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Movie Picks

*A.I. (PG-13)
A.I. is either a near masterpiece or a near failure. But thumbs up or down do not apply here, because this movie is not meant merely to entertain. It wants to prod, to provoke, to attempt to be art, and, as such, it deserves patient consideration. Viewers will probably love or hate this film pretty quickly, but here's hoping they reserve opinion at least long enough for a long conversation with friends. See full review. -- Patton Dodd

Silver Cinemas

American Pie 2 (R)
The first American Pie was one of the funniest, most original teen flicks of last year; unfortunately, the sequel plays to the lowest common denominator. We are dealt one scene after another of gross-out sex jokes and skits that are as predictable in their assured outcome as the first film was unpredictable. All the smart girls, with the exception of flute-playing Michelle, are assigned peripheral roles, and we don't get any of the wise girl-guy interchange that characterized its predecessor. -- KCE

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Bridget Jones's Diary (R)
See full review.
The Broadmoor, Silver Cinemas

Captain Corelli's Mandolin (R)
Director John Madden has plenty of good material to work with here -- genuine historical context, a fine cast, breathtaking location, and the boundless cinematographic skills of John Toll (Braveheart). But he's managed to goof it all up by using all those goods in service of a trite romance. Nicholas Cage plays Antonio Corelli, a captain in the Italian army, which, in the 1940s, occupies Cephalonia, a beautiful Greek island, rich with cultural and spiritual tradition. Penelope Cruz plays Pelagia, a beautiful island nymph who's betrothed to a local fisherman but who has eyes for the captain. Without the love story, all you have is a beautiful island, rich in tradition and historical complexity riveted by a war it had no choice but to enter. To the thinking in Hollywood, that somehow isn't enough. See full review. -- Patton Dodd

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*The Deep End (R)
Filmed on the shores of Lake Tahoe, The Deep End tells the story of Margaret Hall (Tilda Swinton), a lonely housewife whose husband is always away on Navy business while she takes care of their three kids and his father. When a dead body washes up onshore, Margaret discovers that it is her oldest son Beau's abusive male lover. And when a stranger appears at her door with information that might incriminate Beau, Margaret catapults into mother-protector mode. Swinton's performance is stellar. The stranger, Alec, is played with smoky intensity by ER's Govan Visnjic. Filmed in multiple shades of blue, The Deep End is both smart and smart-looking. -- KCE

Kimball's Twin Peak Theater

*Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (R)
Director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy) apparently set out to retire his two best known characters, Stoner Jay (Jason Mewes) and his wide-eyed sidekick, Silent Bob (Smith), by deliberately making the worst film imaginable. Amazingly, the shtick works. A heist/road flick packed with guest appearances by Smith's actor and director friends (Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Gus Van Sant, Wes Craven and others), Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is crude, rude, and funny as all get-out. The pair make a striking comic duo, sort of like Laurel and Hardy on heavy doses of pot, and the film is a good-natured, if foul-mouthed, swan song. -- KCE

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (PG-13)
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

Silver Cinemas

*"O" (R)
This modern-day rendition of Shakespeare's Othello is set in an elite private school in South Carolina, where the classic tragedy of jealousy and manipulation plays out among teammates on the school's highly competitive basketball team. Because the rhythm of the film and the arc of the story are voiced so thoroughly in cinema language, "O" is the closest I've seen a Shakespeare movie come to making you forget that it's Shakespeare. Director Tim Blake Nelson, most widely recognized as the goofy convict Delmar in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, has a natural sense for the grit of tragedy and the film has a compulsive leanness and purity that cradles blistering performances by Mekhi Phifer, Josh Hartnett and Martin Sheen. See full review. -- Cole Smithey

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*The Others (PG-13)
Atmospheric storytelling, rich lighting, a superb set and a strong ensemble cast, including Nicole Kidman,combine to make Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar's The Others a successful, though not particularly terrifying, psychological thriller. Several scenes set the audience screaming and jumping in their seats, accomplished with little other than carefully choreographed motion and sound. The quiet tension of The Others is a relief now that most directors feel they need to blow the audience out of their seats with special-effects overkill. -- KCE

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Planet of the Apes (PG-13)
Some hesitant praise is due to makeup designer Rick Baker for creating a convincing collection of monkey masks that gives the actors something to hide behind while speaking cardboard dialogue in this poor remake. See full review. -- Cole Smithey

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Princess Diaries (G)
See full review.
Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Rock Star (R)
Rock Star's theme -- "the glamour of the rock 'n' roll high life isn't what it's cracked up to be" -- is about as pedestrian as they come, but it works like a charm in this well-crafted tour through the mid-'80s heyday of heavy metal excess. Mark Wahlberg triumphs as Chris Cole, a copy machine repairman turned hard rock singer, and Jennifer Aniston does a lot with a little at Chris's girl-next-door girlfriend and manager, who gets squeezed out of both duties when Chris starts touring with the legendary Steel Dragon (even the made-up names for the bands have the right attitude of badness to them). Rock Star could be a companion piece to Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous for its sincerely executed attempts at recreating a musical tone and mood reflective of its time. -- Cole Smithey

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Rush Hour 2 (PG-13)
Rush Hour 2 is a movie sequel that comes with a preemptive seal of approval by virtue of Jackie Chan's dedication to pushing his martial arts skills to the limits of acrobatic extremes. Add to this Chan's proven screen chemistry with the infectious high-pitched comic improv abilities of Chris Tucker (Money Talks), and what follows is a stream of highly enjoyable, physically demanding set pieces punctuated by constant comic riffing. See full review. -- Cole Smithey

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Sexy Beast (R)
Sexy Beast tells a story that's been around in film at least as long as Humphrey Bogart: A successful criminal decides to retire from a life of crime, but just as he's getting used to a cozy suburbanesque lifestyle, his old crime boss comes pounding on the door demanding one more score. The back and forth plays brilliantly and, inevitably, brutally. See full review. -- Patton Dodd

Silver Cinemas

*Solas (not rated)

See full review.

Silver Cinemas

*Tortilla Soup (PG-13)
A sweet and touching Latino adaptation of Ang Lee's family food drama Eat Drink Man Woman. Tortilla Soup features Hector Elizondo as the stern but loving patriarch of the family of three sisters -- all grown up but still living at home. A semi-retired chef, Dad prepares elaborate meals to keep the family together; at the same time he fears he is loosing his senses of smell and taste. Great food shots by cinematographer Xavier Perez Grobert. -- KCE


*The Journey of Man (G)
Cirque du Soleil's newest film, The Journey of Man, roughly traces both the evolution of humankind from caves to the Brandenburg Gate and the ages of man from infancy to old age. Known for its dazzling combinations of acrobatics, costuming, dance and music under an old-fashioned big top, the Montreal-based circus here provides 38 minutes of remarkable human strength, balance and artistry in front of fabulous backdrops like a redwood forest or a Nevada desert. Gorgeous feats of strength, coordination and faith (only slightly diminished by the schmaltzy narration) demonstrate what is possible when human. -- Andrea Lucard

Cinemark 16 IMAX

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