Originally created 01/30/05

At the Movies: capsule reviews of new films



Capsule reviews of films opening this week:

"Alone in the Dark" - Tara Reid plays a character who's described in the movie's production notes as "a brilliant anthropologist." And it's not even a comedy! At least, it's not trying to be a comedy. It is, however, extremely funny at times - when it's not muddled or deafening. This messy action flick, based on a video game, is sort of an inept cross between the "Alien" movies and the Indiana Jones trilogy. Christian Slater plays a paranormal investigator looking for artifacts belonging to an ancient tribe. He and Reid and a team of heavily armed troops (led by Stephen Dorff) fight off monsters who were let loose when the gate was ripped open between the forces of good and evil. Or something. R for violence and language. 96 min. One star out of four.

- Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

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"Hide and Seek" - What is Robert De Niro thinking? The question is being posed not with condescension or derision - though that's probably how it sounds - but with curiosity and concern. When he makes a movie like "Hide and Seek" - essentially a B-horror flick with the benefit of a high-quality cast - is he doing it for a change of pace? Certainly the first two-thirds of this generically titled thriller are engrossing enough, chock full of good, old-fashioned scary movie images and ideas. De Niro plays a New York City psychologist who takes his daughter (Dakota Fanning) to a dinky town upstate after the suicide of his wife (Amy Irving). He hopes she'll come out of her frequently stoic state to make new friends. She already has: His name is Charlie, and he's presumably imaginary. Then the bodies start piling up, and the weakness of the script really comes to a head. R for frightening sequences and violence. 105 min. One and a half stars out of four.

- Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

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"Aliens of the Deep" - James Cameron goes down with the ship, again, in his latest 3-D IMAX extravaganza. The "Titanic" director, who previously married his loves of filmmaking and underwater exploration in the 2003 documentary "Ghosts of the Abyss," takes his high-tech toys and a team of scientists and dives deep one more time. The results are frequently dazzling and sometimes even amusing, especially when creatures jump out at you from the screen. It's all fascinating, and it makes you wish the film lasted longer than 47 minutes. But the movie can be a little repetitive in its message that exploring the sea is crucial to studying the solar system, and we could have done with less Cameron on camera. G. 47 min. Two and a half stars out of four.

- Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic