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Movie Picks

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Peter Sarsgaard, Liam Neeson and Laura Linney in - Kinsey.
  • Peter Sarsgaard, Liam Neeson and Laura Linney in Kinsey.

After the Sunset (PG-13)
Following a successful last score, a master thief (Pierce Brosnan) retires to an island paradise. His lifelong nemesis, a crafty FBI agent, washes ashore to ensure he's making good on his promise. Not reviewed

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*The Aviator (PG-13)
Leonardo DiCaprio gives an eloquent and sympathetic portrayal of Howard Hughes, one of the 20th century's most creative and tragically flawed figures. Cate Blanchett's extraordinary rendition of Katharine Hepburn, and their resulting love provides scenes both brilliant and complex. Martin Scorsese delivers a movie that is a glorious biographical view of Hughes as a futurist. Cole Smithey

Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

Beyond the Sea (PG-13)
See full review, page 28.

Tinseltown

Blade Trinity (R)
Wesley Snipes returns as the day-walking vampire hunter in this third and final film in the Blade franchise. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Tinseltown

Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason (R)
Apart from discovering that her boyfriend is a conservative voter, Bridget (Renee Zellweger) has to deal with a new boss, a strange contractor and the worst vacation of her life in this sequel, also starring Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. -- Not reviewed

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Christmas with the Kranks (PG)
Tim Allen portrays Luther Krank and Jamie Lee Curtis is his wife in this family comedy with a holiday twist. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Closer (R)
The beautifully photographed but self-absorbed and cruel characters in director Mike Nichols' film never stop lying to each other. They thirst for love, but their preoccupation with sex and perceived betrayal leaves them hollow and tangled in a series of love triangles. In the hands of a lesser director, the disjointed unraveling of events could've been clunky and confusing. But Nichols succeeds in preserving the plot while detaching the viewer from the characters, allowing the film to unfold a step back from the intensity of the characters' selfishness. Featuring Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. -- Dan Wilcock

Cinemark 16, Chapel Hills 15

The Darkness (PG-13)
Anna Paquin stars as a teenager whose family is torn apart by a strange force following their relocation to a house in the Spanish countryside. Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

Fat Albert (PG)
A new take on Bill Cosby's beloved character, Fat Albert. Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag (NR)
The movie depicts a young pilot's progression through the challenging and dangerous exercises of Operation Red Flag, the international training program for air forces of allied countries. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16 IMAX

*Finding Neverland (PG)
A whimsical, warmhearted and heart-wrenching film about J.M. Barrie, the playwright who wrote Peter Pan, that builds to a moving climax like a teakettle over a flame. A film set apart from Hollywood's standard sex-and-violence fare for adults, it's a story about never growing up, and never giving up on a place called Neverland. Starring Johnny Depp as Barrie; co-starring Kate Winslet. -- Dan Wilcock

Cinemark 16

Flight of the Phoenix (PG-13)
The remake of Robert Aldrich's revered 1965 classic would be 15 percent better if not for its abysmal use of pop music, and it would be 100 percent better if Aldrich's son William had never thought to ride on his father's coattails by producing it in the first place. Dennis Quaid's stalwart performance as a Hellcat pilot and natural leader of men doesn't rescue the movie from its complete lack of convincing dialogue or flaccid plotting, but he does give the movie its dynamic character hook. -- Cole Smithey

Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

The Forgotten (PG-13)
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The Incredibles (PG)
A family of superheroes in hiding is forced to reveal themselves to save the world, again. Pixar Animation Studio's 6th digitally animated feature. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

*Kinsey (R)
Director Bill Condon's candid look into the life of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey promises to renew public discourse about how we view sexuality. Condon (Gods and Monsters) retraces the steps of entomologist/biology professor Kinsey (perfectly played by Liam Neeson) as he leads a small group of researchers on an ambitious quest to catalog the sexual interaction of thousands of American men for his scientific report Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Kinsey's realization that there is no such thing as "normal" in sexuality is supported in his own wandering sexual habits that threaten to ruin his marriage. Fine performances by Neeson, Laura Linney, Peter Sarsgaard, Timothy Hutton and Lynn Redgrave make this a must-see movie with Oscar nominations written all over it. Cole Smithey

Kimball's Twin Peak

Ladder 49
John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix co-star in this fire-fighting drama, set in New York City. -- Not reviewed

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Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (PG)
Three wealthy children's parents are killed in a fire. When they are sent to a distant relative, played by a ghoulish Jim Carrey, they find out that he is plotting to kill them and seize their fortune. Also featuring Meryl Streep. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15,

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (R)
See full review, page 27.

Cinemark 16, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

Meet the Fockers (PG-13)
Sequel to Meet the Parents, starring Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro. This time the family visits the groom's parents, played by Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman. Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

Napoleon Dynamite (PG)
Napoleon Dynamite's protagonist (Jon Heder) is a teenager whose mouth is forever agape and whose disposition hops between extreme dopiness and standard-issue adolescent indignation. While the indie film is littered with hilarious bits and pieces, they add up to only a few hard laughs and not much else. -- John Dicker

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National Treasure (PG)
Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) descends from a family of treasure hunters who have long looked for a chest hidden by the founding fathers of the United States. When he learns of a plot to steal the treasure, his only option is to find it and steal it first. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

Ocean's Twelve (PG-13)
Bland inside jokes, perpetual self-referencing dialogue, and foreign heists that will put babies to sleep fill up this truncated sequel starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and a bunch of other beautiful people, directed by Steven Soderbergh. Catherine Zeta-Jones adds a wrinkle to the plot as a hotshot Europol detective romantically attached to Pitt's character when she isn't trying to solve robberies. -- Cole Smithey

Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

Phantom of the Opera (PG-13)
Tinseltown

*The Polar Express (G)
A Christmas classic for the wired generation. Breathtaking state-of-the-art computer animation combined with a fast-paced storyline make for dazzling eye candy, and Tom Hanks (who plays most of the characters) and director Robert Zemeckis craft a worthy homage to the animated Christmas movie genre that people of all ages really can appreciate. --Dan Wilcock

Cinemark 16, Cinemark 16 IMAX (in IMAX 3-D), Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (G)
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*Ray (R)
The much awaited film biography of America's beloved soul man, Ray Charles, who died earlier this year at the age of 73. The surprise of Ray is not the music; it's fabulous. It's not Jamie Foxx's performance -- tour de force is putting it mildly. The surprise is that despite a blocky, chronological, somewhat plodding story line, the development of a public character we all felt we knew well contains revelations that, while not particularly pretty, enrich the legend of Ray Charles, bringing him a bit closer to the ground. The 20 years depicted in the film are spent predominantly on the road, with Ray womanizing, shooting up and making glorious music born of a complicated and utterly unique genius. -- Kathryn Eastburn

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Saw (R)
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Shall We Dance (PG-13)
Richard Gere plays a middle-aged accountant who finds transformation in a ballroom dance studio. Also starring Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon. -- Not reviewed

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Shark Tale (PG)
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*Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (PG)
A slick, sepia-toned love letter to vintage 1930s serial adventures, Sky Captain plays like a kid movie wrapped in the skin of an experimental art film. Sky Captain opens in 1939 New York City with a dirigible flight, a frightened scientist and two mysterious vials. But before we get to the bottom of things, there are giant robots marching through Manhattan on an unknown mission. Sky Captain clips along at a brisk pace, taking our heroes from New York to Nepal to the middle of the ocean while still keeping the story simple and the action beats regular. -- Scott Renshaw

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Spanglish (PG-13)
Flor (Paz Vega) emigrates to Los Angeles from Mexico in hopes of finding a better life for her and her daughter, Cristina (Victoria Luna). Hired by John and Deborah Clasky (Adam Sandler and Tea Leoni) as their housekeeper, Flor contends with the language barrier, Cristina's budding femininity and the eccentric Claskys' way of life. Directed by James Brooks (As Good As It Gets). -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie (PG)
SpongeBob Squarepants (from Nickelodeon's animated show) takes leave from the town of Bikini Bottom in order to track down King Neptune's stolen crown. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16

*A Very Long Engagement (R)
French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, City of Lost Children, Delicatessen) provides one of the most satisfying films of 2004, the tale of a young woman's search for her fianc, believed to have been killed in World War I. It is 1920, and Mathilde (Audrey Tautou) persists in her search for Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), left to die on the battleground between the French and the Germans along with four other French soldiers accused of desertion by self-mutilation. Mathilde hires an investigator and the film proceeds like a police procedural, uncovering details of the day Manech was supposed to have died, leading both viewers and protagonist astray at times and closer to discovery of the truth at others. The search is accented by sumptuous cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel, an exquisite musical score by Angelo Badalamenti, and Jeunet's characteristically rich and quirky choice of detail in the sets, costumes and storytelling. War scenes are filmed in endless trenches and fields of mud, turned back to lush grass meadows just a few years later. Jeunet's tricks with the film and camera (color saturation, time lapse and speeded up sequences) never detract from the very moving story. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Kimball's Twin Peak

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