Kam's Kapsules by Kam Williams
Bad Santa (R for violence, pervasive profanity, and strong sexual content). Irreverent holiday flick with Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Cox as con men disguised as St. Nick and an elf, respectively, who go on a mall crime spree chased by a detective (Bernie Mac) till they get the Christmas spirit from an 8-year-old kid. Includes the final screen appearance of the late John Ritter.
Calendar Girls (PG-13 for nudity, slight profanity, and drug use). British comedy based on the true story of the 11 middle-aged women who began baring their breasts in 1999 as pinups for an annual calendar to raise money for cancer research. Helen Mirren and Julie Walters top the cast.
Cheaper by the Dozen (PG for mild epithets and mature themes). Remake of the 1950 classic about the trials and tribulations of a football coach (Steve Martin) and a writer (Bonnie Hunt) raising 12 kids in Chicago after relocating from the country.
Cold Mountain (R for violence and sexuality). Nicole Kidman stars opposite Jude Law in this Civil War saga set in the waning days of the Confederacy. Anthony Minghella directs this costume drama depicting the ordeals encountered by a wounded Confederate soldier while returning home to North Carolina to his pining sweetheart.
Elf (PG for crude humor and mild epithets). Roots comedy about the search for his biological father by a man (Will Ferrell) raised as an Elf by Santa Claus (Ed Asner) at the North Pole.
House of Sand and Fog (R for violence, disturbing images, profane language, and sexuality). This latest adaptation of an Oprah Book-of-the-Month melodrama features Jennifer Connelly as an alcoholic, abandoned by her husband, whose world totally collapses when she loses her foreclosed upon home to Iranian immigrants at a public auction.
In America (PG-13 for sex, expletives, drug use, and violence). Five-time Academy Award-nominee Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father) serves up more Oscar bait with this drama about an impoverished Irish family which moves to New York to pursue the American Dream.
The Last Samurai (R for graphic violence). Tom Cruise stars as a grizzled gun-slinging Civil War vet, who develops second thoughts about wiping out Japan's remaining samurai warriors. In Japanese and English with subtitles.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (PG-13 for battle scenes and scary images). The J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy is completed with Frodo and friends returning for a final showdown for control of Middle Earth.
Love Actually (R for sex, nudity and profanity). Irreverent British holiday comedy about 8 London couples in crisis whose lives become hopelessly intertwined by Christmas Eve.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (PG-13 for battle scenes and intermittent expletives). Peter Weir's adaptation of the Patrick O'Brian seafaring adventure, set during the Napoleonic Wars, stars Russell Crowe as the Captain of a British man-of-war chasing a French frigate around Cape Horn.
Mona Lisa Smile (PG-13 for sex content and mature themes). Julia Roberts stars as a pre-feminist era Wellesley professor who inspires students played by Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Tori Amos and Maggie Gyllenhaal to aspire to more than marrying well.
Paycheck (PG-13 for intense violence and profanity). John Woo sci-fi thriller, based on the Philip K. Dick short story about an electrical engineer (Ben Affleck) whose memory has been erased by his employer. Armed with a collection of clues, the amnesiac attempts to crack the case.
Peter Pan (PG for perilous action sequences). Full-length version of the James M. Barrie book first brought to the big screen in 1924. Jeremy Sumpter stars in the title role as the ageless lad from Never Never Land who won't grow up. With Lynn Redgrave and Olivia Williams among back cast in this Australian version of the children's classic.
Something's Gotta Give (PG-13 for profane language and sexual content including brief nudity). Complicated comedy involving a love quadrangle with a young doctor (Keanu Reeves) who falls for the mother (Diane Keaton) of his heart patient's (Jack Nicholson) girlfriend (Amanda Peet).
Stuck on You (PG-13 for profanity and crude off-color humor). Latest Farrelly Brothers comedy pairs Matt Damon with Greg Kinnear as Siamese twins who find fame in Hollywood but at the cost of their compatibility. Supporting cast includes Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Jessie Ventura, Eva Mendes, and Luke Wilson.
The Triplets of Belleville (PG-13 for sensuality, violence, and crude humor). Animated adventure, set in France in the 1930s, about a woman who enlists the assistance of three sisters when her grandson is kidnapped during the Tour de France. In French with subtitles.
21 Grams (R for sex, expletives, violence, and drug use). A three part tale about an alcoholic ex-con (Benicio Del Toro), a terminally-ill professor (Sean Penn), and a recovered addict and mother (Naomi Watts) whose lives become intertwined after a fateful car accident.