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Movie Picks

*A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (PG-13)
See full review.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Kimball's Twin Peak, Tinseltown

*Amores Perros (R)
Rougly translated "Love's a Bitch," this debut film by 37-year-old Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is a startling, gritty exploration of love, loyalty and betrayal. Mildly reminiscent of Steven Soderbergh's Traffic in its use of parallel story lines to explore a theme, Amores Perros is superior to that film because the emotional content is so genuine. It's a shocking but deeply moral film, unlike another of its stylish predecessors, Pulp Fiction. We are meant to experience a slice of life as it might actually occur, including the surreal circumstances that draw us all together as flawed, vulnerable humans, looking for love and stumbling through the potential pitfalls. See full review. -- KCE

Kimball's Twin Peak

Angel Eyes (R)
See full review.

Silver Cinemas

*Baby Boy (R)
Writer/director John Singleton turns his precise ear for dialogue to males growing up in South Central, Los Angeles to support a premise that black men are snared by racism into a prolonged infantilism that prevents them from accepting responsability. The meticulously character-driven narrative is funneled through 19 year-old "Baby Boy" Tyrese Gibson, a father of two children by different women, who still lives at home with his 35 year-old mother and her ex-convict boyfriend (Ving Rhames). As Tyrese struggles to find a job he enjoys, while fooling around with different women, his responsibility to his son's mother (Taraji P. Henson) forms a bridge to manhood he must cross. The film is a daring meditation on one aspect of African American life with no shortage of sex, violence, and urban realism. -- Cole Smithey

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Blow (R)
Part social portrait and part biopic, Blow plays like an essential predecessor to Steven Soderbergh's Traffic. Johnny Depp gives a spellbindingly naturalistic performance as George Jung, the real-life main character whose alliance with the Colombian cocaine cartels during the '70s and '80s landed him behind bars for drug trafficking. Director Ted Demme puts a sympathetic face on an intensely individualistic man whose propensities for crime brought him immense riches but eventually cost him everything he cared about. See full review. -- Cole Smithey

Silver Cinemas

*Chocolat (PG-13)
See full review.

Broadmoor, Silver Cinemas

*crazy/beautiful (PG-13)
As a teen romance, crazy/beautiful scores by giving its target audience a healthy dose of coming-of-age sensuality in the guises of "It Girl" Kirsten Dunst and newcomer Jay Hernandez. Dunst is a disaffected poor little rich girl ignored by her congressman father (Bruce Davison) and reviled by her materialistic stepmother. But Dunst's reckless character has deeper emotional problems that she tries to overcome in a relationship with her straight-arrow Latino boyfriend (Hernandez). The movie goes to uncommon depths for a genre film in exposing cross-cultural prejudices and teen drug and alcohol use in a way that neither patronizes or moralizes. Kirsten Dunst commands the film with fresh and fragile charisma. -- Cole Smithey

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Evolution (PG-13)
The setup for Evolution is one big fat clich: Extra terrestrials are preparing to take over the world, and two wisecracking professors are the only ones who can do anything about it. Comedy ensues. Sadly but not surprisingly, it's only a poor approximation of comedy, as formulaic and worn as a presidential campaign, only not as funny. See full review. -- Patton Dodd

Chapel Hills

A Knight's Tale (PG-13)
A silly, lightweight medieval tale set largely in the jousting ring, with combat scenes so innocuous that the clashing of lances at high speed is visually digestible, even for the sensitive viewer. Starring babe/boy Heath Ledger. See full review. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

*Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (PG-13)
We're supposed to hate this movie. By nearly all critical accounts, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is dull and clich-ridden. But I had loads of fun watching this picture. Lara Croft is a young, single heiress who's regularly called upon to save the universe. She spends her days training for battle in her massive castle, fighting off dummy cyborgs and practicing insanely dangerous acrobatic stunts. We don't really know where she came from or why she's so militaristic. What we do know is that she kicks ass, and that's all that matters. See full review. -- Patton Dodd

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Moulin Rouge (PG-13)
What a glorious mess! Aussie director Baz Luhrmann once again pulls out the stops, creating a film universe that is sodden with color and immersed in song. A viewer may feel he's missing half the film, there's so much to see, but everything eventually sinks in. Ewan McGregor plays Christian, a young penniless poet from the countryside. Nicole Kidman plays Satine, star of the Moulin Rouge stage and famed courtesan, who dreams of being a real actress. Elaborate sets, combined with Luhrmann's manic visual style, keep the eye busy with almost more than it can handle, but to accuse Moulin Rouge of excess is a little like saying the sun is too bright, the rain too wet. See full review. -- KCE

Cinemark 16

*O Brother, Where Art Thou? (PG-13)
God love the Coen brothers. What kind of mind imagines Homer's Odyssey set in Depression-era rural Mississippi? This funny, slight idea is lovingly and solidly conceived and executed. George Clooney is pitch perfect as Ulysses Everett McGill, a smart-talking, slick-looking con man who breaks away from a penal farm chain gang and drags along the two guys who happen to be hooked up to him on either side -- dour Pete (John Turturro) and hapless Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson). The Coens create a perfectly imagined universe, inhabited by fiends and angels of all sorts. Tim Blake Nelson's performance is as sweet and friendly as a good old hound dog. Best musical soundtrack of last year. See full review. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

Pearl Harbor (PG-13)
A bald-faced exploitation flick, preying on our nation's collective if fuzzy memory of being attacked, faulty in its historic re-creation, insipid in its lame, manipulative love story, and embarrassingly vapid in its telling of one of the critical military attacks of the 20th century. The outstanding computer-generated special effects serve only to desensitize the audience: The carnage of the "date that will live in infamy" never seems real or human. Character development in this overly long and sentimental love/war story is non-existent. The heroes played by Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett merely spout lines borrowed from vintage World War II dramas while posturing through their love triangle with the lovely Kate Beckinsale. See full review. -- KCE

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Shrek (PG)
Hand-drawn animation is so 20th Century. Based on the massive success of computer animated movies like Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Antz, and A Bug's Life, Hollywood studios are increasingly churning out digital cartoons and second guessing hand-drawn projects. As animation, Shrek is nearly as remarkable as its predecessors, and bodes well for where the form is going visually. Shrek suggests that digital animation features could be going the way of the action adventure movie -- great looking and profitable, but brainless. Strangely, Shrek has gained the affection of a sizeable and growing audience. The theater I was in was filled with laughter, and folks applauded at the end. What they're so excited about, and why they're telling their friends, is a mystery to me. See full review. -- Patton Dodd

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Swordfish (R)
See full review.


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