NEW THIS WEEK
'ALIEN VS. PREDATOR'
ss Two of moviedom's most menacing monsters square off in Antarctica, where an ancient pyramid is discovered. With Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen and Ewen Bremner. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. (PG-13) for violence, language, horror images, slime and gore; at Cinema South, Austintown Commons 10, Boulevard Centre, Hermitage, Salem Twin Cinema, Westgate.
'AMERICA'S HEART AND SOUL'
sssThis unabashedly feel-good movie by director Louis Schwartzberg is packed with substance beneath its glossy surface. The collective spirit of these portraits makes for an uplifting infomercial on the limitless variations of the American dream. The profiles all were shot before the Sept. 11 attacks, so there is no trace of the dark cloud of terrorism. (G); at Austintown Movies 3.
s De-lousy. Cole Porter, played by the appealing if miscast Kevin Kline, was a matrix of contradictions. He was a barely closeted, vigorously sexual gay man who nonetheless seemed to find some kind of happiness with his marriage. More important, Porter composed countless classics that wed popular music to lyrics ranging from naughty to nice. He was a phenomenal talent, a national treasure, and he deserves better. (PG-13) for sexual content; at Cinema South, Boulevard Centre.
'PRINCESS DIARIES 2:ROYAL ENGAGEMENT'
ss Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway) trades in her tiara for the Genovian crown but first must find a husband. With Heather Matarazzo, Hector Elizondo, Caroline Goodall, John Rhys-Davies, Callum Blue, Chris Pine and Julie Andrews. Directed by Garry Marshall. (G); at Cinema South, Austintown Commons 10, Boulevard Centre, Elm Road Drive-In, Hermitage, Salem Twin Cinema, Westgate.
sss A boy is caught up in a trading card game that offers more than mere fun -- the fate of the world is at stake. Directed by Ryosuke Takahashi. (PG) for scary combat and monster images; at Austintown Commons 10, Boulevard Centre, Hermitage, Tinseltown, Westgate.
LAST WEEK'S TOP 10
'THE BOURNE SUPREMACY'
sss Seamlessly resuming the tale of the amnesiac assassin from "The Bourne Identity," Matt Damon's sequel overcomes a couple of distracting flaws to deliver another solid thrill ride. (PG-13) for violence and intense action and for brief language; at Austintown Commons 10, Boulevard Centre, Cinema South, Hermitage, Westgate.
s 1/2 If the "Spider-Man" movies represent all that can be wondrous and inspiring in a comic book adaptation, "Catwoman" represents the absolute worst. It's cinema for the attention span-challenged -- a soulless amalgamation of quick edits, computer imagery and swooping, nausea-inducing dolly shots. (PG-13) for action, violence and some sensuality; at Austintown Commons 10, Westgate.
'A CINDERELLA STORY'
s 1/2 Hilary Duff stars in a dreary fairy-tale update that casts Cinderella as a modern Valley Girl who leaves behind a cell phone rather than a glass slipper for her Prince Charming to find. (PG) for mild language and innuendo; at Boulevard Centre, Tinseltown.
ssss Skillfully directed by Michael Mann and featuring strong work by Jamie Foxx as a night shift cab driver and Tom Cruise as his all-night hit-man passenger, this exciting thriller examines the vast disconnected physical blackness that is Los Angeles at night as well as the murkier aspects of its characters' souls. (R) for violence and language; at Austintown Commons 10, Boulevard Centre, Elm Road Drive-In, Hermitage, Tinseltown, Boulevard Centre, Westgate.
'HAROLD & amp; KUMAR GOTO WHITE CASTLE'
s 1/2 Director Danny Leiner wallows in the same infantile turf as his mini-hit "Dude, Where's My Car?" With smarts and lucidity, Harold and Kumar are a cut above the stoner pals of "Dude," but Leiner and screenwriters Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg put them through a mostly witless rigamarole of pratfalls and rank sight gags. (R) for strong language, sexual content, drug use and some crude humor; not playing here.
ss 1/2 "I, Robot" is another summer blockbuster starring Will Smith -- a slick, shiny video game of a movie, bursting with computer-generated chase scenes and cool gadgets, though under the direction of Alex Proyas ("The Crow") it also has a darkly apocalyptic visual scheme. (PG-13) for intense stylized action and some brief partial nudity; at Austintown Commons 10, Boulevard Centre, Elm Road Drive-In, Tinseltown, Westgate.
'LITTLE BLACK BOOK'
ss "Little Black Book" starts out very much like "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" or "My Best Friend's Wedding," comedies in which women do unpleasant things to get guys, but it turns into something weirder and more truthful. There's a conflict between its lovers (Brittany Murphy and Ron Livingston). She stalks all the exes listed in his little black book when he goes on a business trip. But the movie gets stronger as it goes, acknowledging that nice people don't always behave nicely. (PG-13) for language; at Austintown Commons 10, Boulevard Centre, Cinema South, Hermitage, Westgate.
'THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE'
ss Jonathan Demme disappoints with his update of the 1962 thriller about brainwashed soldiers as puppets in an assassination conspiracy, despite first-rate performances from Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep and Liev Schreiber. (R) for violence and some language; at Austintown Commons 10, Boulevard Centre, Cinema South, Hermitage, Westgate.
sss 1/2 "With great power comes great responsibility" was the tag line for the first "Spider-Man" picture, and now it forms the basis for Sam Raimi's breathtaking and emotionally satisfying sequel, "Spider-Man 2," a comic-book movie par excellence. Spidey (Tobey Maguire) deals with duality as college student Peter Parker and the superhero. (PG-13) for stylized action violence; at Austintown Commons 10, Boulevard Centre, Hermitage, Tinseltown, Westgate.
ssss M. Night Shyamalan delivers his best work yet with this fright flick about a pioneer village cut off from the world by woods that harbor terrifying creatures. (PG-13) for a scene of violence and frightening situations; at Austintown Commons 10, Boulevard Centre, Elm Road Drive-In, Hermitage, Tinseltown, Westgate.
'AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS'
s 1/2 In this disappointing and fussy adaptation of Jules Verne's classic novel, Jackie Chan joins an eccentric inventor (Steve Coogan) who accepts a bet that he can circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. (PG) for crude humor, action violence; at Cinemark, Elm Road Drive-In.
ssss Richard Linklater finds Ethan Hawke's and Julie Delpy's "Before Sunrise" characters nine years on, and lets them walk and talk through Paris, the clock ticking, as they catch up on each other's lives and wonder whether they've just been given a second chance. Full of talk that's funny and real, dumb and sweet, the picture is, quite simply, wonderful. (R) for profanity, adult themes; at Austintown Movies 3.
ss Michael Moore attempts to tell us why we're in Iraq, but his movie skims over subjects. That makes "Fahrenheit" more of a drive-by than a deep, direct hit. (R) for violent scenes; at Austintown Movies 3, Cinema South.
ssss This love story deals in clich & eacute;s and hits you where you're most vulnerable. But it may be the most effective weepie since the film version of "The Bridges of Madison County." (PG-13) for some sexuality; at Cinema South.
'THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK'
s 1/2 Vin Diesel reprises his intergalactic muscleman sourpuss role from the 2000 sci-fi sleeper "Pitch Black," but this time out the results are less "Alien and "Mad Max" and more "Dune" and "Stargate." That is, kind of bad -- and really dumb. (PG-13) for violence, profanity; at Cinemark.
'THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW'
ss 1/2 A global warming disaster movie of epic proportions, with Planet Earth rapidly -- and unexpectedly -- entering a new Ice Age. The special effects are cool and convincing, but the plot twists are pure old-school corn. (PG-13) for world chaos, violence and peril; at Cinemark.
'DODGEBALL: A TRUEUNDERDOG STORY'
ss Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller's comedy is little more than an elongated TV skit, though it provides some genuine laughs. Nice-guy slacker Vaughn and bullying rival Stiller are competing gym owners whose teams square off in a dodge-ball showdown. (PG-13) for rude and sexual humor and language; at Cinemark.
'GARFIELD: THE MOVIE'
ss Because Bill Murray supplies the voice of the fat cat, "Garfield: The Movie," based on the title of the Jim Davis comic strip, is mildly amusing. One could say the same about gallows humor. (PG) for profanity; at Cinemark.
'METALLICA: SOMEKIND OF MONSTER'
sss Though Metallica fans will know the bare bones of the ending, there are twists and turns in this novel rockumentary. The "Monster" turns out to be the band members themselves. The filmmakers capture the struggle as the musicians try to work as a collective than as individuals. Not rated, but contains strong language; at Austintown Movies 3.
ss 1/2 A slightly condescending but ultimately winning look at a geeky young man (Jon Heder) growing up weird in Idaho. Moments of real humor collide with moments in which director Jared Hess strains to be this year's winner in the geek-chic sweepstakes. (PG); at Cinema South.
'THE STEPFORD WIVES'
ss Network exec Joanna (Nicole Kidman) is fired and wakes up with a Prozac hangover in the Connecticut hamlet of Stepford. This uneven satire based on the 1975 sci-fi thriller suggests that Joanna is a candidate for reprogramming by milquetoast men who've had it with the way overachieving women run things. (PG-13) for profanity, sexual candor; at Cinemark.
'SUPER SIZE ME'
sss 1/2 Fit and hale filmmaker Morgan Spurlock puts himself on a nothing-but-McDonald's diet for an entire month in this very funny and very scary look at America's fast-food culture and the impact it's having on our health and on Spurlock's sanity. Not rated but contains operating room scene and strong language; at Cinemark.
sss 1/2 Loosely based on Homer's "The Iliad," director Wolfgang Petersen's suitably brawny action-adventure is steeped in heroic grandeur and so magnificently appointed that 1200 B.C. comes alive onscreen as never before. Starring Eric Bana, Brendan Gleeson, Brian Cox, Peter O'Toole and Brad Pitt. (R) for graphic violence and sexuality/nudity; at Cinemark.
sss Part nature tour and part cautionary tale, "Two Brothers" stands as an intriguing story about twin tigers living dangerously in Southeast Asia during the 1920s. (PG); at Cinemark.
Combined wire services