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Movie Picks

Autumn in New York (PG-13)

See full review, page 41

Carmike 10; Tinseltown; Tiffany Square

Bless the Child (R)

See full review, page 41

Carmike 10; Citadel Terrace; Chapel Hills; Tinseltown

Coyote Ugly (PG-13)

John Goodman plays the father of Violet (Piper Perabo) a wanna-be musician. Violet gets a gig as bartender at Coyote Ugly, where the gorgeous bartenders double as dancers. The audience appeared to expect a buddy film -- the cinematic equivalent of a trip to a topless joint. But there's not much to ogle at, except silly want-to-be-sexy scenes, where the girls get very close in their wet leather pants -- nothing more than highly conventional Playboy poses. The film iss most interesting in its depictions of the contradictions and pitfalls of modern gender, sexuality, and the hazards for women attempting to reclaim sexual power.See full review. --AL

Tinseltown; Chapel Hills

*Disney's The Kid (PG)

Bruce Willis does a fine job holding his own next the pudgy, lisping, and very cute Spencer Breslin. There is nothing offensive in the film, but if you take your kids be prepared to explain a lot -- The Kid is far more of an adult film than a child's. Don't go expecting a great coming of age film, just keep your average Hollywood expectations with you and you will be pleasantly entertained.

Tinseltown; Citadel Terrace; Chapel Hills

*Chicken Run (G)

Peter Lord and Nick Park, creators of Wallace and Gromit, have crafted a devilishly clever clay animation feature film that is as thoroughly British in its humor as it is enjoyable to watch. Chicken Run is every bit as ridiculous as the title suggests and carries with it a look and style that, while referencing a tradition of escape movies, surprises the audience with its ingenuity and cheeky brand of British satire.See full review. -- Cole Smithey

Tinseltown; Citadel Terrace; Chapel Hills

Frequency (PG-13)

Director Gregory Hoblit knows how to create tension, and succeeds here. Unfortunately, Hoblit was swayed somewhere in the production process, and gradually the threads of the story he set out to tell begin to unravel as he throws in too much new stuff -- like cheap special effects in the climactic scene -- and succumbs, finally, to a completely illogical and smarmy happy, happy and totally implausible ending.See full review. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas; Tiffany Square

*Gladiator (R)

Russell Crowe (The Insider) acts up a righteous storm, proving once and for all that his versatility as an actor matches his prowess. Though director Ridley Scott would like you to think Gladiator is about honor and the danger of mob rule, in truth, it is an old-fashioned revenge drama. Unfortunately, Scott is so enamored of his production team's ability to show heads being severed, that the fight scenes become clamorous and redundant.See full review. -- KCE

Chapel Hills

Hollow Man (R)

Filmmaker Paul Verhoeven's latest thriller, Hollow Man, is an empty, excruciating mess. Kevin Bacon stars as Dr. Sebastian Crane a government scientist who insists that he will become the first invisible human. Assisted by his former lover Linda (Elisabeth Shue) and her current lover, Matt (Josh Brolin), Crane is injected with a smoking, irradiated blue liquid, and in one of the film's compelling special effects sequences, he disappears. But special effects aside, no other aspect of Hollow Man is entertaining or enlightening. When efforts to bring Crane back to visibility fail, instead of despairing, he becomes more of a swaggering ass, growing more testy and more sadistic the longer he remains invisible. To use the guise of invisibility the way Crane does defies logic and imagination -- his is the petty psyche of a Peeping Tom that unjustly reinforces the worst male stereotypes. This overblown spectacle of a film rings empty, void, vacant, meaningless, superficial, delusive, ineffectual, unsatisfying -- in a word, hollow.See full review. -- KCE

Tinseltown; Tiffany Square; Carmike 10

*M: I-2 (Mission: Impossible 2) (PG-13)

Director John Woo keeps similarities to director Brian De Palma's 1996 Mission Impossible to a minimum in this very dissimilar sequel by incorporating his signature slow motion, ballet-of-bullets action sequences against the taut resolve of Tom Cruise's most ambitious action performance to date. The film's realism of danger allows it to operate on a higher level of believability and determination. -- Cole Smithey

Citadel Terrace

The Patriot (R)

Clunky script devices continually squeak and rattle throughout The Patriot. And the film's pitiful attempt at black and white race relation revisionism is glaring. The Patriot is a Mel Gibson movie, and screenwriter Robert Rodat bows reverently to his leading character with radiant attention. The Patriot is an uncomfortably smooth ride over mixed terrain of emotional posturing, flashy action sequences and cultural misrepresentation. --See full review. Cole Smithey

Tinseltown; Chapel Hills

*The Perfect Storm (PG-13)

The summer's first blockbuster, The Perfect Storm turns out to be a wash. The special effects are fun, especially the computer-generated giant swells, but they are less than awe-inspiring. An editor could have done wonders with the film, but unfortunately we're stuck with what we've got -- a few spectacular scenes and some strong performances mish-mashed with too much forced solemnity. The Perfect Storm is well worth seeing, but it's far from perfect.See full review. -- KCE


The Replacements (PG-13)

When the Washington Sentinels' players go on strike, legendary coach Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman) is brought in to put together a team of replacement players to carry the Sentinels through. Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves) is recruited as quarterback because he has a quality missing in the regular crew -- heart. Every scene is utterly predictable. The dialogue is so lame that even the worst clichs are repeated over and over. Even the formidable Gene Hackman couldn't save this giant gridiron groaner.See full review. -- KCE

Tinseltown; Carmike 10; Tiffany Square

*Return to Me (PG)

Despite its silly premise, Return to Me really is a perfectly fine romantic comedy. Like a decent marriage in its middle years, Return to Me is mostly predictable and formulaic, and comforting in its solidity.See full review. -- AL

Silver Cinemas

Scary Movie (R)

Scary Movie, a ripoff of teen slasher flicks Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, may win the overall competition for grossest gross-out jokes of any film ever. Given a big budget, the Wayans seem to wander, aggrandize, overcompensate and falter. Some of the lines are genuinely funny, but to watch Scary Movie is, basically, to suffer through an extended doo-doo riff. -- KCE

Tiffany Square; Tinseltown

Space Cowboys (PG-13)

A macho adventure about four Air Force men grounded during the heyday of NASA. Forty years later, when a Russian communications satellite goes kaflooey, head man Frank Corvin (Clint Eastwood) is called out of retirement to fix a problem so obsolete that only senior citizens can solve it. Corvin demands that his buddies "Hawk" (Tommy Lee Jones), "Tank" (James Garner), and Jerry (Donald Sutherland) get to tag along. The glacial pacing of the first third is almost compensated by the last, but the technical mumbo-jumbo almost kills that. Overall, it is an acceptable Hollywood movie, with some cool special effects.See full review. -- AL

Tinseltown; Kimball's Twin Peak; Gold Hill Theaters; Carmike 10

What Lies Beneath (PG-13)

Director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) kills What Lies Beneath's fleeting moments of excitement by piling up so many false starts of plot and faux shocks of terror that by the time the story finally gets around to making sense with some nitty gritty horror scenes, the audience has become numb to the suspense.See full review. -- Cole Smithy

Tinseltown; Carmike 10; Chapel Hills; Gold Hill Theaters

*X-Men (PG-13)

Audience members are swept up almost immediately into a blessed state of suspended disbelief from which we are allowed to dwell on the spectacle before us, not on the probability of the plot. This happens incredibly swiftly with sharply defined scenes and cogent dialogue. The diction and grave humanity of Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen lend more to the film than a year's worth of special effects.See full review. -- KCE

Tinseltown; Citadel Terrace; Chapel Hills


The Cell (R)

Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez), a child therapist, is asked by the FBI to enter the mind of a psychotic serial killer (Vince Vaughn) in order to find a missing girl. With Vincent D'Onofrio.

Carmike 10; Chapel Hills 15; Tinseltown

Godzilla 2000 (PG-13)

The radioactive megabeast returns.

Chapel Hills; Carmike 10; Tinseltown

The Original Kings of Comedy (R)

Spike Lee directs this documentary, providing a backstage look at the long-running "Kings of Comedy Tour", starring D L Hughley, Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and Bernie Mac.

Carmike 10; Tinseltown

Roman Holiday (not rated)

Audrey Hepburn's Academy Award-winning movie about a wealthy woman that falls for a reporter (Gregory Peck) in Rome.

Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St. $2.75, 634-5583. Tues., Aug. 22, 7:30 p.m.

Sunshine (R)

This epic film, directed by Academy Award-winning director Istvn Szabo, follows three generations of the Jewish-Hungarian Sonnenschein family through political and social change. Starring Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Rosemary Harris, William Hurt and Molly Parker.

Kimball's Twin Peak

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