Matrix opens to record R-rated crowds

The Matrix: Reloaded
3 stars
Rated R
Directed by The Wachowski Brothers
Starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Ann Moss
As Neo, Trinity and Morpheus continue to do battle with deadly
agents inside The Matrix, the machines have launched a massive
assault on Zion, the last human city on Earth. Further details of
Neo’s prophesy are revealed but to fulfill it, he may have to
choose between ending the war or saving those he loves.
The Matrix: Reloaded

3 stars

Rated R

Directed by The Wachowski Brothers

Starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Ann Moss

As Neo, Trinity and Morpheus continue to do battle with deadly agents inside The Matrix, the machines have launched a massive assault on Zion, the last human city on Earth. Further details of Neo’s prophesy are revealed but to fulfill it, he may have to choose between ending the war or saving those he loves.

Most of the fun of the first Matrix was in discovering the various layers of truth. With those layers revealed, the Wachowskis are left to mostly simple exposition, with some occasional philosophical meandering thrown in for good measure. Fortunately, there is so much mind-blowing action that you probably won’t notice what the story lacks.

X2: X-Men United

4 stars

Rated PG-13

Directed By Bryan Singer

Starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen

A mutant attack on the White House provides the perfect excuse for a rogue military scientist to assault Dr. Xavier’s School for the Exceptionally Gifted. When it is discovered that the scientist plans to exterminate all mutants, the X-Men forge an alliance with their old nemesis, Magneto.

Director Singer successfully navigates several tricky tightropes in the second installment of this comic book saga; he punches up the action several levels without sacrificing his narrative, he adds new characters while continuing to develop roles he’s previously introduced and, most importantly, retains elements important to fans of the comics, without losing the rest of us. Great summer fare.

Daddy Day Care

2 stars

Rated PG

Starring Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin

Directed by Steve Carr

Unemployment and the high cost of day care drive two stay-at-home dads to open up their own preschool. Hyperactive toddlers are the least of their worries when a rival day care tries to have them shut down.

If you’ve got kids that are just a little too young for X2 or The Matrix: Reloaded, you need to face facts: you will probably be seeing this movie. Your toddlers will delight at the “daddys” being overwhelmed by screaming rugrats, while you wonder what happened to that really funny guy from 48 Hours.

Anger Management

1 star

Rated PG-13

Directed by Peter Segal

Starring Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson

After a misunderstanding on a plane flight, Dave (Sandler) is ordered to undergo anger management therapy with the unorthodox Dr. Buddy Rydell (Nicholson). Dave quickly learns that the cure is much worse than the disease when Buddy moves in with him as part of his treatment.

Any promise that Sandler showed in “Punch Drunk Love” is quickly dissipated in this appallingly unfunny film. Sandler’s tired shtick is combined with Nicholson’s worn out “wild man” routine in a variety of moderately amusing scenarios resulting in a sum less than the whole of its parts.

Identity

3 stars

Rated R

Directed by James Mangold

Starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Ray Liotta

After a violent rainstorm leaves the roads washed out, 10 strangers are stranded in a backwater Nevada motel. As they are gruesomely murdered one by one, the survivors race to find the identity of the killer among them.

A truly fresh horror film that will leave you guessing (mostly unsuccessfully) right up until the final frame. The frequency and intensity at which the body count adds up may turn off the less desensitized viewer, but everyone else should enjoy this original and well-crafted thriller.

Holes

4 stars

Rated PG

Directed by Andrew Davis

Starring Shia LeBeouf, Jon Voight, Sigourney Weaver

It appears that it’s Stanley Yelnats’ turn to face his family’s curse of bad luck when a pair of stolen sneakers drops from the sky and lands him in a juvenile detention camp. While the minders of the sadistic camp maintain that endlessly digging holes inthe desert sun is good for building the boys’ characters, Stanley begins to suspect that they may have a different motive.

With a script that stays true to Louis Sachar’s popular 1998 pre-teen novel, “Holes” is well-acted, well-written and engaging enough to capture and maintain the interest of any viewer, regardless of age. Weaver and Voight nicely fill out the bad guy roles, while newcomer LeBeouf plays the good kid without being cloying. Fun for everyone.

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