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click to enlarge The Polar Express, based on a classic childrens book, - opens this week.
  • The Polar Express, based on a classic childrens book, opens this week.

Alfie (R)
A cockney womanizer (Jude Law) learns the hard way about the dangers of his actions. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*The Bourne Supremacy (PG-13)
The true star of The Bourne Supremacy is director Paul Greengrass, whose fight-scene cinematography is riveting. This sequel is not quite as personally involving as its predecessor, but equally as thrilling and easily one of the best films of summer '04. -- Kathryn Eastburn

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Cellular (PG-13)
A young man (Chris Evans) receives a call on his cellular phone from a woman (Kim Basinger) who says she's been kidnapped and thinks she's going to be killed soon. She doesn't know where she is, and his cell phone battery might run out soon. -- Not reviewed

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The Forgotten (PG-13)
After losing her son, a grieving mother visits a shrink who tells her that she has created eight years of memories of a son she never had. She sets out to prove her son's existence and her sanity. -- Not reviewed

*Finding Neverland (PG)
See full review, page 29.

Opening soon

First Daughter (PG)
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*Friday Night Lights (PG-13)
Director Peter Berg's scrappy adaptation of H.G. Bissinger's 1990 book about the cult of high school football in a dying West Texas town. Billy Bob Thornton's acting range is remarkable, and in Friday Night Lights he has reached for a piece of humanity he hasn't yet depicted on film. Carrying the film alongside Thornton is the fine young actor Lucas Black as the Odessa Permian High School Panthers' worried quarterback; Derek Luke as brash, cocksure Boobie Miles, the team's star running back until he blows out his knee; and country music singer Tim McGraw as an abusive, alcoholic father in a screen debut that's surprising in its intensity and authenticity. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Grudge
For Halloween-season moviegoers looking for some edge-of-the-seat, popcorn-flying-off-the-lap thrills, The Grudge won't disappoint -- at least for the first half of the film. A remake of a popular Japanese haunted-house thriller, The Grudge retains its original writer/director Takashi Shimizu as well as its grainy, subtly photographed and disorienting Japanese sets. But it falls apart under the weight of long clunky flashbacks and uninspired acting. Worse, jumpy cuts create confusion and break the tension necessary for keeping a horror movie scary into its final scenes. Halfway into the film, the nonstop appearance of pale-skinned ghouls becomes more humorous than harrowing. When the nature of the curse is finally revealed, the effect is neither shocking nor frightening -- just strange. -- Dan Wilcock

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (PG)
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I Heart Huckabees
I Heart Huckabees is a spirited marathon talk-fest about the meaning of existence that's mildly entertaining for its duration. Director David O. Russell (Three Kings) and screenwriters Russell and Jeff Baena have written a tight script that explores, if not existentialism, then the more Buddhist notion of interconnectedness. It is an ambitious story, told as an absurd comedy that works in some places better than others -- frequent hammering-over-the-head to make a point is distracting, while every scene featuring Mark Wahlberg's neurotic character is a real kick. Performances, by Wahlberg, Dustin Hoffman, Jason Schwartzman, Lily Tomlin and Jude Law are overall light and refreshing. But the lack of a strong story and characters with emotional weight makes I Heart Huckabees merely an admirable effort, not a memorable film. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Kimball's Twin Peak

The Incredibles (PG)
A family of superheroes in hiding is forced to reveal themselves to save the world, again. A Pixar Animation Studio's 6th digitally animated feature. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

I, Robot (PG-13)
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Ladder 49 (PG-13)
Responding to the worst blaze in his career, firefighter Jack Morrison (Joaquin Phoenix) becomes trapped inside a 20-story building and reflects on his life while his mentor, Chief Mike Kennedy (John Travolta), frantically coordinates the effort to save him. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*The Manchurian Candidate (R)
Director Jonathan Demme recycles the plot and characters of John Frankenheimer's great 1962 Communist paranoia film. Liev Schreiber is Raymond Shaw, a war hero from Operation Desert Storm and a senator who has just received his party's vice-presidential nomination. When Shaw's former commander, Major Marco (Denzel Washington), shows up asking questions, the paranoia begins. Ultimately, Demme's remake stands on its own, but without the humor and satire of its predecessor. Also stars Meryl Streep in the Angela Lansbury role. -- Kathryn Eastburn

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*The Motorcycle Diaries (R)
The Motorcycle Diaries recounts the true story of an 8,000-mile journey up the spine of South America undertaken by a young Ernesto "Che" Guevara and his best friend, Alberto, in 1952. Director Walter Salles strikes the perfect balance between irreverent romp and heartfelt epic as the two young men take to the open road. For all its humor, skirt chasing and tall tales, the trip offers Guevara and his friend a sobering dose of self-discovery. Easily one of the year's best films, with terrific performances by both Gael Garca Bernal (Guevara) and Rodrigo De la Serna (Alberto). -- Dan Wilcock

Kimball's Twin Peak

Napoleon Dynamite (PG)
Napoleon Dynamite is a harmless spawn of Sundance that could have been an excellent character piece had it not overindulged in its own idiosyncratic sensibility. The film's protagonist is Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder), a teenager whose mouth is forever agape and whose disposition hops between extreme dopiness and standard-issue adolescent indignation. While Napoleon Dynamite is littered with hilarious bits and pieces, they add up to only a few hard laughs and not much else. -- John Dicker

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The Passion of the Christ (R)
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Ray (PG-13)
Soul singer Ray Charles' life unfolds on-screen, starring Jamie Foxx. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (R)
The cult classic, audience participation flick will play every Saturday at the Lon Chaney Theater downtown. Audience members are encouraged to dress in character and bring props. No open flames allowed, but flashlights are OK. Admission and all the popcorn you can eat for $5. -- Not reviewed

City Auditorium

Saw (R)
With a dead body laying between them, two men wake up in the lair of a serial killer. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Shall We Dance? (PG-13)
A romantic comedy in which a bored, overworked accountant, upon first sight of a beautiful instructor, signs up for ballroom dancing lessons. Starring Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon. --Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Shark Tale (PG)
This under-sea Mafia movie, set in the world of saltwater fish, is the story of a bottom-feeder named Oscar (Will Smith), who finds himself blamed for the death of the mob boss shark's son. --Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Shrek 2 (PG)
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Surviving Christmas (PG-13)
A rich but lonely executive (Ben Affleck) rents a family to act as his own for the holidays in order to re-live his happier childhood years. -- Not Reviewed

Tinseltown

Taxi (PG-13)
A mouthy cab driver (Queen Latifah) has hot tips for a green cop (Jimmy Fallon) set on solving a string of bank robberies. -- Not Reviewed

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*Team America: World Police (R)
Inspired by the '60s TV series Thunderbirds, Team America is Trey Parker and Matt Stone's latest offensive slandering of various races, cultures, nationalities, celebrities and mainstream American values -- a film guaranteed to make you laugh and feel guilty for doing so. In many ways this is a parody of the James Bond/Austin Powers archetypal international espionage flicks, performed by foul-mouthed puppets and backed by an absurd mock-country soundtrack. Vomit, exploding heads, blood, puppet-sex and more use of the 'F' word than the annual offerings of gangsta rap. Not for the weak stomached or politically conservative. Terrible and brilliant in the same breath. Guarantee, you'll walk away singing, "America, f___ yeah!" -- Matthew Schniper

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

What the Bleep Do We Know? (R)
There are many aspects to What the Bleep Do We Know that deserve slamming, but a lack of ambition is certainly not one of them. It is a film about ideas, big ideas. Defying genre categorization, it uses documentary, narrative and experimental film technique to drive a storyline based around a young woman photographer. The film is dominated by a panel of 14 physicists and professional mystics deployed to pontificate the limits of human consciousness, the nature of God, and our infinite potential to create our reality. At its best, it flirts with the sort of intellectual calisthenics that'll make your brain spasm; at its worst, the movie often winds up feeling exactly like what it is: a pedagogical artifice. -- John Dicker

Kimball's Twin Peak

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