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click to enlarge Is it live? Or is it a replicant? Gary Sinise and Madeline Stowe in Imposter
  • Is it live? Or is it a replicant? Gary Sinise and Madeline Stowe in Imposter

*Ali (R)
Two things you should know going into the film biography Ali: 1) If you're a fan, you won't know any more coming out than you did going in; and 2) It's a long film, so set aside plenty of time. If you don't know the dope on Muhammad Ali, formerly Cassius Clay, go out and rent the superb documentary When We Were Kings which explains far more about the man and his boxing strategies than this film. Otherwise, just sit back and enjoy Michael Mann's (The Insider) fight direction and Will Smith's superb performance as the outspoken, former heavyweight champion.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*A Beautiful Mind (PG-13)
With this film, director Ron Howard honors the kind of intellect that has long fascinated him. Who else would see the sexiness and intrigue of a Princeton graduate student who scribbles mathematical equations on the leaded glass windows of his dorm room? His first triumph is impeccable casting. Russell Crowe seems born to play the part of Nobel Prize--winning mathematician John Nash. And the beautiful Jennifer Connelly gets her breakthrough role here as Alicia, the physics graduate student who will eventually become Nash's wife, more than holding her own against Crowe's formidable presence. Expect Crowe to do what industry experts say will never happen -- walk away with the Academy Award for Best Actor for the second year in a row. -- Kathryn Eastburn

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

Behind Enemy Lines (PG-13)
Even in the muck and mire of its guffaw-inducing use of clichs, Behind Enemy Lines is fairly entertaining. But it's absolutely in spite of its hackneyed formulas that the movie succeeds with its war romp design. -- Cole Smithey

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Harry Potter (PG)
It is a strange damning-with-faint-praise to say that this movie was faithful to the book. Sadly, neither book nor movie form is particularly well served by this attempt. The movie feels pedestrian and literal, too timid to explore the possibilities of a world where, although parallel to ours, nothing is quite the same. The book, in turn, is tarnished by a movie that stuffs all the lovely spaces populated, decorated and embellished by the imagination. All that said, I'm not going to warn you off the movie. After all, you don't want to be the sole American who hasn't seen the darn thing, and your kids will love it. -- Andrea Lucard

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Imposter (PG-13)
See full review, page 45.

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16

*In the Bedroom (R)
See full review, in Film .

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16

Joe Somebody (PG)
A vehicle to explore the difficulties of being a man in today's world that takes itself far too seriously. The movie stoops to lame didacticism, trying to explain why the old ways won't work any more, but this message works against itself at every turn. Even the occasional amusing scene or interesting tidbit can't rescue Joe Somebody from its determined self-consciousness. -- Andrea Lucard

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Kate & Leopold (PG-13)
A time-traveling romance tale that hugs the corners of its funky twists and turns as much as its actors hold fast to its punchy and upbeat script. Writer/director James Mangold works as a conductor of plot and character, accenting the story with bursts of quick jokes and light social criticism. Hugh Jackman plays time-transported 19th-century bachelor Leopold, the Third Duke of Albany, who's brought into the 21st century by Stewart, a scientist and former boyfriend to ad executive Kate McKay (Meg Ryan). Jackman and Ryan put a warm spin on the opposing attraction between their characters with charisma to spare in this light farce. -- Cole Smithey

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Lord of the Rings (PG-13)
First, director Peter Jackson made brilliant use of the camera to enhance the action. Unlike Harry Potter, which suffered from a framed stasis, this film was shot kinetically with swooping sweeps and dramatic vantages that capitalized on the thematic contrasts in scale. I don't know what to say about the sets, costumes and digital animation other than that they speak for themselves magnificently. As for the acting, I can say that my disbelief was entirely suspended for all but a few moments. Beyond that, I just don't go to fantasy films expecting Oscar moments from the characters. Elijah Wood was just weird enough and cute enough with his new square jaw to pull of the earnest and sweaty Frodo. Liv Tyler looked totally hot in elf ears as Arwen, as did the bow-wielding blonde elf boy Legolas played by Orlando Bloom. And I have to say I'd go see it again just to see Cate Blanchett as Galadriel get all Tales of the Crypt on Frodo. Let the fanatics hash out the discrepancies with the book in their chat rooms. Peter Jackson did it. And this film is cool. Very cool.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*The Majestic (PG)
Jim Carrey stars as Hollywood screenwriter Peter Appleton in this Capra-esque tribute to the golden days of Hollywood with a twist. Carrey was born for this role -- his Pete is an Everyman for the books and screen newcomer Laurie Holden smolders as Pete's love interest, Adele. Like all of director Frank Darabont's films (Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile), The Majestic is too long by about 45 minutes, but altogether it's a compelling, heartwarming piece of true Americana. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Monsters, Inc. (G)
John Goodman is the voice of Sully, the scariest monster of Monstropolis, a parallel world, and Billy Crystal plays his sidekick, Mike Wazowski, a giant neon green eyeball with arms and legs and not much more. There is a ton of tongue-in-cheek humor, and frame after frame is packed with pop cultural references, sight gags and just plain cool action. The writers clearly went to town in amusing themselves. Go see it for the cool factors, but leave your hopes for decent social commentary behind. -- Andrea Lucard

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Ocean's 11 (R)
Director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) goes for all of the sizzling Hollywood gusto he can muster in this snappy Las Vegas--set heist movie. Soderbergh's oft-quoted goal for Ocean's 11 was simply to give the viewer "pleasure from beginning to end." He aptly fulfills that modest demand with sprinkles of comedy, irony, suspense, tasteful music and enough eye-candy to stock a worldwide chain of retail stores. -- Cole Smithey

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Orange County (PG-13)
Colin Hanks (yes, Tom's son) plays a high school graduate who longs to study literature at Stanford but his family conspires to ruin his dream. Directed by Jade Kasden and co-starring Lily Tomlin, Catherine O'Hare, John Lithgow, Jack Black and Chevy Chase. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*The Royal Tenenbaums (R)
The oddball brains behind the head-scratching hit Rushmore and the Sundance breakthrough Bottle Rocket, Wes Anderson has a new film under his belt, one that's no less remarkable and perplexing. The Royal Tenenbaums, co-written with long-time friend and actor/collaborator Owen Wilson, tells the story of a dysfunctional New York dynasty a la Woody Allen with a brood of baby geniuses. It showcases Anderson's peculiar talent -- an ability to sneak stealthily back and forth across the Berlin Wall that divides comedy and drama while building plots on characters who just as deftly tread the line between caricature and humanity. Like the Cohen brothers before them, Wilson and Anderson seem to have happened upon the elusive alchemy of collaboration. Thumbs up, five stars, A+, or whatever. Go see it! -- Noel Black

Tinseltown

*Vanilla Sky (R)
Director Cameron Crowe delivers a faithful, ambitious remake of Alejandro Amenabar's Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes), the story of an emotional drifter whose life begins to unravel when true love comes his way. Tom Cruise's standard, tense performance works well here, and Penelope Cruz brings just the right amount of humanity to the film. Cameron Diaz simmers as a needy, female stalker. Crowe's visuals offer unusual depth and texture, practically inviting the viewer to come back for a second look. Several scenes could have been edited to speed up the thriller trajectory -- the film is too long by a half hour. Be prepared for a wild departure from reality about halfway through. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

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