Mr. Movie

Caspian lacks the substance to support its effects

Prince Caspian thrusts the Pevensie kids back to Narnia and 1,300 years into the future. A new evil lurks in the land. This time it’s a human king trying to kill off Prince Caspian who is the rightful heir to the throne.

Like he did with the first film, director and co-writer Andrew Adamson blows a ton of money on special effects. Creatures of every ilk dot the spectacular landscape as the kids sort things out.

Admittedly, Prince Caspian is more intense, much darker and better filmed than the original Chronicles of Narnia. It leaps out of the gate at a torrid pace and keeps you riveted to your seat for the first 90 minutes. It’s the extra 50 stuck in the 140-minute length that stretches Caspian to the very edge of being too much.

Also lacking is substance. Somewhere in all that noise are deep, multi-faceted characters with even deeper lessons that, at least here, didn’t get learned.

Fortunately, C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles consists of seven books. Maybe we’ll get more depth when book three hits in 2010.

Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars.

Rated PG for mature themes, some violence. Opens today at the Columbia Mall 8 and at Fairchild Cinemas.

My Blueberry Nights

What is it with some singers? They’ve sold millions of albums and are download faves. Overwhelming popularity tells them everybody loves them. Let’s call that rule one.

On an ego high, they also assume they can act, and even if they can’t act, their handlers refer to rule one.

Norah Jones can’t act. She’s gorgeous and boy can she sing, but in My Blueberry Nights, Jones is a disaster. That leads to rule two. Singers don’t often pick good projects, so it might not be completely her fault. Kar Wai Wong’s (2046) movie is a cinematic catastrophe and too much for a fledgling actress to carry.

Jones plays Elizabeth, a young woman struggling with a painful breakup. She lights out for parts unknown to soul search. It’s one of those travel-until-the-road-ends things. To Wong’s credit, he surrounds Jones with some great talent like Jude Law, Natalie Portman, David Strathairn and Rachel Weisz. Then he doesn’t give them anything to do.

Wong is a gifted cinematographer whose visuals are stunning. You are instantly hooked and believing there is a payoff at the end, you’ll stick with My Blueberry Nights. But like Wong’s pathetic young character, his movie has nowhere to go.

Mr. Movie rating: 2 stars.

Rated PG-13 for mature themes. Opens today at the Carmike 12.

Ghosts of Cité Soleil Ghosts of Cité Soleil is a horror story. But it’s not frequented by fictional demons designed to give you a brief thrill. The people haunting Cité Soleil, a slum of Haiti’s Port-au-Prince, will haunt you long after you see this fascinating but horrifying documentary.

Thugs called chimeres — translated ghosts — rule Cité Soleil. It is considered by many to be the most dangerous place on Earth. The film follows rival gang lords and brothers 2pac and Bily during the downfall of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

For 88 minutes, you are forced to listen to the meandering tirades of egocentric 2pac and his politically ambitious but equally thuggish brother. As horrifying as these two men are, nothing tops the horror of the unbelievable squalor of the Haitian people. Even fright flicks sometimes offer a glimpse of hope, but Ghosts leaves you with the hard truth that these people have none.

Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars.

Rated R for mature themes, nudity, language, drug use. Plays tonight only at 8 p.m. at the Battelle Auditorium in Richland.