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Movie Picks


Films recommended by our reviewers are indicated by an *.

Australia (PG-13)

For the first 85 minutes, Australia's a sprawling Western set in 1939. The second half is an epic wartime romance. But it overreaches, trying to staple the two together. Scott Renshaw

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Bedtime Stories (PG)

A hotel maintenance man (Adam Sandler) tells stories to his niece and nephew and they begin to come true. Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15

Beverly Hills Chihuahua (PG)

A chihuahua gets lost on vacation in Mexico. Not reviewed

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Bride Wars (PG)

When their weddings are mistakenly booked on the same day, two best friends (Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway) become adversaries in a race to outdo each other. Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16

*The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (PG-13)

Benjamin Button's ideas don't feel particularly sweeping stuff along the lines of "Life is short and precious, and you should live it to the fullest while you can." Simplistic though it is, the message proves potent. Scott Renshaw


The Day the Earth Stood Still (PG-13)

This is The Day the Earth Barely Even Notices We're on the Brink of Doom, and Why Don't Those Damn Hippies Just Shut Up About Global Warming Already? MaryAnn Johanson

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*Defiance (R)

There isn't a lick of phony sentimentality in this tale of three roguish brothers who lead a group of Jews in hiding into Belorussia's forests during World War II. MaryAnn Johanson

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*Doubt (PG-13)

Inspired by news of church cover-ups regarding molestation of children by priests, Doubt unsurprisingly turns into a Hoffman-Streep throwdown. Both Serious Actors deliver passionate performances. Tricia Olszewski


Fireproof (PG)

In an attempt to help their failing marriage, a fireman and his wife enlist in "The Love Dare." Not reviewed

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Four Christmases (PG-13)

A couple (Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn) attempt to visit all four of their parents' homes for the holidays. Not reviewed

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*Frost/Nixon (R)

Frost/Nixon dramatizes the origin and accomplishment of the 1977 TV interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former President Richard Nixon. Jonathan Kiefer


*Gran Torino (R)

Clint Eastwood directs and plays Walt Kowalski, a Korean War vet, retired autoworker, widower and ornery racist coot. Jonathan Kiefer

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

High School Musical 3: Senior Year (G)

As the end of high school approaches, the kids put on a musical. Not reviewed

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Hotel for Dogs (PG)

A young boy and girl save stray dogs by hiding them in an abandoned house. Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*Inkheart (PG)

Brendan Fraser stars as a man who is a "silvertongue," a rare person who can read aloud from a book and bring it to life. It's a charming and creepy fantasy. MaryAnn Johanson

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Last Chance Harvey (PG-13)

After losing his job and being snubbed by his daughter, Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman) meets Kate Walker (Emma Thompson), a woman who's given up on dating. Not reviewed

Hollywood Interquest

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (PG)

In this animated sequel, Alex the Lion and friends board a flight to New York City, only to end up in Africa. Not reviewed

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Marley & Me (PG)

Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston star as a couple who learns important lessons from a troublesome golden retriever. Not reviewed

Cinemark 16

*Milk (R)

If no single moment can be completely fitting for a biographical drama about martyred civil rights hero Harvey Milk, this moment, 30 years after his assassination, sure feels close. Jonathan Kiefer


New in Town (PG-13)

Rene Zellweger plays a big-city business woman assigned to a job in rural Minnesota, a place she detests, until she meets an intriguing local man (Harry Connick Jr.). Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Notorious (R)

Ummm, the late rapper Biggie Smalls' mother produced this movie? And Biggie Smalls' own son stars as the little Biggie? The result is a biopic that is way too close to its subject matter and far too forgiving. MaryAnn Johanson

Carmike 10

Paul Blart: Mall Cop (PG)

A security guard (Kevin James) must come to the rescue when a mall is taken over by would-be robbers. Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Quantum of Solace (PG-13)

Quantum of Solace lacks the pleasure or mischief that's made James Bond so endearing. Jonathan Kiefer

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The Reader (R)

More than 10 years after his affair with an older woman, a young man finds his former lover standing trial for Nazi war crimes. Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

*Revolutionary Road (R)

I'm not sure what audiences will make of Sam Mendes' pitch-perfect adaptation of the novel by Richard Yates, but like the novel, it captures the soul-crushing impact of compromise required in 1950s suburban America. Scott Renshaw


*Slumdog Millionaire (R)

Now we know why the world has been overrun by idiotic game shows like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Without them we wouldn't have Danny Boyle's enchanting movie about a poor Mumbai teen playing the Indian version of the game. MaryAnn Johanson

Hollywood Interquest, Kimball's Twin Peak, Tinseltown

Taken (PG-13)

Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) does a whole lot o' killin' when his teen daughter is kidnapped by sex traffickers. It's a good thing Neeson is here to class this stuff up. Except maybe it's not a good thing at all. Jonathan Kiefer

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*The Tale of Despereaux (G)

A lovely story about cute, furry creatures who defy odds, embrace danger, find love and celebrate honor. MaryAnn Johanson

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Transporter 3 (PG-13)

Jason Statham returns as Frank Martin, a mercenary whose expertise is the delivery of high-risk cargo. Not reviewed

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Twilight (PG-13)

This is the best movie ever (if you're a 12-year-old fan). Bella, who's a junior in high school, meets Edward, who is the totally cute vampire teenager at school. MaryAnn Johanson


The Unborn (PG-13)

When a woman is troubled by strange dreams, she believes she is being haunted by her twin who died before birth. Not reviewed

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Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (R)

This prequel to Underworld and Underworld 2 explains the animosity between a tribe of aristocratic vampires and a tribe of vampires who were once slaves. Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Uninvited (PG-13)

In this remake of a Korean horror film, a young woman returns home after her mother's death to find her father planning to marry her mother's nurse. Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*The Wrestler (R)

It's a mistake to suggest that The Wrestler is all about watching Mickey Rourke apply his wrecked face and ripped body to a washed up wrestler hoping to make a comeback. As good as he is, it's more than that; it's one of the most unexpectedly heartbreaking dramas in a long time. Scott Renshaw

Kimball's Twin Peak

Yes Man (PG-13)

Jim Carrey plays a man who pledges to say "Yes" to everything for an entire year. Not reviewed

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