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click to enlarge Russell Crowe as Capt. Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander.
  • Russell Crowe as Capt. Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander.

We did not receive schedules for Carmike 10 and Chapel Hills 15 this week. Please call the theaters for times and film information.

*Bad Santa (R)
Terry Zwigoff's anti-Christmas anthem manages to celebrate a seldom-sung but widely felt ethos without drowning in the bowels of misanthropy. Billy Bob Thornton is Willie T. Soke, a really bad Santa and a staggering lowlife anti-hero, so bad he's a hoot: cursing out children while riding out the DTs and generally making an ass of himself wherever he goes. Bad Santa's humor is dark and plentiful, derived from the contrast between the doughy-eyed wants of childhood and the saggy-eyed stupor of midlife. Bad Santa is a naughty catharsis on par with smashing wine bottles against a brick wall. -- John Dicker

Tinseltown

Calendar Girls (PG-13)
A group of middle-aged women in North-Yorkshire, England, bare it all for a good deed. To raise funds for leukemia research they decide to produce an alternative nude calendar, which eventually becomes a worldwide sensation. After a true story. Featuring Helen Mirren. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Cheaper by the Dozen (PG)
Steve Martin coaches a football team and tries to take care of his twelve children while his wife Bonnie Hunt is out of town. Remake of the comedy classic from 1950. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Cold Mountain (R)
See full review, page 28.

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Elf (PG)
In spite of its pre-Thanksgiving release and some blatant product placement, Elf shouldn't be dismissed as simply another cog in the holiday conglomerate marketing conspiracy. Will Ferrell is comic perfection as Buddy, a 6-foot-3-inch human raised by Santa's elves in the North Pole. Buddy's a total innocent, unlike his adoptive father Papa Elf, played with trademark furrowed brow by Bob Newhart. Even Santa, played with a hint of world-weariness by Ed Asner, is more of a realist than Buddy, who, when he learns his true identity, sets off for New York City to find his real dad (James Caan). Elf succeeds with unyielding good cheer, a complete absence of canned irony, some nifty visual tricks, surprising characters, quick pacing, snappy dialogue and an ingenious slapstick performance by Ferrell. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark 16

Haunted Mansion (PG)
Eddie Murphy stars in this souped-up version of a Disneyland ride. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

In America (PG-13)
There's a forced feel-good quality to In America, director Jim Sheridan's semi-autobiographical nod to Irish immigrants in America. Tugging at our heartstrings are the combined forces of the ghost of a dead child, two adorable live ones and the whole overarching (though updated) saga of the immigrant experience. Despite dodging many a clich, Sheridan slips into a patently American one in his noble savage portrait of the family Sullivan's downstairs neighbor Mateo (Djimon Hounsou), an East Indies recluse who reveals little about himself, except that he's prone to intense glaring and apoplexy. That isn't enough to discredit this feel-good hit of the season, but it does leave you wanting more for Christmas. -- John Dicker

Kimball's Twin Peak

*The Last Samurai (R)
This epic tale of a Westerner (Tom Cruise) who goes to Japan to train imperial soldiers in modern warfare, but ends up fighting with the samurai, combines elements of Dances With Wolves, Braveheart, Seven Samurai and director Edward Zwick's own best work, Glory, in a big Hollywood spectacle that only occasionally loses its way. Tom Cruise pulls off the role with stock moves -- clenched jaw, reluctant tears, boyish grin and quick physicality -- but the masterful presence of Ken Watanabe as Katsumoto, the chief samurai warrior, almost steals the show. Stunning fight choreography and graceful cinematography by John Toll, set to music by Hans Zimmer, make for magnificent battle scenes. A certain Oscar contender. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Lost in Translation (R)
Tinseltown

*Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (PG-13)
The final installment of Peter Jackson's epic to end to end all epics is upon us and the word from the embedded Middle Earth reporter is not good. Tolkienistas will defend this film to their last breath (or until they finally manage to kiss a girl). Jackson will test your devotion to computer graphic beasts, gratuitous battle scenes and dialogue mawkish enough to make daytime television look like some sort of social realist experiment. Don't know about you, but there are only so many stoic lines like "We ride to Minis Tirith and to war!" than I can stomach. While the exploration of power as inherent corruption is undeniably compelling, are we really expected to snuggle up to the concept of a fated monarchy? Fans of the previous films might be by no means disappointed. They'll get what they expect and a lot of it. Skeptics conscripted into the theaters, however, should consider bringing along a spare ass, because like the soul of the ring bearer, yours will be hardened beyond measure. -- John Dicker

Basically, Return of the King was the bizzity-fo-shizzity-biznomb, and by bizzity-fo-shizzity-biznomb, I mean totally wicked and completely awesome, and by totally wicked and completely awesome, I mean: suhweet. The fact that Jackson defied everyone but John Dicker by making an impossibly gorgeous, technically improbable film that not only did full justice to Tolkien's final installment of the Rings, but one that also took unthinkable liberties with its plot and still got away with it, is just ... it's just in-friggin'-comprehensibly wonderful. There's no real point in reviewing a film as great as this. While you may want to bring your hemorrhoid cushion, it's a ride worth the bumps! -- Noel Black

Kimball's Twin Peak, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown, Cinemark IMAX (35 mm on the IMAX screen)

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (PG-13)
Based on Patrick O'Brien's historic novels, this high-seas adventure stars Russell Crowe as the captain of a British gunship in pursuit of a French warship during the Napoleonic wars. -- Not reviewed

Tinseltown

Misadventures in 3-D (in IMAX-3D)
The latest IMAX treat, a 3-D animated feature. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark IMAX

Mona Lisa Smile (PG-13)
1950s, Wellesley College, Julia Roberts, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kirsten Dunst. Need we say more? -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Ocean Wonderland (NR) (in IMAX 3-D)
Swim with the fishies in IMAX 3-D. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark IMAX

Our Country (NR) (IMAX)
Wide-angle view of sweeping American landscapes (canyonlands of Utah, Appalachian mountains, etc.) set to the tunes of America's music -- country music. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark IMAX

Paycheck (PG-13)
Action mastermind John Woo sends Ben Affleck on a journey to get back his memories of the last two years. Uma Thurman stars as well. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Peter Pan (PG)
Take a trip back to Never Never Land with real actors and every favorite character from the all-time classic: Tinkerbell, Peter and yarr favorite evil pirate: Captain Hook. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Something's Gotta Give (PG-13)
Diane Keaton, at 57, gives the best performance of her career as Erica, a successful playwright in her 50s who thinks she's "closed for business" when it come to love and sex, until she meets Harry (Jack Nicholson) a lecherous 63-year-old who happens to be dating her 20-something daughter (Amanda Peet). The film's too long by 30 minutes, but is a damn near perfect romantic comedy. Keanu Reeves is graceful and charming as a young doctor who treats Harry when he suffers a heart attack and who falls for and pursues Erica. This is Keaton's moment to shine. Already heralded by the National Board of Review as Best Actress, she will certainly receive many more nominations, if not awards, for her depiction of the emotional vulnerability and volatility, the just-below-the-surface sorrow that comes with aging. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Stuck on You (PG-13)
Greg Kinnear and Matt Damon star as Siamese twins in the Farrelly Brothers' (There's Something About Mary) latest physical comedy. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Young Black Stallion (G) (35mm on the IMAX screen)
Remake of the 1979 movie Black Stallion. Young girl becomes friend with a wild stallion in Arabia, after being separated from her father in WW 2. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark IMAX

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

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