Movie Picks 

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Films recommended by our reviewers are indicated by an *.

Films that do not appear here have not yet been screened by our reviewers.

*Amores Perros (R)
Rougly translated "Love's a Bitch," this debut film by 37-year-old Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is a startling, gritty exploration of love, loyalty and betrayal. Mildly reminiscent of Steven Soderbergh's Traffic in its use of parallel story lines to explore a theme, Amores Perros is superior to that film because the emotional content is so genuine, so real. It's a shocking but deeply moral film, unlike another of its stylish predecessors, Pulp Fiction. We are meant to experience a slice of life as it might actually occur, including the surreal circumstances that draw us all together as flawed, vulnerable humans, looking for love and stumbling through the potential pitfalls. See full review. -- KCE

Kimball's Twin Peak

The Animal (PG-13)
As I watched The Animal, what kept coming to mind was the tired phrase: "the dumbing down of America." Rob Schneider plays a loser policeman whose life turns around when he's saved from a car wreck by a mad scientist who pieces his body back together with parts made from animal DNA. Suddenly, he's got new animalistic abilities as a secret weapon and he's a real standout guy. Moronic and uninspired, this film has all the comedic value of a monkey in a ballet dress juggling beach balls. See full review. -- Patton Dodd


Angel Eyes (R)
So little actually happens in this sometimes mesmerizing, mostly boring little movie that it's hard to recall many specific scenes. The viewer waits through one gorgeous scenario after another -- Jennifer Lopez as tough cop Sharon reclining alone on her bed late at night, strapped into a bulletproof vest, Sharon and love interest Catch swimming beneath the moonlight in a glittering watering hole -- hoping for a plot to unfold. Lopez and Jim Caviezel as Catch are both so attractive that the camera-lingering aspects of the film are quite pleasant, but a missing plot essentially means death to a movie that dwells in the land of gritty reality. See full review. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

*Blow (R)
Part social portrait and part biopic, Blow plays like an essential predecessor to Steven Soderbergh's Traffic. Johnny Depp gives a spellbindingly naturalistic performance as George Jung, the real-life main character whose alliance with the Colombian cocaine cartels during the '70s and '80s landed him behind bars for drug trafficking. Director Ted Demme puts a sympathetic face on an intensely individualistic man whose propensities for crime brought him immense riches but eventually cost him everything he cared about. See full review. -- Cole Smithey

Silver Cinemas

*Chocolat (PG-13)
This latest endeavor by director Lasse Hallstrom (My Life as a Dog, Cider House Rules) is a charming little movie that follows the story of Vianne (Juliette Binoche), a free-spirited single mother who, along with her daughter Anouk (Victoire Thivisol) blows into a small French town in the 1950s. The actors in the film are quite delightful, if cast and costumed in the most stereotypical melodramatic ways. Johnny Depp is delicious as the romantic leading man, Judi Dench is her usual subtle and magnificent self as a crotchety landlady and abandoned grandmother, and Carrie-Anne Moss radiates betrayal and hurt as her widowed daughter. See full review. -- AL

Silver Cinemas

Evolution (PG-13)
The setup for Evolution is one big fat clich: Extra terrestrials are preparing to take over the world, and two wisecracking professors are the only ones who can do anything about it. Comedy ensues. Sadly but not surprisingly, it's only a poor approximation of comedy, as formulaic and worn as a presidential campaign, only not as funny. See full review. -- Patton Dodd

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills

A Knight's Tale (PG-13)
A silly, light-weight medieval tale set largely in the jousting ring, with combat scenes so innocuous that the clashing of lances at high speed is visually digestible, even for the sensitive viewer. Starring babe/boy Heath Ledger. See full review. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

*Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (PG-13)
We're supposed to hate this movie. By nearly all critical accounts, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is dull and clich-ridden. But I had loads of fun watching this picture. Lara Croft is a young, single heiress who's regularly called upon to save the universe. She spends her days training for battle in her massive castle, fighting off dummy cyborgs and practicing insanely dangerous acrobatic stunts. We don't really know where she came from or why she's so militaristic. What we do know is that she kicks ass, and that's all that matters. See full review. -- Patton Dodd

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Memento (R)
Directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Guy Pearce, Memento is a startling murder mystery in the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock, and a bundle of promise for everything that follows from Nolan. The story: Leonard Shelby (Pearce) lost his wife in a brutal murder/rape, and with the police uninvolved, is determined to solve the crime himself. But he's severely handicapped: Due to brain damage suffered while fighting his wife's attacker, he can remember everything that happened prior to the accident, but everything since is forgotten -- over and over again. The most strategic device in the film is an inverted timeline. The story begins at the end and works backward, giving us -- and Leonard -- tiny clues to discover how the tumultuous plot pieces together. We experience Leonard's frustration; like him, we have no memory of what has come before. You have to promise to see this movie. Memento is inventive, compelling, and worth seeing twice. See full review. -- Patton Dodd

Kimball's Twin Peak

*Moulin Rouge (PG-13)
What a glorious mess! Aussie director Baz Luhrmann once again pulls out the stops, creating a film universe that is sodden with color and immersed in song. A viewer may feel he's missing half the film, there's so much to see, but everything eventually sinks in. Ewan McGregor plays Christian, a young penniless poet from the countryside. Nicole Kidman plays Satine, star of the Moulin Rouge stage and famed courtesan, who dreams of being a real actress. Elaborate sets, combined with Luhrmann's manic visual style, keep the eye busy with almost more than it can handle, but to accuse Moulin Rouge of excess is a little like saying the sun is too bright, the rain too wet. See full review. -- KCE

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*O Brother, Where Art Thou? (PG-13)
God love the Coen brothers. What kind of mind imagines Homer's Odyssey set in Depression-era rural Mississippi? This funny, slight idea is lovingly and solidly conceived and executed. George Clooney is pitch perfect as Ulysses Everett McGill, a smart-talking, slick-looking con man who breaks away from a penal farm chain gang and drags along the two guys who happen to be hooked up to him on either side -- dour Pete (John Turturro) and hapless Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson). The Coens create a perfectly imagined universe, inhabited by fiends and angels of all sorts. Tim Blake Nelson's performance is as sweet and friendly as a good old hound dog. Best musical soundtrack of last year. See full review. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

Pearl Harbor (PG-13)
A bald-faced exploitation flick, preying on our nation's collective if fuzzy memory of being attacked, faulty in its historic re-creation, insipid in its lame, manipulative love story, and embarrassingly vapid in its telling of one of the critical military attacks of the 20th century. The outstanding computer-generated special effects serve only to desensitize the audience: The carnage of the "date that will live in infamy" never seems real or human. Character development in this overly long and sentimental love/war story is non-existent. The heroes played by Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett merely spout lines borrowed from vintage World War II dramas while posturing through their love triangle with the lovely Kate Beckinsale. See full review. -- KCE

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Shrek (PG)
See full review.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Swordfish (R)
This action heist movie makes cyberspace and theft look glamorous. Uber bad guy Gabriel Shear (John Travolta) convinces good guy superhacker Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman) to help him steal billions of dollars in illegal government funds (code-named "Swordfish") to finance a ruthless anti-terrorism unit. Bullets fly, explosions rock and unexpected objects take flight as cops and politicians crumble beneath intense action. One of the unforeseen arrivals in Swordfish is a return to sex and nudity as an essential element of the gritty, urbane nature of the action thriller. Of course, it's the entertainment trapping that they're after and there's no denying that it does spice up the rigmarole of the big action stunts. Good pacing and intriguing characters drive an overflowing testosterone blitz to an above-average level of fun. See full review. -- Cole Smithey

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown


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