Movie Picks 

click to enlarge The Boiler Room
  • The Boiler Room

*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. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

*Chicken Run (PG)

Peter Lord and Nick Park, creators of Wallace and Gromit, have crafted a devilishly clever clay animation feature film that is as thoroughly British in its humor as it is enjoyable to watch.

A band of hyperkinetic European chickens, imprisoned in a stalag-type egg farm run by a tyrannical husband and wife team, struggle to escape with the questionable aid of a cocky American Rooster named Rocky (voice by Mel Gibson). Chicken Run is a classy melding of story ideas from movies like The Great Escape, Cool Hand Luke, Stalag 17 and even Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times. It's easy to take for granted the painstaking process of frame-at-a-time filmmaking that clay animation requires when watching the film because the filmmakers have done such a superb job of seamlessly blending flawless set and figure design with story and character. Chicken Run is every bit as ridiculous as the title suggests and carries with it a look and style that, while referencing a tradition of escape movies, surprises the audience with its ingenuity and cheeky brand of British satire. See full review.-- Cole Smithey

Tinseltown; Chapel Hills; Citadel Terrace; Gold Hill Theaters

Frequency (PG-13)

Director Gregory Hoblit knows how to create tension, and succeeds here with dark lighting, a cast of compelling characters and the magnetic charm of late 1960s New York summer nights. Unfortunately, Hoblit was swayed somewhere in the production process, and gradually the threads of the story he set out to tell begin to unravel as he throws in too much new stuff -- like cheap special effects in the climactic scene -- and succumbs, finally, to a completely illogical and smarmy happy, happy and totally implausible ending. See full review.-- KCE

Tiffany Square

*Gladiator (R)

Russell Crowe (The Insider) acts up a righteous storm in his Roman get-up, proving once and for all that his versatility as an actor matches his prowess. Though director Ridley Scott would like you to think Gladiator is about strength, honor, duty, democracy and the danger of mob rule, in truth, it is an old-fashioned revenge drama -- and a pretty good one at that. Crowe as Maximus, beloved general of Roman troops turned slave, then gladiator, and Joaquin Phoenix as Commodus, insecure usurper to the throne, make marvelous foes. Unfortunately, Scott is so enamored of his production team's ability to show heads, hands and other body parts being severed, that the fight scenes become clamorous and redundant.See full review. -- KCE

Chapel Hills; Tinseltown; Citadel Terrace

*Keeping the Faith (PG-13)

Gifted young actor and now director Edward Norton comes forward with a sweet Gen-X piece in which three childhood best friends -- Brian (Norton), now a Catholic priest; Jake (Ben Stiller), now a rabbi; and Anna (Jenna Elfman) -- are reunited at the crest of real adulthood, just as they turn 30. When Anna returns to New York City, Jake and Brian hook back up with her, and both of them immediately fall hopelessly in love. The resulting complications echo classic screwball romances of the 1940s. The three young actors maintain a believable, warm rapport throughout the film, and their story is absolutely endearing.See full review. -- KCE

Tiffany Square; Silver Cinemas

*M: I-2 (Mission: Impossible 2) (PG-13)

Mission: Impossible 2 revels in the seductiveness of masculine super action with all the bells and whistles of techno-gadgets, fast cars and explosions attached. It's more romantic than anything in a James Bond movie and boasts better Kung Fu scenes than The Matrix. Director John Woo keeps similarities to director Brian De Palma's 1996 Mission Impossible to a minimum in this very dissimilar sequel by incorporating his signature slow motion, ballet-of-bullets action sequences against the taut resolve of Tom Cruise's most ambitious action performance to date. Cruise performed his own stunts, much to the chagrin of Paramount studio execs. The film's realism of danger allows it to operate on a higher level of believability and determination. See full review.-- Cole Smithey

Tinseltown; Citadel Terrace; Carmike 10; Chapel Hills

*Return to Me (PG)

Bob Rueland (David Duchovny) is madly in love with his wife, who dies suddenly in a car crash. Her heart is donated to an anonymous recipient, who turns out to be Grace Briggs (Minnie Driver). Grace works in an Irish-Italian restaurant owned by her grandfather (Carroll O'Connor). Duchovny happens to end up there one day and some miraculous force immediately attracts the two. Despite this silly premise, Return to Me really is a perfectly fine romantic comedy. Like a decent marriage in its middle years, Return to Me is mostly predictable and formulaic, and comforting in its solidity. See full review.-- AL

Silver Cinemas

click to enlarge Rocky and Bullwinkle
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle

Titan A.E. (PG-13)

Billing itself as the "first animated science fiction film," Titan A.E. (After Earth) threatens to forever condemn the genre because of its insipid storyline, pathetically cheesy rock soundtrack, and half-assed blending of 2-D and 3-D animation. Touting a cast of voice-over talent that includes Jeneane Garofalo, Bill Pullman, Drew Barrymore, John Leguizamo, and Matt Damon as Cale,Titan A.E. limps and lurches in dialogue. The a to b to c plot is as thoroughly boring as its soundtrack is vomit inducing. The colorful and exotic animation spectacle may be fascinating to look at for the first 20 minutes, but the movie would fare far better if it consisted only of background action without the encumbrance of silly characters and pandering dialogue.See full review. -- Cole Smithy

Tinseltown; Citadel Terrace; Chapel Hills

28 Days (PG-13)

Pretty, feisty Sandra Bullock is Gwen, a New York party girl and writer (one of those who is fabulously successful despite the rare appearance of any work in her life), whose drinking and drugging lifestyle eventually lead her to a court-enforced stay in a rehab center. Once there, Gwen falls in with an eccentric cast of inmates who spend the bulk of the movie intoning the tenets of addiction treatment programs while looking like the cast of Friends. This kind of dark comedy is hard to pull off, and director Betty Thomas' interpretation of Susannah Grant's script is merely functional -- it gets the point across, but loses any memorable characterizations in its predictability. Eminently watchable, but strangely lightweight. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

Up at the Villa (R)

See full review.

Kimball's Twin Peak, ends Thursday, June 29

Where the Heart Is (PG-13)

Director Matt Williams has a solid handle on the rough-hewn, working class sensibility of white middle America, but shows here he knows far less about structuring a movie whose story spans almost six years. Screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel treat Letts' book like a serial sit-com, lining up all the funny tales in a row, interrupting the flow of what's good in the movie -- namely, the cast. Natalie Portman is Novalee Nation, a pregnant 17-year-old who gets dumped by her boyfriend outside an Oklahoma Wal-Mart. She plays the part well but, ultimately, is miscast. Her inate coolness and sophistication make it impossible to believe her as a free-spirited, dirt poor savant who has managed to survive in spite of a compete lack of worldliness. Stockard Channing is marvelously spaced-out and eccentric as Sister Husband, a mother hen type who takes in Novalee. Ashley Judd is solid (though also too sophisticated) as Lexie Coop, a local woman with a brood of babies named after snack foods, who can't seem to find or keep a decent man. Pleasurable but irreparably harmed by its choppy structure. See full review.-- KCE

Tiffany Square


The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (PG)

The animated duo from Frostbite Falls appear on the big screen with Jason Alexander as Boris, Rene Russo as Natasha and Robert DeNiro as The Fearless Leader.

Tinseltown; Citadel Terrace; Tiffany Square

Disney's The Kid (PG)

Bruce Willis plays a successful image consultant whose life is turned upside-down when he meets himself as an 8-year-old child.

Tinseltown sneak preview, Sun., July 2, 6:45 p.m.

The Patriot (R)

See full review, page 41

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

The Perfect Storm (PG-13)

George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg star in the story of the Andrea Gail, a fishing boat with six-man crew caught in the perfect storm, a 1991 nor'easter with factors so horrible that it could not have been worse. With Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.

Kimball's Twin Peak; Chapel Hills; Carmike 10; Tinseltown; Gold Hill Theaters


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