Movie Picks 

click to enlarge The Whole Nine Yards
  • The Whole Nine Yards

*American Beauty (R)

American Beauty proves, once again, that you don't have to have a new plot to make a fresh story. Instead, a strong visual style, fabulous acting, and quirky writing can all conspire to create an erotic, humorous, captivating film. Kevin Spacey is given a funny, dry script by screenwriter Alan Ball and uses it confidently, moving between bumbling idiot, threatening asshole and tender father with ease; Annette Bening perfectly captures the manic acquisitiveness and just-below-the-surface despair of professional-class America with a physical, comedic presence that most actresses would never dare attempt; Wes Bentley portrays the disturbed boy next door with a quiet gravity that intensifies every scene he graces. First-time film director Sam Mendes has done a remarkable job of learning the vocabulary of filmmaking and using it to create a multilayered visual and psychological delight. See full review. -- AL

Chapel Hills; Carmike 10; Tinseltown

Angela's Ashes (R)

Director Alan Parker clearly reveres Frank McCourt's memoir of his impoverished Irish childhood, but Angela's Ashes, the film, is a dour excursion from start to finish. How many times do we need to see a member of the McCourt family vomit graphically, to understand their sour stomachs or the stench of their living quarters? The point, of course, is that poverty stinks and is humiliating. We get it, already. The child actors who play Frank at three different stages are all fetching, and the film actually picks up in spots where we are allowed entre into their perverse little heads. McCourt's depiction of the haggard, beaten-down Angela are among the book's most moving, but Emily Watson (Angela), who is great at playing eccentrics, feels too flimsy to carry the weight of the character. She simply looks bored. In spite of the exquisite filming, the tone and flavor of McCourt's memoir are buried in the squalor. See full review. -- KCE

Chapel Hills; Citadel Terrace; Citadel Terrace

*Anna and the King (PG-13)

Unlike the 1956 Rodgers and 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. 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

The Bachelor (PG-13)

The Bachelor, starring Chris O'Donnell and Renee Zellweger, aspires to be a fresh take on romantic comedy -- as seen from the guy's point of view -- and almost succeeds. But the director just couldn't resist the appeal of a massive chase scene down the streets of San Francisco, involving, gulp, 1,000 screaming women in bride's dresses. It's hard not to be off-put by this excess, when the film could have been a tight, fresh take on the romantic conundrum. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

*Boiler Room (R)

A deftly told tale of the sleazy underside of the stock market -- Wall Street bottom feeders who get rich selling little known, unreliable stocks to unsuspecting investors. Giovanni Ribisi finally gets the star turn he deserves as Seth Davis, an unsuspecting young trainee who is caught up in the hype of the get-rich-quick scheme. Engaging and fast-paced throughout -- with the exception of a drippy subplot involving Ribisi and his father, a stern judge -- The Boiler Room is a stylish peek into a universe where greed truly rules. Ribisi transcends the bare outlines of his character in the scenes where he goes for the sell, sweating and squirming. Outstanding supporting cast includes Ben Affleck and Nia Long. -- KCE

Carmike 10; Tinseltown; Tiffany Square

*Boys Don't Cry (R)

See full review.

Kimball's Twin Peak

Double Jeopardy (R)

Despite an excellent cast and clever premise, Double Jeopardy is plagued with problems. 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

Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo (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

Silver Cinemas

End of Days (R)

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 both 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. See full review. -- Noel Murray

Silver CInemas

*The Insider (R)

Russell Crowe turns in the best performance of his career as the beleaguered Jeffrey Wigand -- the corporate whistleblower who brought big tobacco to its knees -- lending his character the heavy, tangible weight of conscience and family responsibility. And as CBS producer Lowell Bergman, Al Pacino gives a fine, modulated performance. Given the opportunity to be holier-than-thou, Pacino frequently stoops to breast-beating, but here he tones down his righteousness. Christopher Plummer is perfectly cast as anchorman Mike Wallace. Mann's depiction of the journalist paints a picture of a dignified, aging celebrity caught in one of the most difficult moments of his career -- one where he makes the wrong choice, but we are led to understand his flawed reasoning. Director Michael Mann's style with the camera works well with this material -- in most of the movie's scenes, we are made aware that more is happening than just what we see in the foreground. Shots are framed off-center, creating a tension between what we can and cannot see, between what we know and don't know. One of the best films of '99, and, in my opinion, the best performance by an actor (Crowe). See full review. -- KCE


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 but apparently clairvoyant inmate (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 feels like little more than excessive padding. See full review. -- KCE

Carmike 10; Tinseltown; Academy Station 6

Hanging Up (R)

See full review.

Carmike 10; Academy Station 6; Tinseltown; Tiffany Square

*The Hurricane (R)

Veteran filmmaker Norman Jewison tells Rubin Hurricane Carter's story powerfully and with a steady gaze in The Hurricane. In May of 1967, Carter, a rising professional boxing champion, was convicted of the murders of three white people in Paterson, New Jersey, and was sentenced to three life terms in prison. For the next 20 years, Carter remained incarcerated, wrote an autobiography and continued to petition the courts for his freedom. There are no groundbreaking camera tricks or imaginative twists in this biopic -- the story is a stunner on its own. As Carter, Denzel Washington's performance perfectly captures Carter's evolution -- as he is ripped from the world of notability and locked in seclusion, both his grief and his compassion expand. Both the movie and its formidable star succeed at dramatizing the hideous injustice of Carter's imprisonment, and the excruciatingly painful passage of time behind bars. See full review.-- KCE

Tinseltown; Carmike 10

The Omega Code (PG-13)

With Springs actor, Ziggy Wagrowski.

Silver Cinemas

*Sixth Sense (PG-13)

A fluid, compelling and genuinely scary ghost story starring Bruce Willis as Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist. Willis' character enjoys a charmed life with his wife (Olivia Williams) and a fulfilling, successful career until the night he gets plugged by a dissatisfied former patient. We next see Crowe, shaken and changed, outside the house of Cole Sear, a little boy with anxious tendencies and, apparently, deep psychological problems. Turns out Cole can see the dead, and those with unfinished business often show up in his bedroom at night. The most startling moments of the film all revolve around the appearance of those ghosts. Haley Joel Osment, the child actor who plays Cole, is tortured, convincing and winning. Willis doesn't make a false move. The film delivers a wonderful punch at the end with an unexpected plot twist. A sure audience pleaser, Sixth Sense is solid, smart, subtle, atmospheric moviemaking. -- KCE

Tinseltown; Chapel Hills

*The Straight Story (G)

At first blush, David Lynch, director of such creepy stories as Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, is the last director you would imagine being attracted to this true story of Alvin Straight, a 73 year-old man who rode 350 miles on a John Deere lawnmower to visit his brother. Lynch opts to tell the story, well, straight, without even a breath of cynicism. Richard Farnsworth is perfect in the role of Alvin -- expressive, reserved and grizzled with no trace of makeup or beautification to him. Sissy Spacek as his daughter Rose is equally plain, beautiful and poignant. It's the pacing, though, that is miraculous. Under Lynch's careful guidance, and that of screenwriters John Roach and Mary Sweeney, we slow down from our hectic world and share Alvin's simple pleasures. By following the pilgrimage of Alvin, Lynch has managed to give us a gorgeous vision of America as it is and as it has been. We are lucky to be allowed to share the director's vision, and to experience, once again, the world at two miles per hour. See full review. -- AL


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

Citadel Terrace

*The Whole Nine Yards (R)

A comedy about a retired Mafia contract killer (Bruce Willis) who moves into a quiet Montreal suburban neighborhood. That The Whole Nine Yards is so amusing and unexpected is a tribute to really good writing. Screenwriting newcomer Mitchell Kapner has loaded the film with the kind of funny throwaway lines that you want to remember and repeat to your friends. The humor of the film also gets a lift from some decent physical comedy on the part of Matthew Perry. While the humor is very clever and tongue-in-cheek, the violence of the film is not. All the killing in the midst of the comedy was a little creepy. Squeamishness, and a deep wonder at our warped American psyche aside, however, The Whole Nine Yards is a lightweight, clever comedy, and writer Kapner will be one to watch. See full review. -- AL

Carmike 10; Academy Station 6; Tinseltown; Tiffany Square

*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


The Doors (R)

Val Kilmer plays Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's version of the rise and fall of one of the '60s most controversial bands. With Meg Ryan and Kathleen Quinlan.

Colorado Music Hall, 2475 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Free, 447-9797. Tues., Feb. 29, 7:30 p.m. $1 Miller High Life if you wear leather pants or prove you're in a band.

The Harder They Fall (not rated)

A crooked fight promoter exploits a boxer by fixing his fights, until an ex-sportswriter hired to promote the fight ends up writing an expos. Humphrey Bogart, Rod Steiger, Jan Sterling, Jersey Joe Walcott and Max Baer Sr. star in a noir classic.

Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St. 634-5581. Tues., Feb. 29, 7:30 p.m.

Reindeer Games (R)

After being released from prison, Rudy (Ben Affleck) just wants to settle down with his love, Ashley, (Charlize Theron), but a criminal (Gary Sinise) and his team wants Rudy to help take down a casino on Christmas Eve -- against his will.

Chapel Hills; Tinseltown; Academy Station 6

Sid & Nancy (R)

Award-winning actress Chloe Webb is Nancy Spungen, an American punk groupie involved in a self-destructive love affair with British Sex Pistol Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman). Absolute cult classic.

Colorado Music Hall, 2475 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Free, 447-9797. Tues., Feb. 29, 9:30 p.m. $1 Miller High Life if you wear leather pants or prove you're in a band.

Simpatico (R)

Vinnie Webb (Nick Nolte), his girlfriend Rosie (Sharon Stone) and best friend Lyle Carter (Jeff Bridges) make a living playing the odds of thoroughbred racing. They hatch a plan to execute the ultimate score, but when Lyle and Rosie run off with their take, the three find themselves bound by a secret, yet divided by a betrayal of the heart. 20 years later, Vinnie decides to settle the score. Based on a Sam Shepard play.

Tiffany Square

Topsy-Turvy (R)

Gilbert -- an overly proper English gentleman, certain he knows best -- writes the words. Sullivan composes the music. For years, they have been delighting English theatergoers, but when they begin to get lukewarm reviews, tensions between the duo rise. It's only when Gilbert's wife intervenes that they embark on a creative journey that will become The Mikado. With Allan Corduner and Dexter Fletcher. Hailed by many critics as one of the best films of 1999.

Kimball's Twin Peak;

What Planet Are You From? (R) sneak preview

Harold (Garry Shandling) is an alien sent to impregnate an earth woman (Annette Bening) to ensure his species' domination of the universe -- but his knowledge of the female sex is pathetic, at best. From Oscar-winning director Mike Nichols.

Tinseltown, Sat., Feb. 26, 7:55 p.m.

Wonder Boys (R)

College girl Hannah Green (Katie Holmes) has a crush on her landlord Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas), a writer/professor who between struggling with writer's block, avoiding his editor (Robert Downey, Jr.) and trying to find a rare jacket once owned by Marilyn Monroe with wonder student James Leer (Tobey Maguire), finds time to get his chancellor (Frances McDormand), who is in love with him, pregnant -- all during the weekend of his college's annual literary festival.

Chapel Hills; Tinseltown


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