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Week of November 2, 2005

Chicken Little. (G) On select screens, Chicken Little will be presented in "Disney Digital 3-D," a brand-new system created with George Lucas' special-effects team. It's revolutionary! It's state of the art! It's . . . not being screened in this format prior to opening day. Watching the movie in 2-D when it was clearly conceived with an extra dimension in mind is like watching a porno with all the naked parts trimmed out -- you can tell when something exciting is supposed to happen, but have to imagine what you thought you were going to see. What ensues is a lame alien invasion story featuring the famously paranoid Chicken (voiced by Zach Braff) and friends Abby "Ugly Duckling" Mallard (Joan Cusack), Runt of the Litter (Steve Zahn), and Fish Out of Water (Dan Molina). If Chicken Little were in 3-D, shown in a theme park as you sit in motion simulators, the lame gags might not be so much of a problem. (Luke Y. Thompson) ARN, CGX, CW10, CC12, DP, EG, EQ, J14, MR, OF, RON, SP, STCH, STCL, WO

Jarhead. (R) Director Sam Mendes and writer William Broyles Jr.'s adaptation of Anthony Swofford's 2003 Gulf War memoir plays like a DJ's mash-up of Full Metal Jacket and Three Kings, and by all means feel free to consider it a one-war-removed commentary about the imbroglio in Iraq. But ultimately it's about nothing more than the crippling tedium of anticipated battle, the madness brought on by endless days spent waiting for that one second when you kill or get killed. Swofford, a reader of comics and Camus played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is our wry, rational guide through this mine field, and he tells the tale as if to prove one doesn't need a tangible enemy in order to lose his shit. But Jarhead, which also stars Jamie Foxx as the sergeant who loathes the boredom of battle but loves the job, can't be dismissed as derivative. It may feel familiar, but it's a bleak and profound piece of work, a war film in which the only American casualties shown are those destroyed from the inside out. (Robert Wilonsky) ARN, CGX, CC12, DP, EQ, GL, J14, KEN, MR, MOO, OF, SP, STCH, STCL, WO

Keane. (R) The protagonist of Lodge Kerrigan's deeply moving, uncomfortably intimate portrait of madness wanders around New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal searching for his lost, six-year-old daughter, muttering to himself, shouting at the air. But has the girl really been abducted? Does she exist at all? Kerrigan (Clean, Shaven) leaves the burning question unanswered, which is just as well. Meanwhile, director of photography John Foster jams his jittery, handheld camera into the face, the ears, and the stooped shoulders of the frighteningly intense actor Damian Lewis (Major Winters in HBO's Band of Brothers), who transmits guilt and grief (and delusion?) with exhausting power. It's a great feat of movie acting. Amy Ryan co-stars as the single mother Keane helps out at their gloomy welfare hotel in New Jersey, and little Abigail Breslin is the child who becomes, dangerously, the demon-plagued Keane's surrogate daughter. (Bill Gallo) TV

Shopgirl. (R) Reviewed in this issue. CPP, CGX, DP, OF, PF, RON, STCH, WO

The Squid and the Whale. (R) Reviewed in this issue. TV

 
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