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Movie Picks

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*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

Tinseltown; Carmike 10; Chapel Hills

*Anna and the King (PG-13)

Unlike the 1956 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, this retelling of Anna Leonowen's (Jodie Foster) story is rather serious in its treatment of the relationships between Asia and the British during the age of British expansion. Go to be captivated by the kind of spectacle that Hollywood alone can create, the organizational and visual feats of lush scenery, beautiful costuming, and good special effects, and you won't be disappointed. See full review.-- AL

Silver Cinemas

*Beyond the Mat (R)

See full review.

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

Tiffany Square

*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

*Erin Brockovich (R)

Erin Brockovich succeeds quietly, thanks largely to director Steven Soderbergh's (Out of Sight) sure hand, even with a diva like Roberts in front of the camera. First strong point -- a knock-out true story. In 1996, a file clerk named Erin Brockovich came across old real estate records that led her to find that a $28 billion utilities corporation had systematically poisoned the community of Hinkley, California, by allowing a pipe-cleaning agent to infiltrate the ground water. Brash and outspoken Brockovich enlisted attorney Ed Masry in what became the largest direct-action legal settlement in American history, winning a $333 million award for their clients. Roberts transcends Brockovich's exploitative wardrobe with a gritty performance, precise comic timing, a foul mouth and intense focus. Her Erin is charismatic with a capital C. The impeccable casting of the two lead males -- Finney as Ed, Erin's partner in justice and comic foil; and Aaron Eckhart (In The Company of Men) as the biker next door who becomes Erin's trusted babysitter and lover -- further cements the film's success. Finney enjoys some of the best moments he's seen onscreen for years, and Eckhart's natural bearing and low-key demeanor provide a strong balance to Roberts' inescapable star quality.See full review.

Tinseltown, Kimball's Twin Peak; Chapel Hills; Carmike 10

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

Tinseltown; Tiffany Square

My Dog Skip (PG)

My Dog Skip is based on a memoir of the same name by Willie Morris who grew up in Yazoo, Mississippi in the 40's. In the glory days of small-town America, the dog Skip, could accompany his young master everywhere and have many adventures not possible in this more complicated and dangerous time. There isn't really much that holds this film together besides a rather ponderous narration that says, "Skip helped me turn from a child to a boy," or "Skip helped me turn from a boy into a man." There are some good performances by Kevin Bacon who plays Willie's dour and over protective father and Willie himself played by funny-faced young actor Frankie Muniz. Most compelling of all are the dogs who play Skip -- the wizards of Hollywood animal training are able to teach these dogs to do great things on command, from climbing into a toilet to running wide choreographed circles to disrupt a baseball game. By all accounts, Skip really was a remarkable animal. See full review.-- AL

Chapel Hills; Citadel Terrace; Tinseltown

*Ninth Gate (R)

The Ninth Gate is an extremely well-crafted and entertaining horror film. While director Roman Polanski chooses to lilt over the horrific trajectory that tugs mercenary book dealer Dean Corso (Johnny Depp) toward the gates of Hell, rather than embrace his protagonist's terror as he did with such shockers as Rosemary's Baby (1968) or The Tenant (1976), he stakes out his own ground rules and adheres to them flawlessly. Johnny Depp uses a vocal texture that rumbles from the screen in a dark pitch that catches you off guard. Pauline Kael said that "great movies are rarely perfect movies," and this truth certainly applies to The Ninth Gate. There are plenty of silly bumps and loopy twists that don't sufficiently fulfill a dynamic dramatic arc for the film's slightly long running time, and this is not a movie that ever gives you a jolting scare. Even so, from the movie's textbook opening scene to the thorough European pacing over which the devilish story unfolds, The Ninth Gate takes the audience on a joyfully evil descent into perplexing other-worldly shadows. See full review.

Tinseltown; Carmike 10; Chapel Hills

*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; Silver Cinemas

*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

*The Talented Mr. Ripley (R)

Anthony Minghella meticulously recreates the feel of the 1950s jazz era in Italy where everyone loves anything American. Matt Damon delivers a fine, nuanced performance that grows on the viewer. As Tom Ripley, a deeply disturbed young man who longs to be someone other than himself, Damon moves from fumbling geek to smooth expatriate with boyish intensity and dark charm. Brit Jude Law is a revelation as Dickie Greenleaf, object of Ripley's lustful admiration, a rich American kid who spends his days soaking up the sun and his nights in smoky jazz clubs. Glowing cinematography, a rich musical soundtrack, well-rounded characters, a literate narrative and nail-biting suspense are combined by Minghella to produce one of the richest, old-fashioned in the best sense of the word, films out of Hollywood this year. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

*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; Silver Cinemas

*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

Citadel Terrace; Tinseltown; Tiffany Square; Gold Hill Theaters

*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

Citadel Terrace

*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


OPENING THIS WEEK

3 Strikes (R)

Released from prison just minutes earlier, an ex-con is falsely implicated in a felony. Trying desperately to avoid that "third strike" he embarks on a crazy adventure to try and clear his name. With DJ Pooh and David Allen Grier.

Carmike 10

Here on Earth (PG-13)

A rich preppie, a poor local and his girlfriend become entangled one fateful summer in this teen romance film. With Leelee Sobieski, Josh Hartnett, Chris Klein, Michael Rooker and Annette O'Toole.

Tinseltown; Chapel Hills; Carmike 10

Return to Me (PG) sneak preview

David Duchovny stars as a man who falls in love with the woman (Minnie Driver) who receives a heart transplant from his late wife.

Tinseltown, Sat. March 25, 7:30 p.m.

Romeo Must Die (R)

Martial arts action film featuring rising star Jet Li.

Tinseltown; Carmike 10; Chapel Hills

Sweet & Lowdown (R)

Woody Allen's latest film stars Sean Penn, John Waters, Samantha Morton, Uma Thurman and Anthony LaPaglia in the story of Emmet Ray, a Django Reinhardt-worshipping jazz guitarist in 1920's New York who might have been the best, had it not been for his pimping and kleptomania. Penn is nominated for an Academy Award for best actor.

Kimball's Twin Peak

Twelve Angry Men (not rated)

Henry Fonda stars in this emotionally-charged tale of a jury that must decide the fate of a young man involved in a controversial trial.

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St. Tues., March 28, 7:30 p.m. 634-5583.

Whatever It Takes (PG-13)

Shawn West and Jodi Lyn O'Keefe star in the teen remake of Cyrano de Bergerac.

Tinseltown; Chapel Hills; Carmike 10

Event Horizon

Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan and Joely Richardson star in this outerspece sci-fi thriller.

Colorado Music Hall, 2475 E. Pikes Peak. Wed., March 29, 7:30 p.m. Free, 447-9797. $1 Miller High Life if you wear a black trenchcoat or a duster

The Matrix (R)

Keanu Reeves stars in this sci-fi film with amazing special effects about a virtual world.

Colorado Music Hall, 2475 E. Pikes Peak. Wed., March 29, 7:30 p.m. Free, 447-9797. $1 Miller High Life if you wear a black trenchcoat or a duster

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