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MOVIE: In Review


145;The Wild&

lacks a strong story &

150; even for kids

Some have referred to &

The Wild&

as &


redux. But all comparisons aside, this is a disappointing film. Where Disney was once known for its magical storytelling, it is now the creator of computer animated &

145;toons that have been reduced to lots of noise and action with little narrative. The dialogue is also clearly geared for those parents who are seated next to the little guys, with vocabulary and winking references that no 6-year-old could even begin to comprehend.

At the heart of the film is the relationship between Samson, the lion, and his son, Ryan. Ryan is waiting to get his roar and believes that he needs to be in the wild to find it. Feeling rebellious, he stows away on a cargo ship and ends up in Africa. Samson is determined to find his son and pull off a rescue. He takes along his friends: a koala bear, an anaconda, a squirrel, and a giraffe. At first they wander through NYC, then hijack a tug boat and follow Ryan&

s container ship across the Atlantic.

Kids are never going to be hyper critical of CGI films such as this; they&

ll sit and watch, and only get restless if the dialogue goes on for too long.

But Disney never secured its place in the pantheon of entertainment by underestimating children. And that is exactly what they do in &

The Wild.&

Kids can handle stories that are challenging and close to their life experiences. They don&

t crave just bells and whistles and lots of motion. In the end they want to be told a credible and moving story (in this they&

re not all that different from their parents). It&

s what they ask for every night before they drop off to sleep. Disney has abandoned this premise, and it&

s a shame.

MOVIES: Now Playing

The Wild

When a young lion is taken from his home in a zoo to the wild, his father leads a group of zoo animals - including a giraffe, an anaconda, a koala and a squirrel &

on a rescue mission. Voice talents of Kiefer Sutherland, Jim Belushi, Eddie Izzard, Janeane Garofalo, William Shatner.

G/85 min.

Take the Lead

A professional dancer volunteers to teach in the New York City public school system. When his classic methods clash with his students&

hip hop instincts, he teams up with them to create a new style of dance. Antonio Banderas, Alfre Woodard, Rob Brown.

PG-13 for thematic material, language and some violence/117 min.

Ice Age 2: The Meltdown

The Ice Age is coming to an end, and the animals are delighting in a melting paradise of water parks, geysers and tar pits. But when Manny and friends discover that a glacial dam is about to break and flood their valley, they must warn everyone and figure out a way to escape the coming deluge. Voice talents of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Dennis Leary, Drea de Matteo, Queen Latifah.

PG for some mild language/91 min.

American Dreamz

On the morning of his re-election, the President decides to read the newspaper for the first time in four years. He begins reading obsessively, re-examining his black and white view of the world, holing up in his bedroom. Frightened by this turn of events, his Chief of Staff pushes him back into the spotlight by booking him as a guest judge on the television ratings juggernaut, the weekly talent show &

American Dreamz.&

Written and Directed by Paul Weitz (&

In Good Company,&


About a Boy&

) Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaid, Mandy Moore, Marcia Gay Harden, Chris Klein, Willen Dafoe.

PG-13 for brief strong language and some sexual references/108 min.

Scary Movie 4

They're back, this time with send-ups of "War of the Worlds", "Grudge", Village, the "Saw" films, "Million Dollar Baby" and more. In this one, dim-witted Cindy and her sex-crazed pal Brenda are joined by clueless Tom to save the world from a ruthless alien invasion.

Anna Faris, Regina Hall, Simon Rex, Leslie Nielsen, Anthony Anderson, Lin Baker, Craig Bierko, and various cameos.

PG-13 for crude and sexual humor throughout, some comic violence and language/85 min.

Silent Hill

A woman flees with her daughter to the eerie and deserted ghost town of Silent Hill, unable to accept a doctor's diagnosis that her child should be permanently institutionalized. Laurie Holden, Sean Bean, Radha Mitchell.

R for strong horror violence and gore, disturbing images and some language/119 min.


When a colleague is murdered, the Secret Service agent in charge of the investigation comes under suspicion himself when he's blackmailed for his affair with the First Lady. Crime drama based on the novel by Gerald Petievich. Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland, Eva Longoria, Kim Basinger.

PG-13 for some intense action violence and a scene of sensuality/108 min.

Friends with Money

The shifting relationships between four women who have been friends all of their adult lives. Now as they settle into their early middle age, their friendship is increasingly challenged by the ever-growing disparity in their individual degrees of financial comfort. Jennifer Aniston, Joan Cusack, Catherine Keener, Francis McDormand.

Rated R for language, some sexual content and brief drug use/88 min.

Thank You for Smoking

Nick Naylor, chief spokesman for Big Tobacco, makes his living defending the rights of smokers and cigarette makers. Confronted by health zealots out to ban tobacco, and an opportunistic senator who wants to put poison labels on cigarette packs, Nick goes on a PR offensive. Aaron Eckhart, Robert Duvall, Katie Holmes.

R for language and some sexual content/92 min.