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Movie Picks

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Daryl Sabara and Alexa Vega in Spy Kids 3-D.
  • Daryl Sabara and Alexa Vega in Spy Kids 3-D.

*28 Days Later (R)
Director Danny Boyle has crafted a film that invokes our dread of global annihilation. A cell of animal rights zealots have liberated chimps infected with the "rage" virus. Twenty-eight days later, in a hospital bed, Jim (Cillian Murphy) emerges naked and alone from a car accident coma. He eventually meets up with fellow survivors Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley), who give a sober memo: if the infected bleed on you, we'll finish the job. The makeshift family decides to flee. What's refreshing about Boyle's apocalypse is that its horrors are matched with beauty. 28 Days deals with a question more profound than any gadgetry: what if the end of the world is merely a dawn of another? It's substantive brain candy during a season of Happy Meal schlockbusters. --John Dicker

Tinseltown

Bad Boys II (R)
Movie cops have all the excitement. This update of the original buddy action hit reunites Martin Lawrence and Will Smith as LAPD officers assigned to track down an elusive drug kingpin. Explosions, gunplay, more explosions, then the two hours are up.

Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

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 it, he blames God for his misfortunes and his "trivial life." He receives an audience with God (Morgan Freeman), who goes on vacation and leaves Bruce in-charge. There is little logic to the film's journey, way too many trademark Jim Carrey stunts, and too little screen time for co-stars Freeman and Jennifer Aniston. -- Kathryn Eastburn

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 breast bouncing, espionage, martial arts and disguise with no real plot. -- Not reviewed

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

How to Deal (PG-13)
A high school outcast of the trendy variety, played by Mandy Moore, has been led by her parents' dysfunctional relationship to believe love is worthless until an Abercrombie hunk comes along to make her swoon. Like every other teen movie, but newer! -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

*The Hulk (PG-13)
Art house director Ang Lee enters the Marvel Comics-inspired action-hero genre with characteristic precision and visual flair. Lee offers extensive back story, visiting the nuclear test site where scientist David Banner (Nick Nolte) goes overboard with self-experimentation, altering his own DNA then siring a son, Bruce, who transports his father's hubris to the next generation. The adult Bruce (Australian hunk Eric Bana) works alongside ex-girlfriend, Betty (Jennifer Connelly), developing substances that will hopefully allow humans to heal themselves. Connelly is solid and Bana is fine, while Nolte gives a one-man freak show. The Hulk is slow going but always interesting. Only the computer-graphic-induced Hulk gives pause: the monster is soft and rubbery and looks like Shrek. The Hulk offers enough cinematic beauty and intelligent screenwriting to overcome this shortfall.

--Kathryn Eastburn

Tinseltown, Cinemark 16

Johnny English (PG)
British sitcom legend Mr. Bean hops to the big screen once again, this time in a James Bond spoof that also features the acting debut of pop-star Natalie Imbruglia. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (PG-13)
Sean Connery leads literature greats Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll, Dorian Gray, and a host of others to fight organized crime. Not recommended for English teachers. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown, Chapel Hills 15, Carmike 10

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (PG-13)
Attorney Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) takes her Beverly Hills attitude to Washington, not unlike when she took her Beverly Hills attitude to Harvard, and with much the same result. Sally Fields plays the lobbied congresswoman. Lots of pink and limp-wristed posing. -- Not reviewed

Tinseltown, Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

*The Matrix Reloaded (R)
Neo (Keanu Reeves) exhibits fresh powers in Matrix Reloaded that promise to play a significant role in part three. Since the first film, he has switched from confused Matrix slave into a 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

*Nowhere in Africa (R)
Winner of this year's Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, Caroline Link's Nowhere in Africa is a story of exile, class, race, and family struggle. In 1937 Germany, the Redlich family enjoys an upper-class life. With a notion of the anti-Semitism about to ravage his homeland, Walter (Merab Ninidze) flees to a farm in Kenya and waits for his family. Wife Jettel (Julianne Kohler) reluctantly packs up with daughter Regina (Lea Kurka) and the three make a hard-scrabble life on the veldt. Nowhere in Africa explores familiar territory, but also ventures into a few taboo corners. Critics have dismissed it for being a predictable Best Foreign Language Film. The requisite qualities are there -- cinematic sweep, gorgeous soundtrack, dramatic location shots and elevated human drama. Nowhere in Africa is serious, visually striking and humane-- a classic, not a cliche. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Kimball's Twin Peak

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (PG-13)
The best amusement park ride-based film ever, Pirates is the tale of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) whose Saint-Tropez tan and triptych beard has him looking like the lost lovechild of Marilyn Manson and Osama bin Laden. Depp's combination of bad boy charm with Keystone Kops physical panache nearly redeems the film. The plot is convoluted, but cannons fly, peasants and redcoats run scattershot through the cobblestone streets and there's plengy of high seas adventure on the Black Pearl, crewed by Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). -- John Dicker

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown, Cinemark 16

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (PG)
An all-star cast voices the latest animated flick from Dreamworks. Brad Pitt stars as the voice of Sinbad, while Michelle Pfeiffer is his nemesis, the goddess of chaos. Joseph Fiennes' and Catherine Zeta-Jones' voices also star. -- Not reviewed

Tinseltown, Chapel Hills 15

*Spellbound (G)
Every summer one film leaps from art house obscurity to multiplex ubiquity. This year, I'd love the crossover hit to be Spellbound, the story of 8 kids competing for the 1999 national Scripps Howard Spelling Bee. The kids are a potpourri of America: urban and rural, black, white, Latino, Indian, boys and girls. Angela, a Mexican-American girl whose father's first trip to the capital to see his daughter compete in a language he doesn't speak, demonstrates that Spellbound is about more than spelling. Whether throwing our youth into an ephemeral media frenzy is a good idea or a form of child abuse is a question raised early. Will the bell toll their doom? When it doesn't, it's as vicariously delightful as anything on SportsCenter. -- John Dicker

Landmark Mayan (Denver)

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (R)
Arnold Schwarzenegger returns once again as a robot sent back in time to protect a young rebel leader. Basically a rehashing of the plot of Terminator 2, but the antagonist is a sexy lady robot that can put her legs behind her head--Not reviewed

Tinseltown, Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

*Whale Rider (PG-13)
A multigenerational female empowment story rooted deeply in Maori mythology, Whale Rider is a riveting human drama from beginning to end. Newcomer Keisha Castle-Hughes is a revelation as Pai, a young girl descended from Maori chiefs who wants to claim her place as a tribal leader. But she's a girl and that's not allowed, as she is reminded again and again by her grandfather Koro (Rawiri Paratene). This is the central conflict of the film, set in coastal New Zealand where modern poverty and vulnerability exist alongside the eternal natural beauty and brutality of the sea. What happens in the third act is a complete and wondrous surprise. Whale Rider is a crowd pleaser for all the right reasons: it informs its viewers about dignity and pain but never condescends. Don't miss it. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Kimball's Twin Peak

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