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Movie Picks

Edward Norton as FBI agent Will Graham, in the distasteful position of needing Hannibal Lectors help
  • Edward Norton as FBI agent Will Graham, in the distasteful position of needing Hannibal Lectors help

Across the Sea of Time (NR)
Schmaltzy and sentimental, with a thin and barely coherent plot, this 3-D IMAX film is also visually stunning, even beautiful, consistently interesting and, occasionally, intensely moving. It's the story of a 10-year-old Russian boy and his family who have emigrated to the United States over a century. Nineteenth- and early 20th-century stereoscopic images are magically transferred to the IMAX format and the results are breathtaking. -- John Hazlehurst

Cinemark IMAX Theatre

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (R)
Action/thriller starring Antonio Banderas as Jonathan Ecks, an FBI agent who must team up with a rogue NSA agent with whom he is in mortal combat in order to defeat a common enemy. Lucy Lui plays Sever, the NSA agent. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Banger Sisters (R)
What's to hate about The Banger Sisters? Abysmal pacing, Geoffrey Rush's inexplicable awkwardness in a supporting role, Susan Sarandon's pathetic character, horrible whiny teenagers, and the notion that being drunk for 20 years is somehow more liberating than choosing a buttoned-down life. What's to like? Goldie Hawn's muscle tone and her absolute perfection as a melting-down boozehound who knows her time has passed but can't give up the gig of sexpot. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Barbershop (PG-13)
One of those rare, thoroughly realized comedic films that contains such concise inventions of story, character and milieu that it begs to be serialized into a television situation comedy. Music-video director Tim Story's studio-backed feature debut about a south side Chicago barbershop shows equal promise for his expressive ability with multiple characters and delicate shifts in tone from comedy to drama with light touches of social commentary. (Better catch this original comedy before television writers turn it into the mediocre weekly pulp they're famous for delivering.) -- Cole Smithey

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*The Four Feathers (PG-13)
The tale of one man's personal quest for peace and marriage in the face of his country's orders to fight Sudanese Arabs in the name of the Queen's Empire. Heath Ledger plays Harry Feversham, a soldier for Imperial England, who resigns his regiment's commission after announcing his engagement to Ethne (Kate Hudson). When he finds himself unable to endure the humiliation of being considered a coward, Harry goes off alone to North Africa's treacherous Sudan in search of honor, only to be swallowed up by a culture he can barely fathom. -- Cole Smithey

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*My Big Fat Greek Wedding (PG)
A delightful confection of a 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

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Kimball's Twin Peak Theater, Tinseltown

*One Hour Photo (PG-13)
Besides being a well directed, mildly interesting psychological thriller, this is Robin Williams' redemption as a screen actor. He brings everything he has learned in a long career to the role of Sy Parrish, a lab tech at a one-hour photo kiosk, who, while developing the photographs of a picture-perfect family, also develops a crush on their lives. Director Mark Romanek sets a spare, modern, intentionally sterile scene where life is played out on a thin surface -- like skating on ice. The cheery landscape of family photographs is analyzed nicely and provides a suitably deluded simulation of family life for Sy. The story turns out to be a little thin but One Hour Photo is an interesting enough character study to sustain interest and create suspense. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

*The Road to Perdition (R)
This is not a neatly wrapped up father-and-son/growing-up tale but a highly stylized 1930s gangster film that explores the dark fate of those men and the time it recreates. 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. The dark beauty created sticks with the viewer long after the film has ended. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills

*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)
Delightful sequel to last year's surprise hit. Carmen and Juni Cortez (Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara) take on rival spy kids Gary and Gerti Giggles (Matthew O'Leary and Emily Osment), rivals for a plum assignment. Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino are back as the Cortez kids' swashbuckling parents. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinema Latino, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Stealing Harvard (PG-13)
Jason Lee stars as John, a straight-up guy who has promised to pay for his niece's college tuition. When he finds out she's gotten into Harvard, and $29,879's due in two weeks, he enlists his friend Duff (Tom Green) to help him scrape together the dough.

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Swimfan (PG-13)
A predictable, mean little adolescent version of Fatal Attraction with all its misogyny intact but devoid of any potentially interesting character development.-- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Trapped (R)
Hollywood's latest child abduction exploitation flick (talk about bad timing!) that's about as much fun as being stuck in a dentist's chair for extended oral surgery, awake, with Muzak screaming overhead. The first half works fairly well with Kevin Bacon and Courtney Love giving it their devilish best as demented kidnappers and Charlize Theron breaking your heart as the desperate mother, but the movie loses any credibility it has established by throwing in a plot twist involving the kidnappers' dead little girl and by devolving into a James Bond rescue fantasy in its last 20 minutes. Car chases, airplane acrobats and great balls of fire conclude what began as a quiet psychological thriller. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Tuxedo (PG-13)
Jackie Chan plays Jimmy Tong, a New York City taxi driver hired to chauffeur a millionaire who's working on a top-secret mission for the U.S. government. When Tong slips into his employer's experimental new tuxedo, loaded with high-tech gadgets, he enters a strange new world of espionage. Also starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinema Latino, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

xXx (PG-13)
Despite its humor and abundant energy, xXx ultimately cannot decide whether it is a) a comic book-style adventure flick where all is not as it seems; b) a legitimate invention of a new breed of action-adventure hero; or c) all-out parody. It could have been good plain fun, but dies in explosive overkill and is doomed by its confounding identity crisis. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Cinema Latino, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

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