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Movie Picks

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Youll have to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding twice to catch what you missed when you were laughing so hard.
  • Youll have to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding twice to catch what you missed when you were laughing so hard.

Abandon (PG-13)
Katie Holmes plays an Ivy League senior who's been haunted by the disappearance of her ex-boyfriend (Charlie Hunnam) for three years. Her visions of him, as well as those of someone else who went missing, make her a suspect. Benjamin Bratt plays the detective investigating the case. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (R)
Action/thriller starring Antonio Banderas as Jonathan Ecks, an FBI agent who must team up with a rogue NSA agent with whom he is in mortal combat in order to defeat a common enemy. Lucy Lui plays Sever, the NSA agent. -- Not reviewed

Cinema Latino

Brown Sugar (PG-13)
A hip-hop music critic and an executive at a hip-hop label have been friends since childhood, but as the exec's wedding approaches, they start to wonder if they were meant to be more than just friends. (Starring Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs) -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Ghost Ship (R)
Audiences wanting that old-fashioned "Boo!" surprise of a Halloween spook-house can get a few good thrills in the safety of a darkened movie house with Ghost Ship -- at least in the opening scene, when a moment of gruesome surprise is drawn out with such gleeful prolonging that the scene goes from shock to horror to comedy and back to shock and horror without missing a beat. But as for the rest of the flick, the cold claustrophobic fear that should creep off the screen like a dense San Francisco fog never catches on because director Steven Beck (Thirteen Ghosts) can't match the timbre of the movie to the tone of the ship's foreboding atmosphere. Beck never instills the proper mood of dislocation into his actors, nor does he use the camera as a conspirator in building the audience's sense of anxiety. Bottom line: Ghost Ship won't rock anyone's world. -- Cole Smithey

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Jackass: The Movie (R)
The big-screen version of the MTV series featuring Johnny Knoxville and his pals performing a series of questionable stunts. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie (G)
Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber and other talking vegetables tell the Biblical story of Jonah in the first animated feature film from the creators of the VeggieTales series. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Knockaround Guys (R)
The four sons of Brooklyn gangsters are tired of being mere errand boys and convince their crime lord elders to give them a shot at the big time. (Starring Dennis Hopper, John Malkovich, Vin Diesel, Seth Green, Barry Pepper and Andrew Davoli) -- Not reviewed

Tinseltown

*Men in Black 2 (PG-13)
Although the Men in Black concept has worn off, there's plenty of slick and witty post-modern humor to savor in this eccentrically clever romp. And Will Smith brings a new level of charm and comic timing to the role of Agent Jay. -- Cole Smithey

Cinema Latino

*My Big Fat Greek Wedding (PG)
A delightful confection of a film. The pacing of the first half of the film is a little slow, but it picks up nicely when the whole crazy extended family gets into the act. Romantic comedies require a deft touch, and the writing of Nia Vardalos (who also plays the lead) provides it. -- Andrea Lucard

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Kimball's Twin Peak Theater, Tinseltown

Paid in Full (R)
Drama set in Harlem in 1986. It's the story of Ace, a dry cleaner who covets the expensive cars and flashy clothes of his friends, and whose life changes with a chance encounter on a routine laundry drop-off. (Starring Wood Harris, Mekhi Phifer, Kevin Carroll and Esai Morales.) -- Not reviewed

Tinseltown

Pokmon 4Ever (G)
The fourth in the Pokmon series. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16

Star Wars Episode II Attack of the Clones opens this week at the IMAX
  • Star Wars Episode II Attack of the Clones opens this week at the IMAX

*Punch-Drunk Love (R)
See full review, page 37.

Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

*Red Dragon (R)
Anthony Hopkins has internalized the role of Hannibal Lecter so thoroughly by now that he barely moves or blinks when delivering his virulent lines. Edward Norton is fresh and straightforward as FBI agent Graham. And Ralph Fiennes portrays murderer Dolarhyde more than adequately. A thrilling musical score by Danny Elfman drives the film and provides many crowd-rousing moments. All in all, Red Dragon competently completes the trilogy, likely retiring Hopkins' famous Dr. Lecter for good. Let's hope so anyway. The psychopath as mastermind myth is beginning to feel a little too comfortable and familiar. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Ring (PG-13)
A remake of a 1998 Japanese thriller about a journalist (Naomi Watts) who finds and watches a videotape with a disturbing history -- everyone who has watched it has died within seven days. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Spider-Man (PG-13)
From the script to the editing and acting, Spider-Man is just ... just so enh. Computer effects have rendered the charming reality of human error obsolete, making the film feel just too sterile. -- Noel Black

Cinema Latino

*Spy Kids 2 (PG)
Delightful sequel to last year's surprise hit. Carmen and Juni Cortez (Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara) take on rival spy kids Gary and Gerti Giggles (Matthew O'Leary and Emily Osment), rivals for a plum assignment. Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino are back as the Cortez kids' swashbuckling parents. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinema Latino, Tinseltown

Sweet Home Alabama (PG-13)
After watching Sweet Home Alabama, I couldn't remember a thing I had seen in the last two hours and couldn't stop singing that obnoxious song for two days. Reese Witherspoon is so chipper and attractive that she almost carries Sweet Home Alabama off, but the actress who swept us away with her brilliant performance as the bratty good girl in Election is nowhere apparent here. That script demanded smart acting and a keen understanding of character. This script relies on pretty faces, cliches and soggy stereotypes. In the end, you don't care if her character comes home or not. You just want to get out of the theater before that blasted song starts again. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Transporter (PG-13)
A former U.S. Special Forces soldier-turned-mercenary will deliver any package, no questions asked, for a price. But on his latest assignment, he breaks the first rule of the delivery service: Don't open the package. (Starring Jason Statham and Shu Qi) -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*The Truth About Charlie (R)
See full review, page 37.

Cinemark 16

*Tuck Everlasting (PG)
You must view this film in its intended vein -- "family" entertainment of the old-school Disney variety, aimed at the hearts of 8- to 12-year-old girls and their mothers. (Think Swiss Family Robinson meets Interview with a Vampire minus the blood.) As such, it's a distinctive success, avoiding the pervasive presence of modern, smart-ass whiz kids parroting insulting lines. Alexis Bledel is delightful in the role of Winnie, a spunky 15-year-old who's tired of her stifling life, and former soap opera heartthrob Jonathan Jackson is wide-eyed, bushy-tailed and devoted as love-interest Jesse. William Hurt sleepwalks through his performance, but Ben Kingsley is creepy and smarmy as the mysterious man in the yellow suit and Sissy Spacek is spirited and slightly wacky as the mother of the Tuck family. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Tuxedo (PG-13)
Jackie Chan plays Jimmy Tong, a New York City taxi driver hired to chauffeur a millionaire who's working on a top-secret mission for the U.S. government. When Tong slips into his employer's experimental new tuxedo, loaded with high-tech gadgets, he enters a strange new world of espionage. Also starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinema Latino

White Oleander (PG-13)
The coming-of-age story of a young woman who must break away from the strangling heartstrings of her tragically misguided mother, White Oleander is competently made but takes few risks. Instead director Peter Kosminsky offers a fairly straight-up chronicle of the tragic and formative events in the life of young Astrid (Alison Lohman), a teen-ager who enters the foster care system when her mother Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) is imprisoned for murder. When the film ended the day I saw it, the woman next to me let out a big sigh and said, "Well, I hope the book was better than this." It was. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

xXx (PG-13)
Despite its humor and abundant energy, xXx ultimately cannot decide whether it is a) a comic book-style adventure flick where all is not as it seems; b) a legitimate invention of a new breed of action-adventure hero; or c) all-out parody. It could have been good plain fun, but dies in explosive overkill and is doomed by its confounding identity crisis. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinema Latino

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