Alone in the Dark Uwe Boll. (R) Stuffed with cheap thrills and familiar special effects, Uwe Boll's lame paranormal thriller (based on the best-selling video game) is about as scary as a Presbyterian bake sale. It stars a distressed-looking Christian Slater as a dauntless investigator of the occult who gets mixed up with an evil scientist (Mathew Walker) who's apparently implanted parasites in twenty orphans' spinal cords. For good measure, there's also a plague of metallic dragon-dog monsters with huge claws and a secret government SWAT team on the prowl for aliens. If that's not enough, the film's three screenwriters also try to work in some dense mumbo-jumbo about a vanished civilization called the Abkani, which is explained by expert anthropologist Tara Reid, who also manages to show us five inches of taut, perfectly tanned midriff. Here is the horror-action genre at its silliest and most uninspired. Opens Friday, January 28, at multiple locations. (Bill Gallo)
The Chorus (Les Choristes) Christophe Barratier. (PG-13) The Sound of Music, Mr. Holland's Opus, Music of the Heart -- once again we're in a feel-good film that unites delinquent kids, a devoted (if professionally frustrated) teacher and the transformative power of music. It's 1949 in France, at a boarding school for wayward boys. The campus is a dungeon, and Principal Rachin (François Berléand) its brutal master. Lockups are de rigueur, as is the constant bark for "Silence!" Snooze. Ten minutes have passed, and you know exactly what's going to happen. Enter Mr. Mathieu (Gérard Jugnot), a kindly teacher who confronts a class of marauding children who are determined to undermine his attempts to love them. How does he win them over? With music. Mathieu is a failed composer. He had given up on music, but now he sees he must peel the bandages off of his personal wound and resurrect the music for the good of the boys, if not for the movie. Did nobody involved in this project notice that it was retreading a very deep groove? Opens Friday, January 28, at the Plaza Frontenac. (Melissa Levine)
The Green Butchers Anders Thomas Jensen. (R) Opens Friday, January 28, at the Tivoli. Reviewed in this issue.
Hide and Seek John Polson. (R) After her mother dies, a young girl (Dakota Fanning) copes with the loss by spending time with an imaginary friend named Charlie. Her father (Robert DeNiro -- is there a movie he won't do?) becomes justifiably freaked out when he realizes that perhaps Charlie isn't imaginary. Opens Friday, January 28, at multiple locations. NR
Million Dollar Baby Clint Eastwood. (PG-13) Opens Friday, January 28, at multiple locations. Reviewed in this issue.