).

TRANSPORTER 2 — * — The first "Transporter" was no great prize, yet it looks like "The French Connection" compared to this laughably awful action sequel. Running time: 88 minutes. PG-13 (violence, sex, partial nudity, profanity). — David Germain, Associated Press

AN UNFINISHED LIFE — ** 1/2 — Every time this drama focuses on Jennifer Lopez, you'll find yourself wishing it would focus on Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman. Running time: 107 minutes. PG-13 (profanity, violence, brief drugs, vulgarity, brief sex).

VALIANT — ** — The laughs are scarce in this winged action comedy. Running time: 80 minutes. G (slapstick violence, vulgarity). — David Germain, Associated Press

WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT — *** 1/2 — Despite some questionable humor, this horror spoof is a welcome return for the clay-animated, human-and-dog duo that has starred in three classic shorts. Running time: 95 minutes. G (vulgarity, violence, mild profanity, brief partial nudity).

WAR OF THE WORLDS — *** — Steven Spielberg's dark and creepy version of the classic alien-invasion tale may be a bit much for very young audiences. Running time: 118 minutes. PG-13 (violence, profanity, brief gore, vulgarity).

THE WEATHER MAN — ** — The four-letter dialogue and crudities only undermine the rest of this dark comedy, which stars Nicolas Cage as the title character. Running time: 102 minutes. R (profanity, vulgarity, violence, brief drugs, brief sex, brief nudity).

WEDDING CRASHERS —** 1/2 — Mixing sappy sentiment with crude sexual material makes this Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughn vehicle about womanizing buddies a sweet-and-salty movie snack. Running time: 119 minutes. R (profanity, vulgarity, sex, violence, nudity, drugs).

THE WORK AND THE GLORY: AMERICAN ZION — ** 1/2 — This dramatic sequel about early LDS Church history (based on LDS General Authority Gerald N. Lund's novels) is more intense and dark, and more quickly paced than the first film. Running time: 100 minutes. PG-13 (violence, torture).