Yes, "Goldmember" is silly, pointless and filled with nonstop sexual innuendo, and that's why you'll want to see it. ***
"K-19: The Widowmaker"
Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson are Soviet commanding officers at odds with one another during the maiden voyage of a Cold-War era of a "cursed" nuclear submarine. Though long and often ponderous, "K-19,"once it builds up steam, is a rousing tale of honor, duty and personal courage. Ill-equipped and ill-trained, the crew of K-19 are on a mission of supreme importance to Mother Russia. But when the sub's subpar reactor threatens a nuclear meltdown, everyone onboard becomes focused on the same goal survival. Although the plot plays out like every other military movie since movies and wars began, "K-19" offers some terrific underwater effects. While it ain't no "Das Boot," Ford, Neeson and director Kathryn Bigelow do their best to keep us riveted. ***
"The Country Bears"
This latest kiddie-charmer from Disney is based on of all things the popular animatronic Country Bear Jamboree exhibits at its theme parks. Mixing live actors with animatronic characters (actors in bear suits), the movie follows 11-year-old Beary Barrington (voiced by Haley Joel Osment) as he searches for his roots. You see, Beary lives with an adoring human family, but he knows something doesn't fit. When his older human brother tells Beary that he's what's different and doesn't fit in, the young cub runs off to find his heroes, the now-disbanded group The Country Bears. Whether it's the country music or just the nature of bears, there's a certain lackadaisical ease to the movie that seems to lessen the overt silliness and sappiness. With cameos from the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Elton John and Queen Latifah as well as John Hiatt's genre-mixing soundtrack, "The Country Bears" is a toe-tapping, warm-and-fuzzy delight for kids. ***
"The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys"
Based on the 1994 cult novel by the late Chris Fuhrman, this big-screen adaptation is a subtle comic gem. Almost picaresque in nature, it follows the exploits of two altar boys, Francis (Emile Hirsch) and Tim (Kiernan Culkin). Although the dangers faced by these two parochial-school rascals are largely self-created, their good-natured mischief takes a tragic turn once puberty sets in. The bane of their existence is one Sister Assumpta (Jodie Foster), a nun they dub "Nunzilla" in their homegrown comic book, "The Atomic Trinity," (drawn by "Spawn" creator, Todd McFarlane). Part coming-of-age drama; animated comic-book adventure; sweet, but dark '70s style teen romance; Catholic-school caper; and, even ghost story, watching "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" can be confounding. Without Foster's performance and McFarlane's incredible animation, "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" would be just another tale of adolescent angst. But with them, the result is almost heavenly. ***
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