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Movie picks


Films recommended by our reviewers are indicated by an *.

2012 (PG-13)

As the end of the world nears, as predicted by the Mayan calendar, a group of would-be heroes struggles to survive. — Not reviewed

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Alvin and the Chipmunk: The Squeakquel (PG)

Alvin and the Chipettes are back in this animated follow-up to 2007's singing chipmunk holiday film. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Astro Boy (PG)

Dr. Tenma (the voice of Nicolas Cage) is the scientific genius of Metro City, when his boy, Toby, is killed in an accident and Tenma builds a robot version of him. — MaryAnn Johanson

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Avatar (PG-13)

Avatar is set in a computer-generated world called Pandora, a planet inhabited by the Na'vi, who are rich in a coveted resource ridiculously named Unobtainium. As highly detailed as Avatar looks, its meager plot fails to pull you in, leaving you to ponder the technology. — Tricia Olszewski

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

The Blind Side (PG-13)

The Blind Side takes on the real-life underdog-makes-good story of Michael Oher, currently a first-year left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens. It's not unimpressive because it's a "feel-good" story, but because it's simply a lazy piece of movie-making. — Scott Renshaw

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

The Book of Eli (R)

Walker (Denzel Washington) wanders through a post-apocalyptic world holding the last known copy of the King James Bible. All he knows is that he's headed west, and that he must keep the book safe. The directors and screenwriter don't seem at all daunted by the many precedents for their samurai-Western schtick.— Jonathan Kiefer

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

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (PG)

This animated adventure is based on the popular children's book about a village where food, rather than rain, falls from the heavens. — Not reviewed

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Couples Retreat (PG-13)

This half-assed update of Fantasy Island, manages to feel somehow both shriveled to short-sitcom proportions and bloated to feature-film length. — Jonathan Kiefer

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Disney's A Christmas Carol (PG)

A remake of Dickens' classic tale, this time with Jim Carrey playing Scrooge. — Not reviewed

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Dr. Wayne W. Dyer: Wishes Fulfilled Encore (NR)

In this one-night rebroadcast, Dr. Wayne Dyer explores the Tao Te Ching's influence upon his own life and thinking, and the way it can help others. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

Extraordinary Measures (PG)

John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) abandons his high-paying job when his two children contract a terminal illness. He finds an ally in Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford), and the two work together to search for an unlikely cure. — Not reviewed

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

*Fantastic Mr. Fox (PG)

Wes Anderson directs this stop-motion animated adaptation of Roald Dahl's 1970 children's novel. It's a surprisingly adult-ish film featuring George Clooney voicing the title role and Meryl Streep as his no-less-fantastic wife. — Jeff Sneider

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*It's Complicated (R)

Jane Adler (Meryl Streep) thought she had life figured out, until an empty nest drives her into an affair with a married man — her ex-husband (Alec Baldwin). Director Nancy Meyers has built her résumé on crowd-pleasing comedies, and It's Complicated is one more. — Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Law Abiding Citizen (R)

A decade after the murders of his wife and daughter, a man seeks his own vengeance against the killer. — Not reviewed

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Leap Year (PG)

After dating for four years and still getting no proposal of marriage, a young woman (Amy Adams) decides to turn the tables on her boyfriend, investing in an Irish tradition that allows women to propose to men on Feb. 29. — Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Legion (R)

When God sends his angels to destroy humanity, the planet's only defenders sit in a remote diner where they work to save the human race with the help of the fallen archangel Michael (Paul Bettany). — Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Lovely Bones (PG-13)

Directed by Peter Jackson and adapted from Alice Sebold's 2002 novel, this tense but ultimately disappointing drama follows murdered 14-year-old Susie Salmon as she tells her tale from the grave and watches over her family from a limbo-like afterlife. — Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Men Who Stare at Goats (R)

Reporter Bob Wilton heads to the Middle East to find a story in the Iraq war, but uncovers a U.S. military operation created to develop soldiers with psychic abilities. — Scott Renshaw

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Ninja Assassin (R)

A man who was taken from the streets as a youth and raised to be a killer by a secret clan, frees himself after the murder of his friend, and waits for a chance for revenge. — Not reviewed

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Planet 51 (PG)

In this animated adventure, the residents of a far-off planet live in dread of aliens invading their homeland, when an astronaut shows up confirming their fears. — Not reviewed

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*Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (R)

I'm mystified that some commentators have called this film racist, exploitive or emblematic of liberal guilt. How do we tell a story about a girl raped by her father, abused by her mother and ignored by almost everyone around her if we're not up-front about it? — MaryAnn Johanson

Carmike 10, Kimball's Peak Three

The Princess and the Frog (G)

Is it too churlish to complain about The Princess and the Frog? Disney finally gives us a black princess ... and she spends most of the movie as an amphibian? — MaryAnn Johanson

Chapel Hills 15

*Sherlock Holmes (PG-13)

Though director Guy Ritchie's adaptation has more in common with the director's other films than with the Sherlock Holmes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, the spirit of Holmes remains thoroughly intact. — MaryAnn Johanson

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

*A Single Man (R)

Directed by fashion designer Tom Ford, George (Colin Firth) is a college professor in early 1960s Los Angeles mourning the death of his longtime partner when such relationships were barely acknowledged. See this alternately moving and frustrating film, for Firth's performance.— MaryAnn Johanson

Kimball's Peak Three

The Spy Next Door (PG)

Jackie Chan plays a super spy who decides to give up espionage to settle down with girlfriend, but first he must complete his most difficult mission to win over her three reluctant kids. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Stepfather (PG-13)

When a student returns home from military school and meets his mother's new boyfriend, he soon suspects the man may be hiding a dangerous past. — Not reviewed

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To Save a Life (PG-13)

A popular high-school basketball star must make a difficult choice between his best friend and his own success. — Not reviewed

Cinemark 16

Tooth Fairy (PG)

When a hockey player (Dwayne Johnson) crushes a little girl's belief in the tooth fairy, he is condemned to spend a week performing the fairy's difficult duties. — Not reviewed

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

Up in the Air (R)

George Clooney plays a businessman and frequent flier on the verge of reaching his 10-millionth mile, when his company grounds him, threatening his life on the road. — Not reviewed


*Where the Wild Things Are (PG)

You could argue that this is the most ambitious film ever inspired by a 10-sentence-long picture-book. — Scott Renshaw

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The Young Victoria (PG)

As she's about to turn 18 and take England's throne, young Princess Victoria is tangled in a struggle for power, and a romance with Belgian Prince Albert that could effect her reign. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Kimball's Peak Three

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