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click to enlarge Monsoon Wedding now at Kimballs Twin Peak
  • Monsoon Wedding now at Kimballs Twin Peak

*A Beautiful Mind (PG-13)
Winner of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 74th Annual Academy Awards. Need we say more? -- KCE

Chapel Hills

Blade 2 (R)
Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson return as Blade and Whistler, vampire hunters who form an unlikely alliance with the bloodsuckers in order to stop a new blood virus from turning them all into mutant vampires. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Tinseltown

Changing Lanes (R)
Changing Lanes isn't a masterpiece of filmmaking -- and its answers come a little bit too easily -- but for a product of the Hollywood studio system, it does a much better job than most at showing the moral ambiguity and complexity possible in one crazy, messed up, very bad day. Both Ben Affleck and Samuel L Jackson are strong in the film, although Jackson outshines the newbie by quite a margin, and a compelling supporting cast backs them up. Director Roger Michell and editor Christopher Tellefsen do an excellent job of pacing, ratcheting up the stakes bit by bit, and cinematographer Salvatore Totino captures a very gritty New York in the rain, so the film is visually interesting without being arty. -- Andrea Lucard

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Clockstoppers (PG)
Special effectsladen teen-age adventure romp where time stands still. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*E.T. (PG)
If you are of the video generation and think you've see E.T. so many times it could not possibly interest you, go and see it on the big screen. Williams' score, the looming redwoods of the forest, the chase scenes and the little flat-headed extraterrestrial are all mesmerizing in the theater in way a television screen simply cannot capture. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinema Latino

Frailty (R)
You got your sleepy little Texas town, Thurman, where the motherless Meeks family lives in seclusion behind the public rose garden. You got your tough Texas law man. And you got your ax murderer. Basically you got your classic Texas gothic horror tale, acted and directed, yep, by a bunch of Texans. Frailty is moody as a preacher's wife and scary as all get out. But when it tries to outsmart us in the end, it just gets us all confused. I like a good murder mystery as much as the next 'un, but ol' Bill Paxton and Frailty -- well, Hitchcock they ain't. Let's just say Frailty'll scare the pants off of you, then leave you with no place to hide. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Tinseltown

High Crimes (PG-13)
While Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd repeat their successful screen chemistry after Kiss the Girls (1997), the narrative twist that concludes High Crimes comes as a reprehensibly cheap device that perverts the film's scathing commentary on the U.S. military and its terribly flawed military court system. I've never seen anything like it in the more than 4,000 movies I've seen -- and I hope I never see it again. -- Cole Smithey

Chapel Hills, Cinema Latino, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Ice Age (PG)
Ice Age triumphs by eschewing the inside adult humor that infiltrates so many other animated children's movies. Where movies like Shrek attempt to cater to adult audiences with not-so-subtle sexual innuendo and overloaded pop-culture cross-referencing, Ice Age stays the course of its genre's Bugs Bunny slapstick humor. Although the actors recorded their parts separately, there's chemistry between the cartoon characters that plays like a symphony of toy instruments playing a well-rehearsed Duke Ellington tune. -- Cole Smithey

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinema Latino, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Jason X (R)
The 10th in the Friday the 13th series set in 2455, long after humanity has abandoned Earth as a lifeless planet. An expedition of archaeological students discovers a research facility where two people are cryogenically frozen: one a young woman, the other a large male in a strange mask ....

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Joshua (G)
A stranger named Joshua arrives in a small town, gets a job working as a carpenter, and proceeds to perform acts that appear to be miracles, leading many of the locals to suspect that he may be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16

Life, or Something Like It (PG-13)
When reporter Lanie Kerrigan interviews a psychic homeless man for a fluff piece about a football game's score, he tells her that her life has no meaning, and it's going to end in just a few days ... Starring Angelina Jolie and Edward Burns -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

click to enlarge Deuces Wild opens this week
  • Deuces Wild opens this week

*Lord of the Rings (PG-13)
Director Peter Jackson makes brilliant use of the camera to enhance the action, and the sets, costumes and digital animation speak for themselves magnificently in this triumphant film adaptation of the Tolkien classic. The acting suspends disbelief for all but a few moments. 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. -- Noel Black

Tinseltown

*Monsoon Wedding (R)
Though this enjoyable and funny new film by Mira Nair, director of one of my favorite films, Mississippi Masala, won the Venice film festival this past year, you have to wonder if the competition was all stuck at the airport. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty to like in Monsoon Wedding. But for everything likable, there's always a lack. While it's visually colorful, it is not colorful enough. While it is charming, it is also stereotypical, with the twist of having Indian rather than American stereotypes. No matter. Despite these issues, Monsoon Wedding still provides enjoyable theater and exposure to an aspect of Indian culture that carries its own fascination. -- Andrea Lucard

Kimball's Twin Peak

*Monster's Ball (R)
Risking every Deep South, Faulknerian stereotype about racism, rednecks, skeletons in the closet and man's inhumanity to man, it's a miracle that Monster's Ball turns out to be such an intriguing film. Chalk it up to two things: 1) a Swedish director (Marc Forster) who is able to explore Southern stereotypes as a cool observer, and 2) the astonishing acting duo of Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry, winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress for this role. Monster's Ball may fumble in the first half, but overall, it's a raw, emotional triumph. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Tinseltown

Murder by Numbers (R)
Two gifted high-school students commit a series of "perfect murders" and engage in a battle of wits with the detective who's hot on their trail. Starring Sandra Bullock, Ryan Gosling and Michael Pitt. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Panic Room (R)
Here are the elements for all the plot twists in Panic Room: a gun (surprise!), a good man gone bad in desperate circumstances (Forrest Whitaker), a bumbling schemer (Jared Leto), the guy with the gun (Dwight Yoakham), diabetes, a whole lotta money, a phone line, a cell phone, a propane tank, a garden hose, a lot of surveillance equipment, and the panic room. If it seems like I'm just rattling off a bunch of devices, it's because I am, and that's how the film comes off. (Can't you just hear the original pitch?) Panic Room, in the end, seems to be more of a failed film-school exercise in pure plot than a look at fear, our need for security, our national obsession with surveillance, class differences, and a host of other things it could've been. -- Noel Black

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Penny Promise (G)
A family comedy about Will, who through a series of mishaps gets deeper in debt as he tries to save money to marry his sweetheart, Annie. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills

The Rookie (G)
Based on the true story of high-school science teacher and baseball coach Jim Morris, who joins the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the age of 35 after making a deal with his high school team: If they make the playoffs, he'll try out for the major league. Starring Dennis Quaid and Rachel Griffiths. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Scorpion King (PG-13)
Action/horror film about a peasant in ancient Egypt who exacts revenge on a marauding army who pillaged his village ... and eventually becomes known as the Scorpion King, the First Pharoah of Egypt. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinema Latino, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Sweetest Thing (R)
Female sex comedy starring Cameron Diaz with Christina Applegate, Selma Blair and Parker Posey. Diaz is Christine, tracking down Mr. Right. -- Not reviewed

Cinema Latino, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Time Machine (PG-13)
Though the special effects were a tad annoying, The Time Machine still offers some perfectly fine entertainment value: The acting is solid, the story is good, the inventions of the future are interesting. There's enough in this film to keep you well occupied for a dense 90 minutes. And most days, that's good enough. -- Andrea Lucard

Cinema Latino

We Were Soldiers (R)
The true story of 450 U.S. soldiers, early in the Vietnam War, who became surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese in the Ia Drang Valley, in what became the first major battle of the extended conflict. Starring Mel Gibson Sam Elliott, Clark Gregg, Greg Kinnear. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16

*Y Tu Mama Tabien (R)
Y Tu Mama Tambien is the best film I've seen since last year's brilliant mosaic of Mexican culture, Amores Perros (with the possible exception of Hedwig and the Angry Inch). Like Amores Perros (now on video and DVD), Y Tu Mama takes an empathetic, but unflinching look at the complexities of Mexican society, and succeeds by doing it through a timeless and sexually complex coming-of-age story. Masterfully executed are the highly charged and erotically explicit sex scenes that crack open every taboo in the book including premature ejaculation, homosexuality, and having sex with your best friend's girlfriend, "y tu mama tambien,"... and your mother too. -- Noel Black

Cinema Latino, Kimball's Twin Peak

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