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Movie Picks

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Liam/Ryan Falconer as baby "Alvey" in Son of the Mask.
  • Liam/Ryan Falconer as baby "Alvey" in Son of the Mask.

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

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

*Bad Education (NC-17)
See full review on page 25.

Kimball's Twin Peak

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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Boogeyman (PG-13)
A man traumatized by the disappearance of his father when he was a child is forced to return to his childhood home when his mother dies, where he must face his fear of closets and the Boogeyman. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

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

Cinemark 16

Constantine (R)
Keanu Reeves stars as John Constantine, a DC/Vertigo comic character detective who travels to hell and back with policewoman Angela Dodson, played by Rachel Weisz. -- 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

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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

Cinemark 16

Flight of the Phoenix (PG-13)
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*Hide and Seek (R)
Of the outpouring of horror films in February, Hide and Seek is the sure bet. David Callaway (Robert De Niro) hopes he can help his daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning) forget her mother's suicide. From the beginning, it's clear that both David and his daughter are running from something. Fanning is phenomenal as a little girl who appears to be in the grip of schizophrenia. -- Dan Wilcock

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Hitch (PG-13)
Will Smith stars as a "date doctor" who helps clients woo the women of their dreams. He soon realizes that his games do not work on the gossip columnist he desires, played by Eva Mendes. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Carmike 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

In Good Company (PG-13)
Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) is a 52-year-old advertising executive for the popular weekly Sports America, recently taken over by corporate giant Globecom. When 25-year-old Carter Duryea (Topher Grace) becomes Dan's boss and begins courting his college-age daughter (Scarlett Johannson), sparks fly. 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

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (PG)
Chapel Hills 15, Picture Show

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

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Million Dollar Baby (PG-13)
Adapted for the screen by Paul Haggis, Million Dollar Baby employs the usual boxing clichs, but with a twist -- a 31-year-old woman, Maggie (Hilary Swank), works out at the Hit Pit, a seedy California gym, and is determined that the gym's owner Frankie (Clint Eastwood) will train her and make her a contender for the welterweight championship. Frankie's not keen on the idea of training a "girly," but Scrap (Morgan Freeman), his loyal sidekick, greases the ropes, easing Maggie into Frankie's good graces and into the ring. The scenes in which Maggie trains and then embarks on a knockout sweep, traveling from fight to fight, are sheer pleasure, and both Swank and Eastwood, especially in quiet scenes between their two characters, give great performances. But intrusions of subplot and supporting characters mar the film irreversibly, and a melodramatic plot twist derails it about two-thirds of the way through. No masterpiece, Million Dollar Baby is a very good B movie with a sucker punch of a plot twist that sends it to the corner in shame, disqualified. Nominated for Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Film, Best Director. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

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

Tinseltown

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

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 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 IMAX (in IMAX 3-D), Picture Show

Pooh's Heffalump Movie (G)
The Hundred Acre Wood crowd heads out to capture the much-feared Heffalump, only to discover a friendly and loving creature. The film also features songs by Carly Simon. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Carmike 16, Tinseltown

Racing Stripes (PG)
A zebra with a voice on loan from Frankie Munez is mistakenly abandoned during a rainstorm and finds refuge on a farm where he grows up believing he is a racehorse. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Ray (R)
The film biography of America's beloved soul man, Ray Charles. 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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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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Uncle Nino (PG)
A family is brought closer together when their estranged uncle Nino travels from Italy to Chicago for a visit. Stars Joe Mantegna and Anne Archer. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

The Wedding Date (PG-13)
Kat Ellis (Debra Messing) is afraid of confronting her ex-boyfriend at her sister's wedding. To make him jealous, she hires a top-of-the-line male escort played by Dermot Mulroney. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

White Noise (PG-13)
Unable to know the truth of his wife's death, Jonathan Rivers (Michael Keaton) is contacted by a man who can communicate with the dead by monitoring electronic static. Sufficiently scary in parts, White Noise nonetheless suffers from extremely slow pacing and a hurried finish. -- Dan Wilcock

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