Movie Picks 

click to enlarge Galaxy Quest
  • Galaxy Quest

Now showing but not yet reviewed:

Tumbleweeds (PG-13)

Janet McTeer is Mary Jo, a North Carolina gal who can't win at love except with daughter Ava (Kimberly Brown). National Board of Review winner for best actress. Not yet reviewed.

Tinseltown; Chapel Hills

Any Given Sunday (R)

Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, James Woods, Jamie Foxx and Dennis Quaid star in this acerbic look at the powerful people involved in the American football industry. Directed by Oliver Stone. Not yet reviewed.

Tinseltown; Carmike 10

Galaxy Quest (PG)

The stars of '70s-era telelvision show Galaxy Quest are mistaken for real space warriors, and are kidnapped by aliens in order to help them win a war on their home planet. With Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver. Not yet reviewed.

Tinseltown; Chapel Hills; Citadel Terrace

The Talented Mr. Ripley (R)

Tom Ripley craves the jazz-drenched 1950's Italian life of his acquaintance Dickie Greenleaf, and will go to bizarre ends to live it. Starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon. Directed by Anthony Minghella (The English Patient). Not yet reviewed.

Tinseltown; Chapel Hills; Carmike 10; Citadel Terrace

The following films have been screened by our reviewers. A * indicates a recommendation from our reviewers.

*Anna and the King (PG-13)

Director Andy Tennant accomplishes scene after scene of great beauty and organizational complexity in this retelling of the story of Anna Leonowens (Jodie Foster), a British widow employed as an English teacher to King Mongkut (Chow Yun-Fat) of Thailand in the 1860s. Unlike the 1956 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I, this retelling of Leonowen's story is rather serious in its treatment of the political circumstances in Siam, the consequences of colonialism (including on the colonizers), and the relationships between Asia and the British during the age of British expansion. Jodie Foster's work is serious, subtle and well informed; her now slightly lined face and bright blue eyes are perfectly mesmerizing as she struggles with the clash of cultures, and sometimes loses. Chow Yun-Fat has a wonderful command of facial expression that underscores the trials of an intelligent, regal ruler struggling to keep his country out of the hands of foreign domination. -- AL

Chapel Hills; Carmike 10; Tinseltown

*Being John Malkovich (R)

Spike Jonze's bizarre adult comedy, Being John Malkovich, is a wonderfully acted, witty take on the lengths we will go for our 15 minutes of fame. John Cusack is marvelous as Craig Schwartz, a brilliant loser puppeteer who takes a filing job in a bizarre office building where he discovers a secret door. When he crawls through it, he is inexplicably drawn into the body and mind of actor John Malkovich where he remains for 15 minutes, then is spit out into a ditch off the New Jersey Turnpike. If this sounds too weird to be funny, be assured it is not. Jonze's direction, the brilliant script by first-timer Charlie Kaufman, razor sharp cinematography by Lance Acord (Buffalo '66) and the outstanding ensemble cast combine to make this an unforgettable moviegoing experience. -- KCE


*Dogma (R)

Dogma is utterly silly and pleasantly tinged with a mischievousness that's irresistible. Director Kevin Smith's script is typically verbose and vulgar, and the casting works wonderfully throughout, with stellar moments from Alan Rickman as the angel Metatron, nice low-key consistency from the disillusioned Linda Fiorentino, and a wonderful turn by Jason Lee as a demon up from Hell to assist fallen angels Loki and Bartleby (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck) in their scheme to get back to heaven. A bit too long, Smith should have foregone the special effects-driven scene that unleashes the demon Golgothan (an excrement slinging monster) and stuck with the delightful cast of characters, but overall Dogma is funny, even affirming in its exploration of the foibles of faith. -- KCE


Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigalo (R)

Why anyone would want to make this into a movie is beyond me. "Lighten up," the proponents of this film have said. "It's only comedy." Yes, well, comedy is funny, little boy, and Deuce Bigalow ain't. It's rude, insulting and juvenile. -- AL

Chapel Hills; Carmike 10; Tinseltown

End of Days (R)

click to enlarge Any given Sunday
  • Any given Sunday

End of Days is a dreary, exploitative action film in which it's devil time again. The plot has The Dark One (Gabriel Byrne) seeking out a 20-year-old virgin named, of course, Christine (Robin Tunney) who has been predestined to bear the devil a son. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays ex-cop Jericho Cane, who takes it upon himself to protect Christine from The Man. Director Peter Hyams does nothing to brighten up or energize screenwriter Andrew Marlowe's dull, confusing script. The message that End of Days is supposed to carry is that faith is more powerful than guns. But it's unlikely the message will be heard over all the automatic weapons fire. -- Noel Murray

Tiffany Square; Carmike 10; Tinseltown

*Fight Club (R)

Director David Fincher explores the currently hot psychological territory of the disaffected American male at the end of the 20th century. Edward Norton is the main character of Fight Club, turning in a performance that will likely draw comparisons to Robert DeNiro or Dustin Hoffman, placing him firmly at the top of his generation of Hollywood actors. Fincher is the perfect director for Brad Pitt -- who plays Norton's charismatic alter ego, Tyler Durden -- tapping into the smug arrogance that he does best. Too long by about a half-hour, the film would not have missed about half the fight scenes. But overall, Fight Club succeeds with a tight, often funny script, and compelling editing, design and cinematography throughout. Original and starting with some brutally violent scenes. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

*The Green Mile (R)

At three hours and ten minutes long, this is one marathon of a movie, and unnecessarily so. The story, based on Stephen King's 1996 serial novel, is oddly compelling: A death row prison guard in the mid-1930's deep south, Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) is delivered a 7-foot-tall, black, simple-minded inmate (Michael Clarke Duncan) with supernatural empathic powers, convicted for murder. Duncan's characterization, though spare, is powerful. And Hanks, as Edgecomb, is his usual measured, affable self -- the soul of fairness. The villains are suitably evil, especially Doug Hutchison as deputy guard Percy Wetmore.The Green Mile is a worthy exploration of good and evil, human suffering, the cold inevitability of death and the redeeming power of love. But the strength lies in the story, the earthy vernacular and the colorful characters, and director Frank Darabont's ponderous, heavy-handed dramatic approach feels like little more than excessive padding. -- KCE

Chapel Hills; Carmike 10; Tinseltown

*Man on the Moon (R)

See full review, page 21

Kimball's Twin Peak; Tinseltown; Chapel Hills; Carmike 10

Random Hearts (R)

Harrison Ford looks weary and worn out in this leaden-paced romantic thriller -- and the poor guy looks like he's going to throw up when he's required to smile. Director Sydney Pollack obviously wants to say something significant about infidelity and deception, but gets lost along the way, throwing in a bad cop sub-plot and too many touchy-feely scenes between Ford and Kristen Scott-Thomas. Thomas is good as an ice princess who doesn't know how to mourn, but her pairing with Ford feels unlikely. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

*Sleepy Hollow (R)

In Director Tim Burton's hands, the tiny Hudson river valley town of Sleepy Hollow becomes a mythical place where gnarled trees silhouetted against a foggy background speak volumes. Johnny Depp brings a humorous finickiness to the character of Ichabod Crane. He is prissy, prim and immaculate, and he doesn't take well to the sight of gore. Depp moves from prude to swashbuckler with real movie star grace and charisma, and Crane's love interest, Katrina Van Tassel, is played with understated charm by Christina Ricci. The horseman himself -- massive and shrouded in black -- proves to be a striking central focus of the film, despite his missing head. Burton's Sleepy Hollow will, no doubt, prove to be a Halloween video classic. -- KCE

Carmike 10; Chapel Hills; Tinseltown

Star Wars, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (PG)

Little kids will no doubt love it, but adults hoping to relive the spiritual uplift that was the Star Wars experience of their youth will inevitably be disappointed with The Phantom Menace. Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor as Qui-Gon Jinn, Jedi knight, and his apprentice Obi-Won Kenobi are numbingly cool from the start of the film. The entire film, unlike its predecessors, is devoid of enthusiasm for the cause and completely lacking in dramatic tension. The big computer animated battles are terrific, but you might as well be watching Antz or A Bugs Life. -- KCE

Kimball's Twin Peak

*Three Kings (R)

Bold, adventurous and in-your-face. Director-writer David O. Russell (Spanking the Monkey) has penned a tight, provocative script that combines some of the best elements of a good war film with heavy doses of contemporary social commentary. George Clooney plays Special Forces Captain Archie Gates, cynical, worn-out and two weeks from retirement. Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube play reservists with dead-end jobs back home, called up for the Gulf War. Spike Jonze is Private Conrad Vig, an overgrown juvenile delinquent from Texas who alternates between a sort of lovable stupidity and delirious combat lust. Dwelling on the crass, commerciality of the Gulf War and the narrow perception at home of the damage wrought to Iraqi citizens by our carpet bombing and premature pullout there, Three Kings disturbed me all over again, and comforted me in an odd way. I couldn't help hoping George Bush gets a chance to see it. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

*Toy Story 2 (G)

Toy Story 2 manages to construct even wilder gags, and to stretch even further the idea of the secret life of toys than the first, but it also leaves an even more bittersweet aftertaste. At its most heart-wrenching, this chipper cartoon is also a parent's stricken fantasy of being outgrown by their children. In Toy Story 2, Woody discovers that he was once part of a matched set with a wonder horse, a cowgirl named Jessie (voiced ideally by Joan Cusack), and a grizzled prospector sidekick. When the reunited set goes up for sale, Woody is faced with a toy's version of an existential crisis -- either be enshrined behind glass for eternity in a museum display, or enjoy what few years he has left with owner Andy before the boy outgrows him. Toy Story 2's mix of silliness, affection, and piercing nostalgia -- and yes, artistry -- keeps kids and adults engaged simultaneously. -- Jim Ridley

Tinseltown; Gold Hill Theater, Chapel Hills, Citadel Terrace

*The World is Not Enough (R)

Pierce Brosnan can do no wrong. He gleams with all the requisite savoir-faire and charisma that James Bond demands. Brosnan's third installment as Her Majesty's top secret agent 007 lives up to the lofty expectations set down by Sean Connery with an indispensable steely nerve. Robert Carlyle does a brilliant turn as the ruthless terrorist Renard, and the beautiful Princess Elektra (Sophie Marceau) gives the plot some artful double-crossing. Michael Apted, best known for his fantastic 7 Up documentary film series and Coal Miner's Daughter, more than hits his directorial marks.The World Is Not Enough is, pound for explosion, a great return on your entertainment dollar. -- Cole Smithey

Carmike 10; Chapel Hills; Tinseltown


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