Movie Picks 

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America's Sweethearts (PG-13)
America's Sweethearts disappoints both as a screwball romantic comedy and as a satire on the obscene marketing practices of Hollywood. Clearly, the writers want to say something clever and biting about the movie junket scene in which journalists are wined, dined and basically paid by the studio to say something nice about a film. Ironically, the stars of this film have been hawking it on late night and daytime TV, making the PR campaign look nearly as schmaltzy and manipulative as the one onscreen. The film's best moments feature Alan Arkin as a Hollywood wellness center guru, Christopher Walken as the crazed director, and a crotch-sniffing doberman. Most of the scenes that fall between theirs fall flat. And with a talented cast that includes Julia Roberts, John Cusack, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Billy Crystal, that's a disappointment. See full review. -- KCE

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark, Tinseltown

Cats and Dogs (PG)
Nice try but no dice. This animal tale orchestrated with celebrity voices (Tobey Macguire, Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon) offers no insight into either the feline or canine tribes. These dogs and cats all belong to international spy and espionage rings, complete with computer-screened operations, super-charged transporter vehicles, and code names a la James Bond. The story goes wacko as the audience waits desperately for the next funny joke (there are about five in the entire film). Frenetic, silly and madly paced, this tale offers little entertainment value to either children or adults, except those who are excruciatingly bored and desperately seeking air conditioning. -- KCE

Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

*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. Johnny 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

Silver Cinemas

Jurassic Park 3 (PG-13)
The third installment of the immensely popular Jurassic Park series takes place before the events in The Lost World, in which havoc was wreaked when a malevolent corporation attempted to bring a tyrannosaurus rex to the United States and open a Jurassic Park of its own in California. Sam Neill returns as Dr. Alan Grant to deal with the prehistoric beasts once again. Starring Sam Neill, John Diehl, Michael Jeter, Tea Leoni and William H. Macy. -- Not yet reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

A Knight's Tale (PG-13)
A silly, lightweight medieval tale set largely in the jousting ring, with combat scenes so innocuous that the clashing of lances at high speed is visually digestible, even for the sensitive viewer. Starring babe/boy Heath Ledger. See full review. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

*Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (PG-13)
We're supposed to hate this movie. By nearly all critical accounts, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is dull and clich-ridden. But I had loads of fun watching this picture. Lara Croft is a young, single heiress who's regularly called upon to save the universe. She spends her days training for battle in her massive castle, fighting off dummy cyborgs and practicing insanely dangerous acrobatic stunts. We don't really know where she came from or why she's so militaristic. What we do know is that she kicks ass, and that's all that matters. See full review. -- Patton Dodd

Silver Cinemas, special screenings for the hearing impaired at Chapel Hills

Legally Blonde (R)
This weak and predictable comedy by debut feature director Robert Luketic is a poorly lit attempt at dredging humor from a sterile and flat script. While Reese Witherspoon makes an attractive ditzy blonde with enough book smarts to overcompensate for her character's fashion victim obsessions, this film is a career misstep for a talented actress capable of creating much more complex characters. The heavily clichd premise that 'you can't judge a book by its cover' is Legally Blonde's white flag. So what if Witherspoon's a smart blonde, able to win legal cases and shock everyone around her as if they were a star-struck audience to her dominant charms? She's still a plastic doll character incapable of inner discovery. -- Cole Smithey

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Memento (R)
Directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Guy Pearce, Memento is a startling murder mystery in the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock, and a bundle of promise for everything that follows from Nolan. The story: Leonard Shelby (Pearce) lost his wife in a brutal murder/rape and, with the police uninvolved, is determined to solve the crime himself. But he's severely handicapped: Due to brain damage suffered while fighting his wife's attacker, he can remember everything that happened prior to the accident, but everything since is forgotten -- over and over again. The most strategic device in the film is an inverted timeline. The story begins at the end and works backward, giving us -- and Leonard -- tiny clues to discover how the tumultuous plot pieces together. We experience Leonard's frustration; like him, we have no memory of what has come before. You have to promise to see this movie. Memento is inventive, compelling, and worth seeing twice. See full review. -- Patton Dodd

Silver Cinemas

Original Sin (R)
For full review, see page 52.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Pearl Harbor (PG-13)
A bald-faced exploitation flick, preying on our nation's collective if fuzzy memory of being attacked, faulty in its historic re-creation, insipid in its lame, manipulative love story, and embarrassingly vapid in its telling of one of the critical military attacks of the 20th century. The outstanding computer-generated special effects serve only to desensitize the audience: The carnage of the "date that will live in infamy" never seems real or human. Character development in this overly long and sentimental love/war story is non-existent. The heroes played by Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett merely spout lines borrowed from vintage World War II dramas while posturing through their love triangle with the lovely Kate Beckinsale. See full review. -- KCE

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Planet of the Apes (PG-13)
For about ten seconds, when Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes opened last week, it seemed that the pessimistic dread that most people intuited about the movie was unfounded. But then crowds squeezed into sold-out cinemas all over the country only to report that the movie was much worse than they could ever have imagined. Due mainly to a script that doesn't even bother to go through the motions of telling a story, any semblance of the original film's ham-fisted barbs about slavery, racism and class consciousness are lost like so many syllables evaporating from Charlton Heston's soiled mouth. Some hesitant praise is due to make-up designer Rick Baker for creating a convincing collection of monkey masks that gives the actors something to hide behind while speaking cardboard dialogue. See full review. -- Cole Smithey

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

The Princess Diaries (G)
See full review.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Rush Hour 2 (PG-13)
Rush Hour 2 is a movie sequel that comes with a preemptive seal of approval by virtue of Jackie Chan's dedication to pushing his martial arts skills to the limits of acrobatic extremes. Add to this Chan's proven screen chemistry with the infectious high-pitched comic improv abilities of Chris Tucker (Money Talks), and what follows is a stream of highly enjoyable, physically demanding set pieces punctuated by constant comic riffing. See full review.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Score (R)
The Score is the kind of movie that makes movie fans bemoan the state of American cinema. It is promising based on the marquee names alone, and gets the acting just right, but unfortunately fails in virtually every other area. Director Frank Oz has done much better work than this, giving a whole generation the willies with his performance of Yoda in the Star Wars movies. Maybe he needed Brando, De Niro, Norton and Bassett to have sticks up their butts and to open with a rendition of "The Rainbow Connection." These four are truly amazing performers, and they squeeze as much as they can out of a lifeless script. But without help from their writers and director, there simply isn't much to do. See full review. -- Patton Dodd

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Sexy Beast (R)
Sexy Beast tells a story that's been around in film at least as long as Humphrey Bogart: A successful criminal decides to retire from a life of crime, but just as he's getting used to a cozy suburbanesque lifestyle, his old crime boss comes pounding on the door demanding one more score. Gary Dove and DeeDee are young retirees -- he from high stakes crime, she from porno films. But Dove soon learns that his old boss, Don Logan needs him to do another job. Logan, played by Ben Kingsley, is as menacing and hard a criminal as we've seen in the movies in recent years. And his menace only increases as Dove keeps saying that he will not do the job. Dove's resistance is not exactly tough -- it's a nervous, humble attempt to respectfully decline Logan's offer. The back and forth plays brilliantly and, inevitably, brutally. See full review. -- Patton Dodd

Kimball's Twin Peak

Shrek (PG)
Hand-drawn animation is soooooo 20th century. Based on the massive success of computer animated movies like Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Antz, and A Bug's Life, Hollywood studios are increasingly churning out digital cartoons and second guessing hand-drawn projects. As animation, Shrek is nearly as remarkable as its predecessors, and bodes well for where the form is going visually. But Shrek suggests that digital animation features could be going the way of the action adventure movie -- great looking and profitable, but brainless. Strangely, Shrek has gained the affection of a sizeable and growing audience. The theater I was in was filled with laughter, and folks applauded at the end. What they're so excited about, and why they're telling their friends, is a mystery to me. See full review. -- Patton Dodd

Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

*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. 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. And there isn't a gun in the whole dang movie. 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

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Widow of St. Pierre (R)
A French period piece starring Juliette Binoche as a military captain's wife, who befriends a convicted murderer while he awaits the arrival of the guillotine and his own execution on the fishing island where they live. -- Not yet reviewed

Silver Cinemas

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


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