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Movie Picks

Samuel Jackson in xXx
  • Samuel Jackson in xXx

*Across the Sea of Time (NR)
See full review, page 27.

Cinemark IMAX Theatre

Alien Adventure (NR)
In IMAX 3D. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark IMAX Theatre

Austin Powers in Goldmember (PG-13)
Labored and teeming with half-hearted jokes, this third installment in the Austin Powers franchise falls wide of the giddy mark that The Spy Who Shagged Me hit three years ago. The star of the show is still Dr. Evil, and Mike Myers has perfected that character's various charms to a point where he's not so pernicious anymore; unfortunately, the result of this pseudo-affectionate turn-of-events is that Austin Powers loses a heretofore-worthy adversary. Michael Caine gets a much-deserved heavy helping of screen time, but Beyonce Knowles of Destiny's Child lacks the abundant comic savoir-faire to bring her Blaxploitation-inspired character Foxxy Cleopatra to life. Bottom line: Myers needs to be breaking molds rather than adhering to them. -- Cole Smithey

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Blood Work (R)
See full review, page 26

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*The Bourne Identity (PG-13)
Matt Damon more than compensates in his first attempt at a pure action role. (In fact, he kicks his good buddy Ben Affleck's butt as action heroes go.) He plays Jason Bourne, an American super spy who has forgotten his identity and attempts to hide out from government agents in various attractive European locations. The tension builds slowly, and when bullets begin to fly and car chases ensue, it's all nicely choreographed and not overblown. The plot is somewhat thin but the ride is rich with plenty of well-timed twists and turns and an enticing, prickly romance. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

K-19: The Widowmaker (PG-13)
How could Hollywood's finest -- led by arty exploitation director Kathryn Bigelow -- spend more than $100 million over a period of years without one person whispering, "Excuse me, but as a cinema professional, I think it wise to have a third act." So skimpy is this K-19 that just talking about it is problematic; by giving away its setup, you've given away the movie. Worse, the film is perversely stingy in sharing information and/or logic that would help us forgive its many and constant flaws. Ultimately, the movie's blend of historical fact, action-movie schematics and the need to make its $20 million lead into a last-minute hero positions K-19 in a misty, moral no man's land somewhere between the vacuum-packed sacrifices of Black Hawk Down and the thick-headed jingoism of Sum of All Fears. Except it's not nearly the very guilty pleasure such a description might suggest. -- Ian Grey

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Lilo and Stitch (PG)
Disney film about a little Hawaiian girl, Lilo, who adopts a dog that, it turns out, is actually an alien. We kid you not. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Martin Lawrence Live (R)
Comedian Martin Lawrence's latest stand-up tour, filmed during at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., in January 2002. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

Master of Disguise (PG)
Dana Carvey plays Pistachio Disguisey, the last in a long line of -- you guessed it -- masters of disguise, who must harness his innate gift in order to save the world. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Men in Black 2 (PG-13)
Although the newness of the Men in Black concept has worn off, there's plenty of slick and witty post-modern humor to savor in this eccentrically clever romp. And Will Smith brings a new level of charm and comic timing to the role of Agent Jay. -- Cole Smithey

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Minority Report (PG-13)
With a genius plot, and a budget to match, much of the thrill of Minority Report is in the art direction and special effects. They bring us every detail of a future-noir world where surveillance has become as much of a marketing tool as it is a form of policing. Hats off to Steven Spielberg for managing the ambiguities of the Philip Dickinspired script with an uncanny dexterity, and to Tom Cruise, by gum, for playing it straight!

-- Noel Black

Cinemark 16

*My Big Fat Greek Wedding (PG)
A delightful confection of a summer film. The pacing of the first half of the film is a little slow, but it picks up nicely when the whole crazy extended family gets into the act. Romantic comedies require a deft touch, and the writing of Nia Vardalos (who also plays the lead) provides it. -- Andrea Lucard

Kimball's Twin Peak Theater

*The Road to Perdition (R)
This is not a neatly wrapped up father-and-son/growing-up tale but a highly stylized gangster film that explores the dark fate of those men and the time it re-creates. Filmmaker/theater director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) is a master at setting a dramatic scene, artfully orchestrating the nervous pauses before the bullets begin to fly. Tom Hanks' character is deeply conflicted and the actor effectively conveys all that he has lost. Paul Newman, at 77, is still more elegant and fluid than the majority of screen actors, and plays mobster John Rooney with a keen mix of charm, anguish and simmering furor. And Jude Law, as a creepy little weasel, Maguire, makes the screen crackle every time he makes an appearance. The film successfully explores the painful distance between trusting sons and their alienated fathers, and the impact is quiet and somewhat confounding; the dark beauty created by the messengers sticks with the viewers long after the film has ended. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Kimball's Twin Peak

*Signs (PG-13)
A quiet, suspenseful and frequently thrilling romp through the chilling territory of the unknown. Mel Gibson delivers a refreshingly understated turn as a man sleepwalking through life following a spiritual crisis, and Joaquin Phoenix is sincere and effective as his loyal brother. Youngster Rory Culkin is most impressive as an asthmatic waif whose mental clarity regarding an alien invasion, and what it might mean, guides the family's actions. Signs falls into some clumsy dialogue when it tries to be philosophical, but altogether, it's a fun thriller that marks director M. Night Shyamalan's growing influence as a Hollywood filmmaker. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Cinemark IMAX, Tinseltown

* Spy Kids 2 (PG)
See full review, page 26

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Stuart Little 2 (PG)
The sequel to 1999's popular film, based on the E.B. White novel. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Ultimate X (PG)
ESPN and IMAX team up for this extreme sports extravaganza, highlighting ESPN's summer X Games. In 70 mm.

Cinemark IMAX Theatre

xXx (PG-13)
See full review, page 26

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

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