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click to enlarge Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
  • Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

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

50 First Dates (PG-13)
As much as I enjoyed this romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, I want to scold the director for succumbing to gross-out jokes to attract Sandler's core audience. Henry (Sandler), a veterinarian at Sea Life Park, Hawaii, meets Lucy (Barrymore) unaware that she suffers from a brain trauma that causes her short-term memory to erase each night. Henry falls for her and decides that the best thing for Lucy is to face her memory problem. Sandler is to be congratulated for his best role since Punch Drunk Love. But it is Barrymore who holds the film together and has rarely been so captivating. Minus the crudity, 50 First Dates would have been an even better romantic comedy. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (PG)
Covert cover-ups and international intrigue await Secret Agent Cody Banks on his second adventure. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Along Came Polly (PG-13)
The world's most cautious man (Ben Stiller) makes his living analyzing high risks. When he falls in love with a girl (Jennifer Anniston), he takes the risk of cheating on his newlywed wife (Debra Messing). -- Not reviewed

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Brother Bear (G)
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Cheaper by the Dozen (PG)
Steve Martin coaches a football team and tries to take care of his 12 children while his wife, played by Bonnie Hunt, is out of town. A remake of the comedy classic from 1950. -- Not reviewed

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Confessions of a Teen Age Drama Queen (PG)
Hip New Yorker Lola, freshly relocated to the Jersey suburbs, can't quite fit in at her new school. As Lola guns for the lead role in the school play, she's pitted against the reigning teenage queen, who has a few aces up her sleeve. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Fog of War (PG-13)
Cold War? Hell, says Robert McNamara, secretary of defense under presidents Kennedy and Johnson, it was a Hot war. The Fog of War is about America's past mixing with its present and questions of American power. McNamara's story, as seen through the lens of documentary filmmaker Errol Morris, is broken into "11 Lessons from the Life of Robert McNamara." The chronology is skewed and jumps between the 1990s, World War II and Vietnam as McNamara lays himself bare admitting that at times he and others acted as war criminals. The Fog of War is not solely the memories of an 85-year-old man, if you listen closely and replace the word "communist" with "terrorist" you can almost hear our leaders talking today. -- Benjamin Glahn

Kimball's Twin Peak

Gospel of John (PG-13)
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Haunted Mansion (PG)
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*Hidalgo (PG-13)
See full review, page 27.

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (PG-13)
The final installment of Peter Jackson's epic 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. -- 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. 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. While you may want to bring your hemorrhoid cushion, it's a ride worth the bumps! (Winner of 11 Academy Awards for best picture, director, adapted screenplay, original song, film editing, original score, sound, makeup, visual effects, costume design and art direction.) -- Noel Black

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Looney Tunes: Back in Action (PG)
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Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (PG-13)
Academy Award nominee for best picture, best director (Peter Weir). Starring Russell Crowe. -- Not reviewed

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Miracle (PG)
Kurt Russell stars as the coach of the U.S. National Hockey team, led to Olympic victory over the seemingly invincible Russian team. Based on a true story. Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Monster (R)
Charlize Theron plays executed Florida serial killer Aileen Wuornos' decline into blind rage and murderous despair with a world-worn ache rarely seen onscreen. This is simply one of the purest, deepest, emotional immersions into a character in movie history. It is a rare occasion in the movies when an actor becomes a character, and this Academy Award winning performance by Charlize Theron is one of those extraordinary occasions. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Kimball's Twin Peak

*Mystic River (R)
Based on a Dennis Lehane novel, Mystic River is a triptych character study and a mournful noir that flirts with being a traditional thriller, but thankfully is not. It's about damaged men and their grief, laced with the haunting questions of "what if?" Director Clint Eastwood does a remarkable job of balancing his characters' salt-of-the-earth machismo with equal amounts of recrimination and regret. Oscar winning performances for best actor (Sean Penn) and best supporting actor (Tim Robbins).

-- John Dicker

Tinseltown

Nascar 3D (PG) (in IMAX 3-D)
Cinemark IMAX

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

Cinemark IMAX

The Passion of the Christ (R)
Hey! Didya hear? Mel Gibson's made some sort of Jesus movie. Who knew? The Internet magazine Slate summed it up best in its headline: "The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre." While Gibson delivers much by way of gritty imagery, his Jesus is one who exists for suffering only. While this may be the point of the Passion play, its monomania grows exhausting faster than you can say Pontius Pilate. If your spirituality requires a graphic reminder of your messiah's martyrdom, then this is your feel-humbled hit of the spring. If not, well, Jesus Christ Superstar still holds up like a champ. -- John Dicker

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Perfect Score (PG-13)
Six high school seniors decide to break into the Princeton

Testing Center so they can steal the answers to their upcoming SAT tests and all get perfect scores. -- Not reviewed

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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 your favorite evil pirate: Captain Hook. -- Not reviewed

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Spartan (R)

Val Kilmer stars in this investigation into the kidnapping of a well-known political figure. -- Not reviewed

Tinseltown

*Starsky & Hutch (PG-13)
After Boogie Nights, The Brady Bunch (I-II) Austin Powers (Vol. I-III), The Virgin Suicides, That '70s Show et al., an unfortunate subgenre has been born. Please let it die an early death. This is NOT to say that Todd Phillips' Starsky and Hutch is anything but the finest sort of silly action spoof. However, the film succeeds on its own merit and not because of its lazy pop-culture nostalgia. There are just enough laughs in Starsky to forget that recycled ideas from old TV shows are indicative of Hollywood's fear of trying anything new. Recycled or not, Starsky and Hutch is great screwball comedy. The downside is that its success will likely spawn more of the same, which won't always be funny.

-- John Dicker

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Secret Window (R)
See full review, page 26.

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). Keaton has already won Best Actress accolades from the National Board of Review and the Golden Globes, and garnered a best actress Oscar nomination for her depiction of the emotional vulnerability and volatility, the just-below-the-surface sorrow that comes with aging. -- Kathryn Eastburn

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*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.

-- Kathryn Eastburn

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Teacher's Pet (R)
Spot (Lane) is a dog who can talk and read. Posing as a human, he sneaks into school with his master Leonard (Flemming). Educational adventures ensue. -- Not reviewed

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*Touching the Void (not rated)
The English are renowned for embarking on foolhardy endeavors and coming out the other end with the minor complaint of having had "a bit of a challenging day." Touching the Void, based on the true story recounted in Joe Simpson's book, belies the understatement and celebrates the ability of humans to confront the seemingly impossible. Simpson, when faced with the enormity of descending a previously unclimbed peak alone and with his leg broken in three places, focuses on what he can achieve in each 20-minute period. Rock by rock, he somehow endures the gut-wrenching journey. The climbing scenes are breathtaking, Simpson's journey is brutal, and the mostly realistic re-enactments shock and chill. (Winner of the 2004 British Academy Film Award for Best British Film.) -- Wayne Young

Kimball's Twin Peak

Twisted (R)
Detective Ashley Judd becomes the center of her own murder investigation when her past lovers start dying. Samuel L. Jackson costars as a cop and mentor, Andy Garcia a coworker and love interest. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

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