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Movie Picks

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After her stunning debut on stage at the Opera Populaire - in Paris, Christine Daae (Emmy Rossum) returns to her - dressing room backstage, where she is mesmerized by - the appearance of The Phantom (Gerard Butler) in the - mirror in Phantom of the Opera.
  • After her stunning debut on stage at the Opera Populaire in Paris, Christine Daae (Emmy Rossum) returns to her dressing room backstage, where she is mesmerized by the appearance of The Phantom (Gerard Butler) in the mirror in Phantom of the Opera.

Alone in the Dark (R)
See full review on page 28.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Are We There Yet (PG)
A romantic comedy starring Ice Cube, about a road trip that throws his character for a loop when he offers to drive his girlfriend's kids 350 miles to see her in time for New Year's Eve. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Assault on Precinct 13 (R)
A remake of the 1976 film written by John Carpenter, this version is directed by Jean-Francois Richet and stars Ja Rule and Laurence Fishburne. A police officer rallies officers and prisoners to save themselves from a mob when their station is under attack on New Year's Eve. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*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. Academy Award nominations for Best Film, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director. -- Cole Smithey

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, 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

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Christmas with the Kranks (PG)
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Coach Carter (PG-13)
Samuel L. Jackson stars as a controversial high school basketball coach who benches his undefeated team, demanding better academic performance. Directed by Thomas Carter (Save the Last Dance). -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Elektra (PG-13)
A female warrior is released from the hospital following a near-death experience. She becomes an assassin for Kirigi and the Order of the Hand and is forced to make a decision that will destroy her or change her life forever. Starring Jennifer Garner as Elektra. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Fat Albert (PG)
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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. Academy Award nominations for Best film and Best Actor. -- Dan Wilcock

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16

Flight of the Phoenix (PG-13)
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The Grudge (PG-13)
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Hide and Seek (R)
See full review on page 28.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Hotel Rwanda (PG-13)
In 1994, Rwanda became a slaughterhouse. The conflict erupted between two ethnic populations, the then-ruling Hutus and the once dominant Tutsis. A deadly cabal of Hutu politicians, Hotel Rwanda focuses on one of the most heartening true stories to emerge from Rwanda that year. Don Cheadle (Traffic) shines as Paul Rusesabagina, a Hutu married to a Tutsi and manager of the Mille Collines, an elegant European hotel in Kigali. Paul emerges as the film's hero, sheltering 1,268 refugees in the hotel and using his wits to fend off the Hutu killers. Because Hotel Rwanda is such a good movie, solidly directed with excellent acting, hundreds of thousands of people will watch it. Hopefully in this way the net separating society from the darkness of genocide will be drawn tighter. Academy Award nominations for Best Film, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. -- Dan Wilcock

Tinseltown

*House of Flying Daggers (PG-13)
A companion film to last year's hit movie Hero -- by director Zhang Yimou, Daggers brings the viewer into a world of gorgeous unrest. The story takes place in medieval China during a time when the once-beneficent Tang Dynasty had grown venal and corrupt. A rash of popular gangs has arisen to wrest power from incompetent rulers, the most shadowy and effective of these groups was the house of flying daggers. Zhang Ziyi, without a doubt one of the most beautiful female actors today, stars as a blind member of the dagger clan being chased by two army captains. Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography. -- Dan Wilcock

Kimball's Twin Peak

In Good Company (PG-13)
Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) is a 52-year-old advertising executive for the popular weekly Sports America. Dan works in Manhattan but commutes to the suburbs every night where he is the lone male among three luscious females -- wife Ann (Marg Helgenberger), college-age daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson) and a younger teenage daughter. Enter Carter Duryea (Topher Grace), a 26-year-old all-purpose hitter for corporate giant Globecom, the company that has bought the media company that owns Sports America. Quaid's youthful cockiness has turned into a naturally commanding earnestness that makes him far more attractive as an actor in middle age, and Grace has a sweet puppy dog quality that makes Carter Duryea, potentially an unbearable character, downright loveable. Sweet but forgettable. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

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, 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 Barbara Streisand and Dustin Hoffman. Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Million Dollar Baby (PG-13)
See full review on page 29. Academy Award nominations for Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Film, Best Director.

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, 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

Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

Phantom of the Opera (PG-13)
A cinematic adaptation of the play by Andrew Lloyd Webber. --Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, 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 voices 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 IMAX (in IMAX 3-D)

Racing Stripes (PG)
A zebra with a voice on loan from Frankie Muniez, is mistakenly abandoned during a rainstorm and finds refuge on a farm where he grows up believing he is a racehorse. With the help of his barnyard friends and a teenage girl, he sets out to achieve his dream of racing with thoroughbreds. Celebrity voices include Dustin Hoffman, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeff Foxworthy, Mandy Moore, Joshua Jackson, and Snoop Dogg. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Ray (R)
The film biography of America's beloved soul man, Ray Charles, who died last 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. Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, Best Film, Best Director. -- Kathryn Eastburn

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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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*Sideways (R)
Director Alexander Payne (Rushmore) delivers an impeccably filmed and acted adult comedy starring Paul Giamatti as a divorced/depressed writer on a road trip with his soon-to-be married best friend, played by Thomas Haden Church. The two travel to California's wine country and a series of sexual misadventures erupt with two local women, wonderfully played by Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen. If not for the director's cynicism that occasionally intrudes on the storytelling, this might be a perfect film. Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Film, Best Director. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills 15, Kimball's Twin Peak, Tinseltown

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (PG)
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White Noise (PG-13)
See full review on page 28.

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Work and Glory (PG)
A family moves to Central New York only to find themselves in the middle of Mormon religious controversy in Palmyra. Two brothers find themselves on opposite sides of this religious fence and in contention over the daughter of a wealthy landowner. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16

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