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Movie Picks


*American Beauty (R)

Instead, a strong visual style, fabulous acting, and quirky writing all conspire to create an erotic, humorous, captivating film. Kevin Spacey is given a funny, dry script by screenwriter Alan Ball and uses it confidently, moving between bumbling idiot, threatening asshole and tender father with ease; Annette Bening perfectly captures the manic acquisitiveness and just-below-the-surface despair of professional-class America with a physical, comedic presence that most actresses would never dare attempt; Wes Bentley portrays the disturbed boy next door with a quiet gravity that intensifies every scene he graces. First-time film director Sam Mendes has done a remarkable job of learning the vocabulary of filmmaking and using it to create a multilayered visual and psychological delight. See full review. -- AL

Chapel Hills; Tinseltown

*Boiler Room (R)

A deftly told tale of the sleazy underside of the stock market -- Wall Street bottom feeders who get rich selling little known, unreliable stocks to unsuspecting investors. Giovanni Ribisi finally gets the star turn he deserves as Seth Davis, an unsuspecting young trainee who is caught up in the hype of the get-rich-quick scheme. Engaging and fast-paced throughout -- with the exception of a drippy subplot involving Ribisi and his father, a stern judge -- The Boiler Room is a stylish peek into a universe where greed truly rules. Ribisi transcends the bare outlines of his character in the scenes where he goes for the sell, sweating and squirming. Outstanding supporting cast includes Ben Affleck and Nia Long. -- KCE

Tinseltown; Tiffany Square

*Boys Don't Cry (R)

Director/screenwriter Kimberly Peirce's feature film debut is as assured as they come. Hilary Swank is a revelation as Brandon, a young cross-dresser whose identity falls somewhere between heartthrob and strut-your-stuff cowboy. On the run to avoid prosecution for petty crimes, Brandon settles in Falls City, Nebraska. Brandon's love hungry eyes settle on Lana (Chloe Sevigny). Unfortunately, her dysfunctional family includes John (Peter Sarsgaard) and Tom (Brendan Sexton III), both chronic losers for whom the notion of sexual ambiguity ranks at the top of the list of sins worthy of the death penalty. Filmed on a low budget, the film is notably artful in its depiction of the stark Nebraska landscape, and is blessed with a simply remarkable cast. Swank should walk away with the Oscar for best actress. See full review. -- KCE

Kimball's Twin Peak

*Cider House Rules (PG-13)

John Irving, who wrote the novel, did an excellent job of paring down his long, Dickensian work into a cogent screenplay that doesn't sacrifice its heart in the translation. The characters' quirks and charms are intact, especially those of Dr. Larch, an eccectric abortionist played by Michael Caine with an overwhelming kindness and vulnerability. His scenes glow with humanity, and Tobey Maguire's low-key performance as Homer, Larch's disapproving proteg, provides an interesting counterpart. A heartwarming film. See full review. -- KCE

Tiffany Square

Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo (R)

Why anyone would want to make this into a movie is a mystery. "Lighten up," the proponents of this film have said. "It's only comedy." Yes, well, comedy is funny, little boy, and Deuce Bigalow ain't. See full review. -- AL

Silver Cinemas

End of Days (R)

A dreary, exploitative action film in which it's devil time again. The plot has The Dark One (Gabriel Byrne) seeking out a 20-year-old virgin named, of course, Christine (Robin Tunney) who has been predestined to bear the devil a son. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays ex-cop Jericho Cane, who takes it upon himself to protect Christine both from The Man. Director Peter Hyams does nothing to brighten up or energize screenwriter Andrew Marlowe's dull, confusing script. The message that End of Days is supposed to carry is that faith is more powerful than guns. But it's unlikely the message will be heard over all the automatic weapons fire. See full review. -- Noel Murray

Silver Cinemas

The Green Mile (R)

At three hours and ten minutes long, this is one marathon of a movie, and unnecessarily so. The story, based on Stephen King's 1996 serial novel, is oddly compelling: A death row prison guard in the mid-1930's deep south, Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) is delivered a 7-foot tall, black, simple-minded but apparently clairvoyant inmate (Michael Clarke Duncan), convicted for murder. Duncan's characterization, though spare, is powerful. And Hanks, as Edgecomb, is his usual measured, affable self -- the soul of fairness. The Green Mile is a worthy exploration of good and evil, human suffering, the cold inevitability of death and the redeeming power of love. But because the strength lies in the simple nature of the story, the earthy vernacular and the colorful characters, the director's tired dramatic approach feels like little more than excessive padding. See full review. -- KCE

Carmike 10; Tinseltown; Chapel Hills

Hanging Up (R)

Despite a weak script, Meg Ryan and her co-stars Diane Keaton and Lisa Kudrow do their level best to portray three sisters whose father Lou (Walter Matthau) is succumbing to illness and senility. You'd think that there was plenty of material here for a moving story, but writers Delia and Nora Ephron botch it again and again. The film has a strange, mechanical feel to it, as if the writers were just learning screen craft from a text book. Occasionally the movie has some moving moments, but unfortunately, those moments are few and far between, and silliness is allowed to prevail over a film of real potential. This is the underlying flaw of Hanging Up -- real characterization is replaced by a series of facile, surface traits, and real issues are swapped for a fluffy, feel-good gloss. See full review. -- AL

Carmike 10; Academy Station 6; Tinseltown; Tiffany Square

My Dog Skip (PG)

See full review.

Academy Station 6; Chapel Hills; Citadel Terrace; Gold Hill Theater; Tinseltown

The Omega Code (PG-13)

With Springs actor, Ziggy Wagrowski.

Silver Cinemas

*Sixth Sense (PG-13)

A fluid, compelling and genuinely scary ghost story starring Bruce Willis as Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist. Willis' character enjoys a charmed life with his wife (Olivia Williams) and a fulfilling, successful career until the night he gets plugged by a dissatisfied former patient. We next see Crowe, shaken and changed, outside the house of Cole Sear, a little boy with anxious tendencies and, apparently, deep psychological problems. Turns out Cole can see the dead, and those with unfinished business often show up in his bedroom at night. The most startling moments of the film all revolve around the appearance of those ghosts. Haley Joel Osment, the child actor who plays Cole, is tortured, convincing and winning. Willis doesn't make a false move. The film delivers a wonderful punch at the end with an unexpected plot twist. A sure audience pleaser, Sixth Sense is solid, smart, subtle, atmospheric moviemaking. -- KCE

Tinseltown; Chapel Hills

*Sleepy Hollow (R)

In Director Tim Burton's hands, the tiny Hudson river valley town of Sleepy Hollow becomes a mythical place where gnarled trees silhouetted against a foggy background speak volumes. Johnny Depp brings a humorous finickiness to the character of Ichabod Crane. He is prissy, prim and immaculate, and he doesn't take well to the sight of gore. But Crane's transformation to action hero is palatable too -- Depp moves from prude to swashbuckler with real movie star grace and charisma. And the horseman himself -- massive and shrouded in black -- proves to be a striking central focus of the film, despite his missing head. Burton revels in special effect, and his wild creation, the tree of the dead, is a memorable cinematic marvel. This Sleepy Hollow will, no doubt, prove to be a Halloween video classic. See full review. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

Snow Falling on Cedars (PG-13)

Directed with blatant artistic self-consciousness by Scott Hicks (Shine), each perfectly framed and filmed scene in Snow Falling on Cedars feels over-directed, with the exception of the courtroom scenes where veteran Max Van Sydow, who plays the doddering old barrister hired to defend Kazuo Miyamoto (Rick Yune) on a murder charge, is allowed to meander through his lines with well-earned respect and dignity. It is 1950, and the setting is Amity Island, a Pacific coast community heavily populated with Japanese immigrants. Watching the trial is Ishmael (Ethan Hawke), the local newspaperman who is most fascinated with Hatsue (Youki Kudoh), Miyamoto's wife, the love of Ishmael's life who spurned him. The movie works best in the central sections when the Japanese-American citizens are shuffled off to the internment camp at Manzanar for the duration of the war. This is compelling stuff, and it is a merciful escape from the overcast skies and overwrought emotions that dominate the rest of the film. The dramatic tension of the murder trial is lost in the fog, and by the end, we don't care at all who committed the murder, we just want desperately to see the sky. See full review. -- KCE


*Topsy-Turvy (R)

You don't have to be a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operettas, penned in Victorian England, to enjoy director Mike Leigh's latest, and possibly most accomplished, offering. Leigh sets out to draw the viewer backstage, behind the spotlights, to the complicated inner-workings of a theatrical production and into the hearts and minds of all the players. In watching Topsy-Turvy, we can feel the claustrophobia of the drawing room, the creaky wood floor of the Savoy Theater stage, the tobacco-soaked atmosphere of the backstage dressing rooms. And more importantly, we come to know what drives the creative impulse -- from the point of view of the composers to the last, fragile actor in the cast. Topsy-Turvy teaches more about the craft of acting than any film in memory since, possibly, The Dresser, in 1983. Leigh's generous tribute to the theater is nothing short of a tour-de-force. Topsy-Turvy more than deserves its recognition by critics as one of the best films of 1999. See full review. -- KCE

Kimball's Twin Peak

*Toy Story 2 (G)

Toy Story 2 manages to construct even wilder gags, and to stretch even further the idea of the secret life of toys than the first, but it also leaves an even more bittersweet aftertaste. At its most heart-wrenching, this chipper cartoon is also a parent's stricken fantasy of being outgrown by their children. The mix of silliness, affection, and piercing nostalgia -- and yes, artistry -- keeps kids and adults engaged simultaneously. See full review. -- Jim Ridley

Citadel Terrace

*The Whole Nine Yards (R)

A comedy about a retired Mafia contract killer (Bruce Willis) who moves into a quiet Montreal suburban neighborhood. That The Whole Nine Yards is so amusing and unexpected is a tribute to really good writing. Screenwriting newcomer Mitchell Kapner has loaded the film with the kind of funny throwaway lines that you want to remember and repeat to your friends. The humor of the film also gets a lift from some decent physical comedy on the part of Matthew Perry. While the humor is very clever and tongue-in-cheek, the violence of the film is not. All the killing in the midst of the comedy was a little creepy. Squeamishness, and a deep wonder at our warped American psyche aside, however, The Whole Nine Yards is a lightweight, clever comedy, and writer Kapner will be one to watch. See full review. -- AL

Carmike 10; Academy Station 6; Tinseltown; Tiffany Square

*Wonder Boys (R)

Think of Wonder Boys as a day off, a lazy Sunday, a nap in the late afternoon. That's the effect that director Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential) wrings from the material, adapted for the screen from Michael Chabon's novel. Played with world-weariness and infectious lassitude, Michael Douglas is Grady Tripp, a vaguely tenured college professor who has done little since his first novel made it big besides smoke pot and peck away at a ballooning manuscript he can't seem to end. Add to that dysfunctional scenario, a truly dysfunctional student -- James Leer (Tobey Maguire), a brooding, budding writer who is also an artfully compulsive liar with a penchant for pistols -- and Grady's editor Crabtree (Robert Downey Jr.), desperate for a publishing success and a roll in the hay with young James. Wonder Boys is nowhere near the stylish masterpiece of Hanson's most famous work, but it is a droll, often hilarious good time at the movies, thanks in large part to the excellent cast. See full review. -- KCE

Chapel Hills; Tinseltown; Citadel Terrace

*What Planet Are You From? (R)

It is bewildering to note how damning most critics have been of this hilarious and thoroughly insignificant piece of fluff. Directed by Mike Nichols (The Graduate), written by and starring dour Garry Shandling (The Larry Sanders Show) and featuring Annette Bening, I guess they expected a masterpiece instead of a bawdy sex farce. A silly spin on the universal divide between men and women, especially when it comes to sex, What Planet gleefully skewers involuntary penile action, the role of the self-help movement in further complicating romance, and the whole bewildering business of marital love. Bening is adorable, Shandling is Shandling, and the supporting cast are solid. So Nichols didn't remake Carnal Knowledge for the new millennium -- instead he made a very funny confection well worth an hour-and-a half at the movies for the belly laughs it provides. -- KCE

Academy Station 6; Tinseltown; Chapel Hills; Carmike 10

*The World is Not Enough (R)

Pierce Brosnan can do no wrong. He gleams with all the requisite savoir-faire and charisma that James Bond demands. Robert Carlyle does a brilliant turn as the ruthless terrorist Renard. Michael Apted, best known for his fantastic 7 Up documentary film series and Coal Miner's Daughter, more than hits his directorial marks.The World Is Not Enough is, pound for explosion, a great return on your entertainment dollar.See full review. -- Cole Smithey

Silver Cinemas


Erin Brockovich (R) sneak preview

Julia Roberts plays a single mother who, through coincidence, determination and moxy, manages to uncover a contaminated water scandal ending up in the largest direct-action lawsuit in U.S. history. Based on a true story.

Tinseltown, Sat. March 11, 7:50 p.m.

Mission to Mars (PG)

After the first manned mission to Mars meets with disaster, a rescue mission is launched to investigate the accident and retrieve any survivors. Starring Gary Sinise, Kim Delaney, Tim Robbins, Don Cheadle and Jerry O'Connell. Directed by Brian de Palma.

Gold Hill Theater; Tinseltown; Carmike 10; Chapel Hills

*Ninth Gate (R)

See full review, page 49

Tinseltown; Carmike 10; Chapel Hills

Pet Cemetery

Steven King horror movie about pets that just don't stay dead and the haunted place that resurrects them.

Colorado Music Hall, Wed., March 15, 7:30 p.m. Free, 447-9797. $1 Miller High Life if you bring a picture of your pet.

The Shining (R)

Jack Nicholson stars in the classic Steven King horror film about cabin fever. Possibly the scariest horror flick ever made. With Shelly Duvall.

Colorado Music Hall, Wed., March 15, 9:30 p.m. Free, 447-9797.

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