Movie Picks 

click to enlarge Magnolia
  • Magnolia

*Anna and the King (PG-13)

Unlike the 1956 Rogers & Hammerstein musical, this retelling of Anna Leonowen's (Jodie Foster) story is rather serious in its treatment of the relationships between Asia and the British during the age of British expansion. Jodie Foster's work is subtle and well informed. Acting opposite Chow Yun-Fat (playing King Mongkut) must have been a great pleasure, for the man is not only easy on the eyes but 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. Go to be captivated by the kind of spectacle that Hollywood alone can create, the organizational and visual feats of lush scenery, beautiful costuming, and good special effects, and you won't be disappointed.See full review. -- AL

Chapel Hills; Tinseltown; Citadel Terrace

Bringing Out the Dead (R)

Martin Scorsese's latest collaboration with screenwriter Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Last Temptation of Christ) is frequently repetitive and feels far longer than it actually is. Nicolas Cage plays Frank -- a burned out paramedic who is haunted by the lives he has lost -- with his usual smouldering despair and rage. He's very good, but how many times now have we seen him do the furrowed brow thing? The film succeeds best when Scorsese cuts loose with the camera, and we are allowed to escape the repetition of the inside-the-ambulance scenes. Mainly, it just feels like Martin Scorsese is using his trademark tricks, including his visual genius, to tell a story that fails to rouse the viewer.See full review. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

*The Cider House Rules (PG-13)

In 1940s Maine, Dr. Larch (Michael Caine), spends half his life caring for unwanted children and the other half performing abortions. When the chance arises, oldest orphan and Larch's disapproving protg in the obstetrics business, Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire), sets off to explore the world with Woody and Candy (Paul Rudd and Charlize Theron), a handsome young couple who have just availed themselves of Dr. Larch's services. Delroy Lindo gives a powerhouse performance as Mr. Rose -- the head of the picking crew on the apple farm owned by Woody's mother -- who has an incestuous relationship with his daughter, wonderfully played by hip-hop artist Erykah Badu in her movie debut. John Irving, who wrote the novel, did an excellent job of paring down his long, Dickensian work into a cogent screenplay that doesn't sacrifice its heart in the translation. The characters' quirks and charms are intact, especially those of Dr. Larch, played by Caine with an overwhelming kindness and vulnerability. His scenes glow with humanity. -- KCE

Tinseltown; Chapel Hills; Carmike 10

*Crazy in Alabama (PG-13)

Crazy in Alabama is a decent debut film for actor-turned-director Antonio Banderas. Peejoe (Lucas Black) is a young orphan living with his grandmother when his aunt Lucille (Melanie Griffith) arrives with a car full of children, begging her mother to take her kids and allow her a month to become a movie star. Soon after, Peejoe witnesses the murder of a young black boy by the local sheriff (Meatloaf) for the crime of swimming in the public pool. Melanie Griffith always plays the girly girl, so her casting and acting was no surprise here, but I derived more pleasure from the supporting characters, most notably the town's two undertakers, Peejoe's uncle Dove (David Morse), the white undertaker, and Nehemiah (John Beasley), the black undertaker and father of the murdered boy. Both of these men lend the film a quiet gravity, underscoring the danger of living in Industry, Alabama, circa 1963. -- AL

Silver Cinemas

Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigalo (R)

Why anyone would want to make this into a movie is a mystery. "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.See full review. -- AL

Chapel Hills; Carmike 10; Tinseltown

*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.See full review. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

Double Jeopardy (R)

Despite an excellent cast and clever premise, Double Jeopardy is plagued with problems. In the first place, a thriller requires suspense, and in this case, all mystery has been erased by an ambitious pre-release advertising campaign that gave away the basic plot of the film. All you really need to know is that seeing the film is not nearly as intriguing as watching the trailer. Ashley Judd is tough, fierce and intelligent as the wronged mother and wife, but her grit and good looks are wasted in an otherwise predictable, formulaic script. Tommy Lee Jones as her parole officer merely tags along. Gorgeous location shots of Vancouver and New Orleans provide momentary visual distractions but add little to the drama, and sloppy sound editing detracts throughout. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

*Girl, Interrupted (R)

See full review.

Tinseltown; Kimball's Twin Peak; Carmike 10; Tiffany Square

*The Green Mile (R)

At three hours and ten minutes long, this is one marathon of a movie, and unnecessarily so. The charming story, based on Stephen King's 1996 serial novel, is fairly straightforward 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 with amazing psychic ability (Michael Clarke Duncan), 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 Green Mile is a worthy exploration of good and evil, human suffering, the cold inevitability of death and the redeeming power of love. But because the strength lies in the simple nature of the story, the earthy vernacular and the colorful characters, the director's tired dramatic approach, including the overbearing musical track, feels like little more than excessive padding.See full review. -- KCE

Chapel Hills; Carmike 10; Tinseltown

*The Hurricane (R)

See full review.

Tinseltown; Carmike 10; Tiffany Square

*Magnolia (R)

Director Paul Thomas Anderson's theme is difficult to grasp, but brilliantly explored. Six stories intertwine, accented by the stark tunes of singer-songwriter Aimee Mann, in one of the better collaborations between filmmaking and popular music ever made. Jason Robards is haggard and heart-wrenching as Earl Partridge, a dying man; Juliette Moore makes you squirm in your seat as Linda, his brittle wife; Philip Seymour Hoffman anchors the film as Phil, Earl's caring nurse; Tom Cruise burns up the screen as television infomercial king Frank T.J. Mackey, Earl's estranged son; John C. Reilly is perfect as the bumbling cop who falls for cocaine addict Claudia, also wonderfully played by Melora Waters; Philip Baker Hall is tragically worn out as a game-show host, also dying, who is trying to come to terms with his worst transgressions. Magnolia is a brutally honest, three-hour-long combination manic-depressive episode and acid trip to the place we all fear and know too well, the juncture of who we've been in the past and who we are now, faced with brutal honesty.See full review. -- KCE

Tinseltown; Chapel Hills

*Man on the Moon (R)

This strange and ultimately affecting movie is the rather perfunctorily told tale of comic Andy Kaufman's short, brilliant career and short, bizarre life. In the hands of director Milos Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The People vs. Larry Flynt) Kaufman is treated as a rare genius who was misunderstood. It is fitting that Kaufman be played by Jim Carrey, the great gagster of his generation. Carrey's depiction is physically uncanny -- he perfectly captures Kaufman's googly eyes and frumpy posture, and mimics precisely many of Kaufman's best-known skits. But the writing and direction of Man on the Moon is pedestrian. Except for a lame attempt at a fake-out in the opening sequence, the story is told as straight screen biography, not what one would expect given Kaufman's bizarre persona. See it for Carrey's terrific impersonation, and for the moments on screen when, even if just for a brief moment, you can feel Kaufman's inexplicable spirit leaking through. See full review.-- KCE

Chapel Hills

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 highly unlikely. -- KCE


Snow Falling on Cedars (PG-13)

Directed with blatant artistic self-consciousness by Scott Hicks (Shine), each perfectly framed and filmed scene in Snow Falling on Cedars feels over-directed, with the exception of the courtroom scenes where veteran Max Van Sydow, who plays the doddering old barrister hired to defend Kazuo Miyamoto (Rick Yune) on a murder charge, is allowed to meander through his lines with well-earned respect and dignity. Ethan Hawke gazes mournfully at his former love, Hatsue (Youki Kudoh), and we are given flashback upon flashback of the youthful love affair in their pasts. The dramatic tension of the murder trial is lost in the fog, and by the end, we don't care at all who committed the murder, we just want desperately to see the sky.See full review. -- KCE

Kimball's Twin Peak; Tinseltown; Carmike 10; Tiffany Square

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

Silver Cinemas

*The Talented Mr. Ripley (R)

Anthony Minghella meticulously recreates the feel of the 1950s jazz era in Italy where everyone loves anything American. Matt Damon delivers a fine, nuanced performance that grows on the viewer. As Tom Ripley, a deeply disturbed young man who longs to be someone other than himself, Damon moves from fumbling geek to smooth expatriate with boyish intensity and dark charm. Brit Jude Law is a revelation as Dickie Greenleaf, object of Ripley's lustful admiration, a rich American kid who spends his days soaking up the sun and his nights in smoky jazz clubs. Glowing cinematography, a rich musical soundtrack, well-rounded characters, a literate narrative and nail-biting suspense are combined by Minghella to produce one of the richest, old-fashioned in the best sense of the word, films out of Hollywood this year. -- KCE

Tinseltown; Chapel Hills; Carmike 10; Citadel Terrace

*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. The mix of silliness, affection, and piercing nostalgia -- and yes, artistry -- keeps kids and adults engaged simultaneously.See full review. -- Jim Ridley

Tinseltown; 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. Robert Carlyle does a brilliant turn as the ruthless terrorist Renard. 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.See full review. -- Cole Smithey

Chapel Hills


Angela's Ashes (R)

Film adaptation of Frank McCourt's best-selling memoir about his childhood in Ireland starring Emily Watson and Robert Carlyle

Tinseltown; Chapel Hills

The Blue Dahlia (not rated)

Film noir classic starring Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. A war veteran returns home to find his wife has been cheating on him. When she is found murdered, he becomes the prime suspect and must find the real killer.

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St. 634-5583. Tues., Jan. 25, 7 p.m.

Down To You (PG-13)

A New York coming-of-age love story starring Freddie Prinze, Jr., Selma Hayek, Julia Stiles, Shawn Hatosy and Zak Orth.

Tinseltown; Tiffany Square; Carmike 10

The End of the Affair (R)

In London, 1946, novelist Maurice Bendrix (Ralph Fiennes) finds his love for his ex-mistress Sarah (Julianne Moore) rekindled. What he does not know is that during the war, Sarah struck a bargain with God to sacrifice their relationship in order to save Bendrix's life. Fatally ill, she realizes she cannot keep this promise, and must reexamine her love, spirituality and soul.

Tinseltown; Chapel Hills

Play It To the Bone (R)

Woody Harrelson and Antonio Banderas are two boxers on their way to Las Vegas to vie for a title. The road trip takes a turn toward crazy when they pick up Grace Pasic (Lolita Davidovich).

Tinseltown; Tiffany Square


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