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Movie Picks

28 Days Later (R)

See full review, page 33.
Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Tinseltown

2 Fast 2 Furious (PG-13)

The long-anticipated sequel to earlier thrill ride Fast and the Furious features a return performance from Paul Walker as renegade cop Brian O'Conner. A frequently shirtless Tyrese Gibson fills the hunkiness gap left by Vin Diesel. --Not reviewed
Tinseltown, Cinemark 16, Carmike 10

Alex and Emma (PG-13)

Take the worst romantic comedy you've ever seen -- one with no clever dialogue, abysmal comic timing, and unlikable characters -- and multiply it by zero. That's the relative value of this stinker from director Rob Reiner. Alex and Emma, starring the otherwise capable and attractive Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson, asks us to care about the coupling of a pair of really obnoxious Gen-Xers. Alex Sheldon (Wilson) is a self-proclaimed brilliant novelist and one who is destitute, He must deliver the follow-up to his debut novel in 30 days to pay off his gambling debts or a couple of Cuban Mafioso types will whack him. Enter Emma Dinsmore (Hudson), a stenographer lured to Alex's apartment under false pretenses, but who stays to take dictation of his novel because, well, there is just something intriguing about him. He spouts out a novel and she interrupts constantly as they "work" together over the next couple weeks. We are ferried back and forth from their contemporary setup to the workings of Alex's "novel." It's hard to tell whether Reiner and screenwriter Jeremy Leven intended to be farcical with the novelist; Alex's prose is bad beyond belief. Reiner inserts himself into the film as the sleazy publisher who whips off a check for $125,000 to Alex on the completion of the novel, declaring it great. It's a fitting conceit for a director who gets richer every time he cranks out a movie, even one as abysmal and worthless as Alex and Emma. --Kathryn Eastburn
Tinseltown, Cinemark 16, Chapel Hills 15

Bruce Almighty (PG-13)

After a less than enthusiastic reception to more serious roles in The Majestic and Man on the Moon, Jim Carrey returns to his tried-and-true physical comedy routine. Carrey plays an insufferable television reporter longing for an anchor job. When he doesn't get the job he rants at God, blaming the Almighty for his misfortunes and his "trivial life." He receives an audience with God (Morgan Freeman), who wants to go on vacation and leaves Bruce in charge. There is little logic to the film's journey to its obvious conclusion, way too many trademark Jim Carrey stunts minus interesting characterization, and far too little screen time for co-stars Freeman and Jennifer Aniston. -- Kathryn Eastburn
Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

Bugs (NR)

Dame Judi Dench narrates this inside look at the secret world of bugs, presented by Terminix. No joke. --Not reviewed
Cinemark IMAX

Charlie's Angels: Full

Throttle (PG-13)

The newest sequel to a movie based on a TV show: the heroine trio returns played by Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and a thinner Drew Barrymore. Lots of breasts bouncing, espionage, martial arts and disguise with no real plot. The new addition of Bernie Mac appeals to the black demographic. Demi Moore boosts the hotness factor. --Not reviewed
Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

Finding Nemo (G)

Animated Disney flick about cute fishies, featuring the voices of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Geoffrey Rush, and, I kid you not, Willem Dafoe. --Not reviewed
Tinseltown, Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

Ghost of the Abyss (NR) (in IMAX 3D)

Director James Cameron once again exploits, oops that's explores the wreckage of the Titanic -- this time in 3-D. -- Not reviewed
Cinemark IMAX

Hollywood Homicide (PG-13)

Moonlighting homicide detectives (Josh Hartnett and Harrison Ford) investigate a nefarious rap record boss (Isaiah Washington.) country great Dwight Yoakum also stars. --Not Reviewed
Cinemark 16, Tinseltown, Chapel Hills 15

*The Hulk (PG-13)

Art house director Ang Lee enters the Marvel Comics-inspired action-hero genre with characteristic precision and visual flair, adding pop psychological analysis to a mix that turns out to be more like King Kong than Spiderman. The Hulk enters the field of blockbusting summer action-adventure with grace and style. Lee offers lots of back story in the film's first half, visiting the desert military base where scientist David Banner (Nick Nolte) goes a little overboard with self-experimentation. He alters his own DNA then sires a son, Bruce, who transports his father's hubris and twisted genius into the next generation. Fast-forward 30 years. Bruce (Australian hunk Eric Bana) works alongside ex-girlfriend, Betty (Jennifer Connelly), developing "nanomeds" substances that will hopefully allow humans to heal themselves. Connelly is solid as the damsel-in-control, mastering the film talent of a silent, sweeping, single fat tear rolling out of her unblinking eye. Bana is fine too, reserved, pent-up and buff. Nolte gives a one-man freak show that blows the mad scientist genre right of the map. The Hulk is slow going but interesting up to point when the monster erupts and the inevitable chase scene begins. Lee employs every trick in the book -- extreme close-ups, crane shots, split screen -- to give the film an action-hero/comic-book look and the effect is mesmerizing. Only the computer-graphic Hulk gives pause: the monster looks soft and rubbery. He looks like Shrek, except meaner, with Eric Bana's wet eyes. He's not scary. I found this not an insurmountable quibble. The Hulk offers visual pizazz, enough technical wizardry, and enough cinematic beauty to overcome this shortfall.

--Kathryn Eastburn
Tinseltown, Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

India: Kingdom of the Tiger

(NR) (large format for IMAX)

A National Wildlife Federation presentation, this new IMAX film focuses on the plight of the Bengal tiger, and retells the true story of British hunter and wildlife conservationist, Edward James Corbett, who lived most of his life in India. -- Not reviewed
Cinemark IMAX

*The Italian Job (PG-13)

The latest in a line of mediocre heist flicks, The Italian Job, to its credit, stars a cast of criminals you could actually bring home to Mom. It's a gang that doesn't shoot straight because it doesn't pack heat. They even drive fuel-efficient European minis. Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg) leads a team composed of tech-savvy experts Left Ear (Mos Def), a hacker extraordinnaire (Seth Green) and Handsome Rob (Jason Statham). Charlize Theron is the requisite chick on hand to siphon off some of the homoerotic tension that would otherwise froth over. Like most heist films, the planning stage is the most satisfying. However there's no tension in the film beyond the question: Will they pull it of? The Italian Job is abetted by a graceful camera, and the techno trance music pulls the rest of the load. This is not a bad ride, but if you remember anything about it by the time you get home from the multiplex, let me know. --John Dicker
Tinseltown, Cinemark 16

Man on the Train (R)

Man on the Train is just the sort of summer art film designed to please its audience. It's slow in a meandering French way that NPR liberals often mistake for depth. It's none too challenging, but quite pleasant: a midlife crisis film combined with an exploration of how strangers waltz into our lives and change them forever, We meet Milan (Johnny Halladay), a bank robber tripping out on a crack-of-dawn commuter train. He gets off in a small town and buys some aspirin. At the drug store he meets Mansequier (Jean Rochefort) -- a graying dandy, retired poetry teacher, and heir to a small fortune -- who invites Milan home for a glass of water. The two quickly make an arrangement for Milan to stay the night. The initial awkwardness is as enjoyable as any romantic comedy: Mansequier talkative, his guest stoic. Mansequier has never quite proven his manhood. He wistfully idolizes the heroes of spaghetti westerns, and when he finds three handguns in Milan's jacket, he couldn't be more delighted and spends a hilarious minute playing Clint Eastwood in the mirror. There's a quiet delight to this film directed by Patrice Leconte. It's a melancholy exchange between men without the predictable homophobia of macho prevarication -- a sort of, "wish I could have your life, guy, now pass the baguette s'il vous plat" stroll through the vicissitudes of destiny. --John Dicker
Kimball's Twin Peak

*The Matrix Reloaded (R)

Neo (Keanu Reeves) exhibits fresh powers in Matrix Reloaded that promise to play a significant role in part three, coming in November. Since the first film, he has switched from confused Matrix slave into a Superman-styled messianic protagonist with a heightened love for S&M warrior priestess Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) in her signature patent leather cat suit. What's at stake, essentially, in Matrix Reloaded -- besides the question of whether Neo and Trinity can lead humanity if indeed that is all that exists outside the Matrix -- is a symbolic capacity for original or individual thought. The world of violent, super-action cinema is about to swing in a very aggressive direction. Fasten your seatbelts; it's going to be Matrix days at the movies for a very long time to come. -- Cole Smithey
Cinemark IMAX, Tinseltown, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

Nowhere in Africa (R)

See full review, page 32.
Kimball's Twin Peak

Rugrats Go Wild (PG)

Two of Nickolodeon's most popular cartoons come together when the Rugrats meet the Wild Thornberrys in this fun, exotic adventure ride. Featuring the voices of Tim Curry, LL Cool J, and Bruce Willis. --Not Reviewed
Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

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