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Movie Picks

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Julianne Moore as Laura Brown in The Hours
  • Julianne Moore as Laura Brown in The Hours

25th Hour (R)
See full review, page 25

Tinseltown

*About Schmidt (R)
The story of a browbeaten insurance salesman rendered with loving disenchantment by Jack Nicholson. The role is new territory for Nicholson -- easily his most interesting film since the sexual dramas of the '70s. It's a prime pick of an otherwise unremarkable Academy Award homestretch. -- John Dicker

Cinemark 16

*Antwone Fisher (PG-13)
With his directorial debut, Denzel Washington lifts the veil over a broken child welfare system where as many as half-a-million of America's children are raised. Dynamic newcomer Derek Luke plays Antwone Fisher, who overcomes a legacy of abuse -- and the accompanying anger, shame and lack of self worth -- with the help of an Army psychiatrist (Washington). Competently shot and powerfully acted, it's not art but it's a worthy use of celluloid. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16

*Bowling for Columbine (R)
An all-you-can-eat buffet of food for thought on the following question: Why, more than any other industrialized nation, do Americans kill each other with guns? Some pretty insightful commentary from unlikely places in spite of the filmmaker's antics. -- John Dicker

Kimball's Twin Peak Theater

*Catch Me If You Can (PG-13)
From its stylish, animated opening credits to its peppy John Williams score, Catch Me If You Can exudes the innocence that colors many Spielberg efforts. The central character, Frank Abagnale Jr., is a notorious con man portrayed as a boy wonder, a Spielbergian creation enamored of life's endless possibilities, played pitch-perfectly by Leonardo DiCaprio, -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Chicago (PG-13)
Directed by musical theater veteran Rob Marshall, Chicago's social commentary is biting and apt if slightly clichd: Fame is fleeting; the media is fickle. Catherine Zeta-Jones is cold and powerful as Velma Kelley, a hoofer with a heart of steel. Her singing is top-notch and her dancing is lurid and assured. Rene Zellweger gives it her all as Roxie Hart, but her singing pales next to Zeta-Jones and supporting star Queen Latifah. Richard Gere is suitably smarmy as attorney Billy Flynn and John C. Reilly is Chicago's most pleasant surprise, turning in a tour de force performance as Roxie Hart's hapless and devoted husband Amos. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Tinseltown

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (R)
This black comedy film biography chronicles the life of Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell), the man who created The Dating Game, The Gong Show, and The Newlywed Game and who claimed that he led a double life as an assassin for the CIA (it's never been proved one way or the other). The movie marks George Clooney's directorial debut and features Drew Barrymore as Barris' lover.

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown, Carmike, Chapel Hills

*El Crimen del Padre Amaro (R)
See full review, page 24

Chapel Hills

Darkness Falls (PG-13)
A mysterious dead woman, a lighthouse, a boy who draws disturbing pictures, a murdered mother and the legend of a tooth fairy who comes back and visits. A horror flick in the tradition of The Ring.

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown, Carmike, Chapel Hills

Galapagos Island (Not Rated) (In IMAX 3D)
Giant sea turtles and insects and amphibians and birds and seascapes and flowers and trees and rare and endangered species -- oh my! All is 3D on the big IMAX screen. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark IMAX

Gangs of New York (R)
Martin Scorsese's epic historic fantasy of the "hands that built America" is a mesmerizing, bloody slog through the mean streets of mid-19th-century New York City. As a spectacle, it works. As a coherent statement about the conflicting elements that built a neighborhood, a city and ultimately a nation, it fails. A revenge drama, it comes equipped with the required characters and plot -- slain hero (Liam Neeson), avenging son (Leonardo DiCaprio) and brutal villain/face of evil (Daniel Day-Lewis), with a pretty damsel (Cameron Diaz) thrown in for good measure. DiCaprio is adequate as a scrappy street fighter turned revolutionary, but his character is grossly overshadowed by the psychotic freak show that is Day-Lewis' performance as Bill the Butcher. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills

A Guy Thing (PG-13)
Watch Jason Lee stutter and stumble around his fiance (Selma Blair) to avoid justice for his wandering eye. There's underwear in the toilet, drama at the altar, even some diarrhea jokes. My prescription: Take a laxative and avoid the movie. It's predictable, derivative, and Julia Styles, as the object of Lee's fascination, doesn't take off her clothes. -- John Dicker

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (PG)
Let's accent the positive: This film is a better movie than its predecessor, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. -- Andrea Lucard

Chapel Hills

The Hot Chick (PG-13)
A popular, unpleasant high-school prima donna (Rachel McAdams) wakes up to find that she's become a 30-year-old geek (Rob Schneider). -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills

*The Hours (PG-13)
How to turn Michael Cunningham's introspective novel The Hours into a cinematic piece that wouldn't put audiences to sleep? That was the challenge of Brit director Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) who made the brilliant choice of hiring David Hare to write the screenplay and cast Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep in the three lead roles. Moore is Laura Brown, a disaffected 1950s housewife and mother. Streep is Clarissa, a New York book agent coming to grips with the certain demise of her former lover (Ed Harris), a poet dying of AIDS. Nicole Kidman is author Virginia Woolf in the 1920s, wasting away in the suburbs of London under the watchful eye of husband Leonard (Stephen Dillane). Woolf's book Mrs. Dalloway, depicting a woman's entire life in one day, is the literary thread that ties them all together. One of the best films of 2002. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark 16

Just Married (PG-13)
That '70s Show goofball Ashton Kutcher teams up with Brittany Murphy in this goofball comedy. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Kangaroo Jack (PG)
A musician and his childhood friend, a New York hairstylist, get mixed up with the mob and must go to Australia to deliver $100,000. They're put to the test when a kangaroo runs off with the money. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Lion King (G)
Disney re-releases this well-loved animated tale to IMAX large-format theaters. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark IMAX Theater

*The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (PG-13)
Peter Jackson's The Two Towers is the best film about hobbits, elves, orcs and wizards since last year's Fellowship of the Ring. But seriously, Jackson does a masterful job of stitching together three separate plots and though the story itself doesn't advance much, it almost sustains its three-hour length. Jackson's strength in The Two Towers is combining a visual realization of Middle Earth's inhabitants, and utilizing the New Zealand landscapes to instill a sense of pending dread and ephemeral beauty. -- John Dicker

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Maid in Manhattan (PG-13)
A sweet Cinderella story turned into a lazy piece of hog slop, sugarcoated and caramelized to make it go down easy. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills

*My Big Fat Greek Wedding (PG)
A delightful confection of a film. The pacing of the first half 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

Cinemark 16

*Narc (R)
For a film with no discernible purpose beyond genre experimentation and performance showcases, Narc is not a bad little movie. When not going overboard with film school circus stunts, director Joe Carnahan's character study manages to hold through the duration, a credit to the talents of stars Jason Patric and Ray Liotta. -- John Dicker

Tinseltown

National Security (PG-13)
Earl (Martin Lawrence) and Hank (Steve Zahn) met on opposite sides of the law during a routine traffic stop, but now they're teamed up as harebrained security guards.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Real Women Have Curves (PG-13)
Sundance Audience Awardwinner Real Women offers some meaty cultural commentary in a sweet family drama. America Ferrera is Ana, a second-generation Mexican-American teen-ager in East L.A., eager to broaden her horizons and leave home for college. But her stubborn mother Carmen (Lupe Ontiveros) won't hear of it, insisting that Ana must take her place in the family's garment factory, overseen by sister Estela (Ingrid Oliu). The production quality is rough, as are some of the supporting performances, but the film's honesty and good intentions outweigh aesthetic considerations. Highly recommended for young girls. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Kimball's Twin Peak Theater

Star Trek: Nemesis (PG-13)
A mildly entertaining science-fiction movie that ends up talking down to its audience from a soapbox that's about as big as its largest model spacecraft. -- Cole Smithey

Chapel Hills

Two Weeks Notice (PG-13)
Hugh Grant plays billionaire George Wade, who realizes that he's in love with his attorney (Sandra Bullock) just as she's about to leave his employment. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

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