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Movie Picks

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*28 Days Later (R)
Director Danny Boyle has crafted a film that invokes our dread of global annihilation. A cell of animal rights zealots have liberated chimps infected with the "rage" virus. Twenty-eight days later, in a hospital bed, Jim (Cillian Murphy) emerges naked and alone from a car accident coma. He eventually meets up with fellow survivors Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley), who give a sober warning: if the infected bleed on you, we'll finish the job. The makeshift family decides to flee. What's refreshing about Boyle's apocalypse is that its horrors are matched with beauty. 28 Days deals with a question more profound than any gadgetry: What if the end of the world is merely a dawn of another? It's substantive brain candy during a season of Happy Meal schlockbusters. -- John Dicker

Tinseltown

American Wedding (R)
The third and likely final installation to the American Pie series has two from the familiar gang tying the knot -- and most of the rest along for the ride. No need for tissues at this wedding. -- Not reviewed

Tinseltown, Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

Bad Boys II (R)
Movie cops have all the excitement. This update of the original buddy action hit reunites Martin Lawrence and Will Smith as LAPD officers assigned to track down an elusive drug kingpin. Explosions, gunplay, more explosions, then the two hours are up.

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

*Bend It Like Beckham (PG-13)
A touching and rewarding coming-of-age story about a young English-Punjabi girl who defies her parents and their tradition-bound culture by playing soccer, hanging out with boys and eschewing makeup and girly clothes. Bend it Like Beckham is essentially a second-generation immigrant story (think My Big Fat Greek Wedding), and a kids' team sports story. The major sense of complexity of the immigrant experience comes through the performance of Parminder Nagra as Jess, an Anglo-English teenager living in the London suburbs with her Punjabi Sikh family. -- Andrea Lucard

Tinseltown

Bugs (NR)
Dame Judi Dench narrates this inside look at the secret world of bugs, presented by Terminix. No joke. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark IMAX

Charlie's Angels (PG-13)
This summer's requisite boob-fest is a sequel to the 2000 hit. Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, and Cameron Diaz all make a second round, while newcomers Demi Moore and Bernie Mac add more sexiness and racial diversity. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15

Finding Nemo (G)
Animated Disney flick about cute fishies, featuring the voices of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Geoffrey Rush, and, I kid you not, Willem Dafoe. -- Not reviewed

Tinseltown, Cinemark 16, Chapel Hills 15

Ghost of the Abyss (NR) (in IMAX 3D)
Director James Cameron once again exploits, oops that's explores the wreckage of the Titanic -- this time in 3-D. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark IMAX

Gigli (R)
Ben Affleck and J-Lo star in a romantic comedy about a hit man and a female companion who may or may not be playing the same game. -- Not reviewed

Tinseltown, Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

Johnny English (PG)
British sitcom legend Mr. Bean hops to the big screen once again, this time in a James Bond spoof that also features the film debut of pop-star Natalie Imbruglia. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown, Chapel Hills 15

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (PG-13)
Sean Connery leads literature greats Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll, Dorian Gray and a host of others to fight organized crime. Not recommended for English teachers. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (PG-13)
Attorney Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) takes her Beverly Hills attitude to Washington, not unlike when she took her Beverly Hills attitude to Harvard, and with much the same result. Sally Field plays the lobbied congresswoman. Lots of pink and limp-wristed posing. -- Not reviewed

Tinseltown, Cinemark 16

*The Matrix Reloaded (R)
Neo (Keanu Reeves) exhibits fresh powers in Matrix Reloaded that promise to play a significant role in part three. Since the first film, he has switched from confused Matrix slave into a messianic protagonist with a heightened love for S&M warrior priestess Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) in her signature patent leather cat suit. What's at stake, essentially, in Matrix Reloaded -- besides the question of whether Neo and Trinity can lead humanity if indeed that is all that exists outside the Matrix -- is a symbolic capacity for original or individual thought. The world of violent, super-action cinema is about to swing in a very aggressive direction. Fasten your seatbelts; it's going to be Matrix days at the movies for a very long time to come. -- Cole Smithey

Cinemark IMAX

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (PG-13)
The best amusement park ride-based film ever, Pirates is the tale of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) whose Saint-Tropez tan and triptych beard has him looking like the lost lovechild of Marilyn Manson and Osama bin Laden. Depp's combination of bad-boy charm with Keystone Kops physical panache nearly redeems the film. The plot is convoluted, but cannons fly, peasants and redcoats run scattershot through the cobblestone streets and there's plenty of high seas adventure on the Black Pearl, crewed by Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). -- John Dicker

Tinseltown, Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey (NR)
The newest IMAX film explores the use of percussion as a means of expression throughout the world. The tour is hosted by the cast of the crowd-pleasing percussion/dance troupe Stomp.

Cinemark IMAX

*Seabiscuit (PG-13)
Triumphant underdog sports dramas speak to our irrepressible need for redemption. If this is your thing, then saddle on up. Red Pollard (Tobey Maguire), our star, is abandoned at a horse farm in his early teens where he learns to race. Seabiscuit has been wounded and thus relegated to life as a pace horse until a skeptical investor purchases the horse and Pollard talks his way into the saddle. Here the film slips into pleasurable clich. The story of Seabiscuit as the embodiment of the New Deal ethos is thumped into our heads as the narrative is contrasted with still photos of the Hoovervilles and bread lines. If you're prone to a good come-from-behind fight, though, you'll forgive the film's flaws. There are simply too many underdogs to root for: horse, man and America. Take your pick. -- John Dicker

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

*Spellbound (G)
Every summer one film leaps from art house obscurity to multiplex ubiquity. This year, I'd love the crossover hit to be Spellbound, the story of eight kids competing for the 1999 national Scripps Howard Spelling Bee. The kids are a potpourri of America: urban and rural, black, white, Latino, Indian, boys and girls. Angela, a Mexican-American girl whose father's first trip to the capital to see his daughter compete in a language he doesn't speak, demonstrates that Spellbound is about more than spelling. Whether throwing our youth into an ephemeral media frenzy is a good idea or a form of child abuse is a question raised early. Will the bell toll their doom? When it doesn't, it's as vicariously delightful as anything on SportsCenter. -- John Dicker

Chapel Hills 15

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (PG)
Richard Rodriguez kicks his delightful family adventure series up a notch this time we'll get to see them kick bad guy butt in 3-D. Expect lots of humor, an appearance by Ricardo Montalban and sets that rock.

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (R)
Arnold Schwarzenegger returns once again as a robot sent back in time to protect a young rebel leader. Basically a rehashing of the plot of Terminator 2, but the antagonist is a sexy lady robot that can put her legs behind her head. --Not reviewed

Tinseltown, Cinemark 16, Carmike 10

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (PG-13)
Angelina Jolie as video game heroine Lara Croft chases adventure around the world.

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

*Whale Rider (PG-13)
A multigenerational female empowerment story rooted deeply in Maori mythology, Whale Rider is a riveting human drama from beginning to end. Newcomer Keisha Castle-Hughes is a revelation as Pai, a young girl descended from Maori chiefs who wants to claim her place as a tribal leader. But she's a girl and leading's not allowed, as she is reminded again and again by her grandfather Koro (Rawiri Paratene). This is the central conflict of the film, set in coastal New Zealand where modern poverty and vulnerability exist alongside the eternal natural beauty and brutality of the sea. What happens in the third act is a complete and wondrous surprise. Whale Rider is a crowd pleaser for all the right reasons: It informs its viewers about dignity and pain but never condescends. Don't miss it. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Kimball's Twin Peak

*Winged Migration (G)
See full review, page 51.

Kimball's Twin Peak

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