Movie Picks 

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*Disney's The Kid (PG)

I don't understand why Disney's The Kid is being marketed to kids. Bruce Willis plays Russell Duritz, a very successful image consultant who is sometimes downright mean. Two days before his 40th birthday, Russell is visited by Rusty (Spencer Breslin), the eight-year-old incarnation of himself, who is disappointed when he finds out how his life turned out. Willis does a fine job holding his own next to the pudgy, lisping, and very cute Breslin. Lily Tomlin is seriously undercast as Willis' long-suffering secretary, but then, she'd be undercast as anything other than her fabulous comic self. The film is really about the pains of childhood that lead each of us to become the people that fell short of our dreams. There is nothing offensive in the film, but if you take your kids be prepared to explain a lot. It is far more of an adult film than a child's. The time traveling concept makes for a complicated plot that only exacerbates the problem. Don't go expecting a great coming of age film, just keep your average Hollywood expectations with you and you will be pleasantly entertained. -- AL

Citadel Terrace; Tinseltown; Chapel Hills

*Chicken Run (G)

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. -- Cole Smithey

Tinseltown; Chapel Hills; Academy Station 6; Citadel Terrace

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. -- 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 See full review.-- KCE

Chapel Hills; Tinseltown; Citadel Terrace

*High Fidelity (R)

High Fidelity is based on the 1996 Nick Hornby novel of the same name that follows Rob (John Cusack), a thirty-something owner of a record store who begins a small and delightful odyssey to find his former girlfriends and find out what went wrong with their relationships. The film is blessed with subtle screenwriting and strong performances. Cusack as Rob is funny, self-deprecating, immature but loveable. Rob talks directly to the camera, which has the effect of translating the sensibility of the novel to the screen. Meanwhile beautiful Iben Hjejle, who plays Rob's ex-girlfriend Laura, delivers an understated performance as the girl who has grown up while her boyfriend has not. Working in Rob's store is Dick (Jack Black), the arrogant bastard who will fight you tooth and nail over whether a song title begins with a "the," while his counterpart is the insanely shy Barry, beautifully rendered by Todd Louiso. See full review.-- AL


*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

Silver Cinemas

*Love & Basketball (PG-13)

First time writer/director Gina Prince-Bythwood has created a delightful film that mixes young love with good old fashioned sports rivalry. Love and Basketball is a lovely falling-in-love-with-the-boy-next-door movie, energized by a great dose of Title IX. Sanaa Lathan's Monica is tough and driven and far from perfect, but her obvious passion for basketball, and her attraction to Quincy (Omar Epps) are very compelling. There were numerous small moments in the film that were absolute treasures, not least of which was the first really erotic scene I can remember in a Hollywood film where the teenage participants used a condom. If you're not afraid of some explicitly sexual situations, I'd definitely recommend taking your daughter, or your son, to this one. It is a wonderful love story, but also a great view of the complex relationships between men and women who want the same thing. Basketball See full review.-- AL

Silver Cinemas

Me, Myself and Irene (R)

Tinseltown; Carmike 10; Academy Station 6; Chapel Hills

*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; Chapel Hills

The Patriot (R)

The Patriot is a concept movie surprisingly similar to director Ridley Scott's Gladiator. Both films run over two and a half hours long and carry a tried-and-true formula: national freedom by way of revenge over brutally murderedfamily members.Clunky script devices continually squeak and rattle throughout the movie. And the film's pitiful attempt at black and white race relation revisionism is glaring. By watching this film for historical context, an audience gets no sense of the tensions that sent this country into civil war not so long after the end of the Revolutionary War. The Patriot is a Mel Gibson movie. Screenwriter Robert Rodat bows reverently to The Patriot's leading character with radiant attention. Gibson is a perfect choice for Rodat's amalgamated war hero because he embodies a Humphrey Bogart style of acting craftsmanship that obscures things like any inkling that he could hail from the south. Gibson can perfectly walk a tightrope over any dramatic context with artless skill. The Patriot is an uncomfortably smooth ride over mixed terrain of emotional posturing, flashy action sequences and cultural misrepresentation. See full review.--

Chapel Hills, Tinseltown, Kimball's Twin Peak, Academy Station 6; Carmike 10

*The Perfect Storm (PG-13)

The summer's first blockbuster, The Perfect Storm turns out to be a wash. While there are plenty of white-knuckle moments, the film's stolid attempts at inciting reverence for the famed crew of the Gloucester fishing vessel, the Andrea Gail, tend to throw a wet blanket over the compelling true life events memorably recounted by Sebastian Junger in his bestselling book. Director Wolfgang Petersen's clunky manner of making this obvious point feels heavy-handed and artificial. Better to tell the story through the characters and the natural elements -- a feat at which Petersen and crew only partly succeed. The special effects are fun, especially the computer-generated giant swells, but they are less than awe-inspiring. Some of the best moments in The Perfect Storm are perfunctory ones that illustrate with realistic detail the rough, gory nature of commercial fishing. Petersen's direction shines in these small moments. An editor could have done wonders with the film, but unfortunately we're stuck with what we've got -- a few spectacular scenes and some strong performances mish-mashed with too much forced solemnity and enough clichs to gag a whale. The Perfect Storm is well worth seeing, but it's far from perfect. See full review.-- KCE

Kimball's Twin Peak, Carmike 10, Tinseltown; Chapel Hills, Academy Station 6; Gold Hill Theaters

*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

Scary Movie (R)

Tiffany Square; Academy Station 6; Carmike 10; Tinseltown

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. The story is set after Earth is destroyed by vicious aliens. Cale, one of Earth's few surviving humans, is a youth now working as a second-class minority. He is recruited by a manipulative peer of his father to help locate the Titan, a giant spaceship that holds the secret to salvation of the human race. To say "you know what happens next" would be a vast understatement. 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 Smithey

Tinseltown; 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


A Little Romance (PG)

Laurence Olivier plays an ex-con/chaperone to an American girl (Sally Kellerman) and a French boy who run away to Venice, hoping to kiss under the Bridge of Sighs. Academy Award-winning score. Followed by a discussion with G film critic Warren Epstein.

PPCC downtown campus, 100 W. Pikes Peak, 540-7224. Part of the Love at the Movies series. $10. Reservations required. Thurs., July 13, 1:30 p.m.

Sunset Boulevard (not rated)

Gloria Swanson in her famous role of a faded silent screen star attempting her comeback with her "kept man", a hack screenwriter. Academy Award-winning black comedy with William Holden, Buster Keaton, Anna Q. Nilsson, Cecil B. DeMille. Directed by Billy Wilder.

Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St. $2.75, 634-5583. Tues., July 11, 7:30 p.m.

X-Men (PG-13)

Adapted from the Marvel comic, with Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier, Sir Ian McKellen as Magneto, Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, James Marsden as Cyclops, Halle Berry as Storm and Anna Paquin as Rogue.

Academy Station 6; Tinseltown; Chapel Hills; Carmike 10


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