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click to enlarge Renee Zellweger lets it all hang out in Bridget Joness Diary
  • Renee Zellweger lets it all hang out in Bridget Joness Diary

*Blow (R)

Part social portrait and part biopic, Blow plays like an essential predecessor to Steven Soderbergh's Traffic. Johnny Depp gives a spellbindingly naturalistic performance as George Jung, the real-life main character whose alliance with the Colombian cocaine cartels during the '70s and '80s landed him behind bars for drug trafficking. Woven into this fairly long movie -- it's close to 2.5 hours -- are seductively crisp performances by supporting players like Paul Reubens, as George's flamboyant California connection, and a virtuoso cameo by Bobcat Goldthwait who tests the purity of a quantity of cocaine like no other actor ever could. Notwithstanding is Penelope Cruz's fairly flat effort as George's over-indulged trophy wife. Director Ted Demme puts a sympathetic face on an intensely individualistic man whose propensities for crime brought him immense riches but eventually cost him everything he cared about. See full review. -- Cole Smithey

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Kimball's Twin Peak, Tinseltown

*Bridget Jones's Diary (R)

Bridget Jones's Diary, the movie, has left most of the funny parts of the novel intact. Bridget Jones is still a 30-something single woman bent on self-improvement. She writes daily in her diary the amount of pounds lost and gained, the number of cigarettes smoked, the alcohol units consumed. She swears that she will find herself a nice, adult man for a serious relationship, and immediately finds herself in bed with her charming and ne'er-do-well boss. And so on. Although the movie is missing some of the funniest quips from the novel, its great strength is in the casting. Rene Zellweger is a dead-on perfect choice for the perpetually injured, hopeful and feisty Bridget. Hugh Grant is utterly delightful as her slimy and sexy boss, Daniel. If you're willing to sit through the first quarter of the movie where the pace is a little slow, the reward is a solid romantic comedy with some really intelligent laughs. See full review. -- AL

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Brothers (R)

For a movie that is all about sex and romance, The Brothers is remarkably dull and didactic. Writer and director Gary Hardwick has forgotten the golden rule of screenwriting: the pages should be mostly white space. Instead, he has cluttered up his film with one overly-long conversation after another discussing the ins and outs of African-American love in the upper echelon. Despite some funny lines and occasionally amusing scenes, The Brothers came across like a well-meaning group therapy session full of type-cast characters and Crate and Barrel furniture. -- AL

Carmike 10, Tinseltown

*Cast Away (PG-13)

Cast Away is not a great film -- it wanders in the end and loses dramatic momentum almost fatally -- but Tom Hanks' is a great performance. Hanks is touching, funny, painfully human, passing his time on a desert talking to a volleyball, washed ashore in a FedEx package. When he is finally rescued and returns to civilization, we don't give a damn about what will happen with his girlfriend at home, nicely played by Helen Hunt; we just want to see how he will adjust his life, given what he has learned. Director Robert Zemeckis missteps and gives us what we don't want, but we can forgive him because the moments on the island were so entertaining, so beautifully executed and so remarkably well acted. See full review. -- KCE

Chapel Hills

*Chocolat (PG-13)

This latest endeavor by director Lasse Hallstrom (My Life as a Dog, Cider House Rules) is a charming little movie that follows the story of Vianne (Juliette Binoche), a free-spirited single mother who, along with her daughter Anouk (Victoire Thivisol) blows into a small French town in the 1950s. The actors in the film are quite delightful, if cast and costumed in the most stereotypical melodramatic ways. Depp is delicious as the romantic leading man, Judi Dench is her usual subtle and magnificent self as a crotchety landlady and abandoned grandmother, and Carrie-Anne Moss radiates betrayal and hurt as her widowed daughter. See full review. -- AL

Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

*Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (PG-13)

With Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, director Ang Lee resurrects a popular form -- the swordplay kung-fu film of 1960s Hong Kong -- and turns it into something so beautiful that we forget we've been watching a martial arts flick. The story depicts the struggle for the soul of a disciple, and is filmed in Chinese dialects with English subtitles. The astonishing fight scenes have warriors catapulting across rooftops, through the branches of trees, and flying over waterfalls. For all of its profound beauty, Tiger does not pretend to be profound; it's loaded with humor and tongue-in-cheek bows to Hollywood traditions. If I could choose only one film of 2000 as an absolute must-see, I'd go with the resplendent Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. See full review. -- KCE

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Enemy at the Gates (R)

A World War II film that does not feature American soldiers is a rarity, and this one succeeds at bucking any number of Hollywood war-movie stereotypes. By choosing Vassili Zaitsev, a shepherd turned sharpshooter, as its hero, director Jean-Jacques Annaud is able to at once fascinate us with the spectacle of history we haven't seen before and draw us into the psychic conflicts of a boy who must suddenly become a man. Jude Law (The Talented Mr. Ripley) hits all the right notes as Zaitsev. Ed Harris as Major Konig, the Germans' secret weapon, performs with a pointed zen-like intelligence. Some missteps in the dialogue may cause a snicker or two, but overall the drama of the film's central stories and the superb staging and filming overcome that handicap. See full review. -- KCE

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Extreme (not rated)

World class surfers, skiers, snowboarders and climbers fill the giant screen, taking the viewer into the world of daredevil sports and into the minds of the people that perform them. Backed up by a killer soundtrack from Soulfood featuring everything from world music to hip hop. -- John Lindsay

Cinemark 16 IMAX

*Heartbreakers (PG-13)

If you're longing for a robust comedy, full of audacious sight gags and surprises, then look no further. Director David Mirkin aces this inspired farce-parody about a mother and daughter con team who get in over their heads when love interrupts their marry-and-divorce-for-payoff schemes. Sigourney Weaver is a consummate comedienne as mother Max (and her incarnations Ulga and Angela) and Jennifer Love Hewitt, playing her big eyes and full lips, sends semaphore signals to the back row. There isn't an ounce of fat or an inch of slack in this snappy script. Heartbreakers is howling, naughty good fun. See full review. -- Cole Smithey

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Hannibal (R)

In Hannibal, sequel to the wildly successful Silence of the Lambs, we follow Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) to Florence where he surfaces after a few post-escape years in exile. Hopkins is completely disarming with his greasy charm, and Julianne Moore works well as the matured, toughened FBI agent Clarice Starling, but director Ridley Scott loses his way early in the film, allowing it to become a lurid, overblown comic book adventure featuringthe grossly disfigured Mason Verger (Gary Oldman) and his henchmen as the bad guys. Any suspense is drowned out by the oddly giddy blood antics and, for the most part, we end up being mildly entertained by the lovely art direction and camera work. Any discourse about the nature of evil is lost in the spectacle. See full review. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

*O Brother, Where Art Thou? (PG-13)

God love the Coen brothers. What kind of mind imagines Homer's Odyssey set in Depression-era rural Mississippi? This funny, slight idea is lovingly and solidly conceived and executed. George Clooney is pitch perfect as Ulysses Everett McGill, a smart-talking, slick-looking con man who breaks away from a penal farm chain gang and drags along the two guys who happen to be hooked up to him on either side -- dour Pete (John Turturro) and hapless Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson). The Coens create a perfectly imagined universe, inhabited by fiends and angels of all sorts. Tim Blake Nelson's performance is as sweet and friendly as a good old hound dog. Best musical soundtrack of the year. See full review. -- KCE

Tinseltown

*Pollock (R)

Here, director and actor Ed Harris tells a story he obviously feels passionately about, and does it respectfully, in classic linear fashion, allowing the acting and the importance of the central figure to carry the film. The results are not completely successful, but Pollock is a film well worth seeing, first for Harris' portrayal of the mercurial painter, but foremost for Marcia Gay Harden's Academy Award-winning performance as Lee Krasner, Pollock's tough, devoted wife. See full review. -- KCE

Kimball's Twin Peak Theater

*Save the Last Dance (PG-13)

Save the Last Dance is well-intentioned, well-crafted and well-acted, and if it doesn't exactly revolutionize race relations in the United States, it does a damn sight better than recent claptrap like The Legend of Bagger Vance. It manages to find its way around stupid racist pitfalls by giving the two main characters -- Sara (Julia Stiles), a white suburban girl, and Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas), a black inner city boy who dreams of getting out of the ghetto -- equal weight. See full review. -- AL

Silver Cinemas

*Spy Kids (PG)

"Family movies" of the last few years have generally been pretty lame, full of mean-spirited goofiness, appalling gender stereotypes, and dumbed-down humor. What a relief to be treated to the silly, smart, well-conceived Spy Kids, just the kind of story you'd hope to spin yourself. The bad guys are really bad but not too scary, the slapstick humor is funny without being mean, the sets are wonderful fun-house send-ups of children's television. The movie never once talks down to the kids in the audience (or the parents either, for that matter), and it is full of terrific Inspector Gadget-like gizmos. There isn't a gun in the whole dang movie, praise the lord. The very smart and silly story is aided by very good acting on the part of both the adult and kid actors. Antonio Banderas, in particular, does a wonderful job of being both glamorous and campy at the same time. See full review. -- AL

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, Chapel Hills

*Traffic (R)

With Traffic, director Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich) delivers his most complex, pertinent, gritty, opinionated and well-acted film yet. The complex plot is moved forward by four separate stories that eventually intersect. All illustrate the impossibility of winning the War on Drugs -- a monumental battle resulting in loss of life, personal tragedy, untold loss of public funds thrown at the problem and massive profits for the suppliers. Soderbergh films his outstanding ensemble cast with a handheld camera, upping the immediacy of the action, and colors the segments with different filters, reminding us of where we are and color-coding our emotional response. Among the actors, Benicio Del Toro and Don Cheadle are standouts as is Erika Christensen in her feature film debut as a young drug addict. See full review. -- KCE

Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

*T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous (not rated)

As a story, T-Rex is dull and predictable but, who cares? We are here to see the dinosaurs. Unfortunately, they don't see as much screen time as one would hope. That aside, when the big guys do appear, the 3D effects will have you jumping in your seat. Some scenes may be a little intense for younger kids. -- John Lindsay

Cinemark 16 IMAX

The Wedding Planner (PG-13)

To say that there is even a dash of screen chemistry between leading lady Jennifer Lopez (Mary Fiore) and her vacillating love interest Matthew McConaughey (Dr. Steve Edison) would be like calling the Bush/Gore election fair. See full review. -- Cole Smithey

Silver Cinemas

What Women Want (PG-13)

What do women want? According to this film, we want empathy, sympathy, love and a good time in bed, preferably with Mel Gibson. Gibson plays Nick Marshall, a chauvinistic ad exec whose boss (Alan Alda) passes him over for a promotion in favor of Darcy Maguire (Helen Hunt) who is supposed to help their Chicago ad firm get more of a female touch. When Nick has an accident with a hairdryer and a bathtub that miraculously makes him able to hear what women think, he uses his newfound power to undermine Darcy in her new position. Some cute comedy from Gibson and an empathy-enducing performance by the hapless Hunt who longs for everyone to understand that she isn't really a ball buster, just a nice girl doing a hard job. See full review. -- AL

Broadmoor, Silver Cinemas

  • Our reviewers' recommendations for films showing on Colorado Springs area screens.

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