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Movie Picks

Opening this week  an Adam Sandler movie that may not make you cringe  Punch-Drunk Love
  • Opening this week an Adam Sandler movie that may not make you cringe Punch-Drunk Love

Abandon (PG-13)
Katie Holmes plays an Ivy League senior who's been haunted by the disappearance of her ex-boyfriend (Charlie Hunnam) for three years. Her visions of him, as well as those of someone else who went missing, make her a suspect. Benjamin Bratt plays the detective investigating the case. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*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

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

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

Cinema Latino

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


*Barbershop (PG-13)
Feature debut by music-video director Tim Story about a South Side Chicago barbershop that reveals his expressive ability with multiple characters and a capacity to delicately shift in tone from comedy to drama. -- Cole Smithey


Brown Sugar (PG-13)
A hip-hop music critic and an executive at a hip-hop label have been friends since childhood, but as the exec's wedding approaches, they start to wonder if they were meant to be more than just friends. (Starring Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs) -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Formula 51 (R)
Samuel L. Jackson plays an illegal-drug chemist who treks to Liverpool, England, in search of a market for his new concoction. Hoping to retire soon, he wants this to be his last big deal, but his British connection turns out to be less than amiable. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Human Body (Not rated)
A look at the extraordinary events taking place every day inside the human body. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark IMAX Theatre

Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie (G)
Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber and other talking vegetables tell the Biblical story of Jonah in the first animated feature film from the creators of the VeggieTales series. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Knockaround Guys (R)
The four sons of Brooklyn gangsters are tired of being mere errand boys and convince their crime lord elders to give them a shot at the big time. (Starring Dennis Hopper, John Malkovich, Vin Diesel, Seth Green, Barry Pepper and Andrew Davoli) -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Men in Black 2 (PG-13)
Although 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

Cinema Latino

Reba McClane sees a different side of Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon
  • Reba McClane sees a different side of Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon

*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

*Red Dragon (R)
Anthony Hopkins has internalized the role of Hannibal Lecter so thoroughly by now that he barely moves or blinks when delivering his virulent lines. Edward Norton is fresh and straightforward as FBI agent Graham. And Ralph Fiennes portrays murderer Dolarhyde more than adequately. A thrilling musical score by Danny Elfman drives the film and provides many crowd-rousing moments. All in all, Red Dragon competently completes the trilogy, likely retiring Hopkins' famous Dr. Lecter for good. Let's hope so anyway. The psychopath as mastermind myth is beginning to feel a little too comfortable and familiar. -- Kathryn Eastburn

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

The Ring (PG-13)
A remake of a 1998 Japanese thriller about a journalist (Naomi Watts) who finds and watches a videotape with a disturbing history -- everyone who has watched it has died within seven days. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

*Secretary (R)
See full review, page 30.

Kimball's Twin Peak

Spider-Man (PG-13)
From the script to the editing and acting, Spider-Man is just ... just so enh. Computer effects have rendered the charming reality of human error obsolete, making the film feel just too sterile. -- Noel Black

Cinema Latino

*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

Cinema Latino, Tinseltown

Sweet Home Alabama (PG-13)
After watching Sweet Home Alabama, I couldn't remember a thing I had seen in the last two hours and couldn't stop singing that obnoxious song for two days. Reese Witherspoon is so chipper and attractive that she almost carries Sweet Home Alabama off, but the actress who swept us away with her brilliant performance as the bratty good girl in Election is nowhere apparent here. That script demanded smart acting and a keen understanding of character. This script relies on pretty faces, cliches and soggy stereotypes. In the end, you don't care if her character comes home or not. You just want to get out of the theater before that blasted song starts again. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Transporter (PG-13)
A former U.S. Special Forces soldier-turned-mercenary will deliver any package, no questions asked, for a price. But on his latest assignment, he breaks the first rule of the delivery service: Don't open the package. (Starring Jason Statham and Shu Qi) -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Tuck Everlasting (PG)
You must view this film in its intended vein -- "family" entertainment of the old-school Disney variety, aimed at the hearts of 8- to 12-year-old girls and their mothers. (Think Swiss Family Robinson meets Interview with a Vampire minus the blood.) As such, it's a distinctive success, avoiding the pervasive presence of modern, smart-ass whiz kids parroting insulting lines. Alexis Bledel is delightful in the role of Winnie, a spunky 15-year-old who's tired of her stifling life, and former soap opera heartthrob Jonathan Jackson is wide-eyed, bushy-tailed and devoted as love-interest Jesse. William Hurt sleepwalks through his performance, but Ben Kingsley is creepy and smarmy as the mysterious man in the yellow suit and Sissy Spacek is spirited and slightly wacky as the mother of the Tuck family. -- Kathryn Eastburn

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.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinema Latino

White Oleander (PG-13)
The coming-of-age story of a young woman who must break away from the strangling heartstrings of her tragically misguided mother, White Oleander is competently made but takes few risks. Instead director Peter Kosminsky offers a fairly straight-up chronicle of the tragic and formative events in the life of young Astrid (Alison Lohman), a teen-ager who enters the foster care system when her mother Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) is imprisoned for murder. When the film ended the day I saw it, the woman next to me let out a big sigh and said, "Well, I hope the book was better than this." It was. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills, 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

Cinema Latino

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