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Movie Picks 

40 Days and 40 Nights (R)
I admit it. I laughed at a bunch of the raunchy one-liners in this lightweight sex comedy. Then, in retrospect, I got really disgusted with myself. It was like eating one of those gigantic Nestle Crunch bars in a darkened theater and feeling sick afterward. How could I have enjoyed this film? Everyone in it is a self-centered, superficial prick. All the women are objectified. When the 40 days are up and Josh Hartnett and Shannyn Sossamon finally get it on -- did I mention that the film's central conceit is Josh's vow of celibacy for Lent? -- well, you just kind of feel sorry for her. Then you just want to go home and throw up. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Amlie (R)
Screen grabber Audrey Tautou plays the winsomely beautiful and impish Amlie who has an overwhelming urge to help mankind by bringing lonely people together and healing the wounds of those hurt in love. The film's many subplots are endearing but her cat-and-mouse game with her own love interest -- designed to show us the emotional toll of her damaged heart -- is ultimately annoying and overly diverting. Altogether, Amlie is a pleasant confection, stylishly filmed and nicely acted. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Kimball's Twin Peak Theater

*A Beautiful Mind (PG-13)
With this film, director Ron Howard honors the kind of intellect that has long fascinated him. Who else would see the sexiness and intrigue of a Princeton graduate student who scribbles mathematical equations on the leaded glass windows of his dorm room? Russell Crowe seems born to play the part of Nobel Prizewinning mathematician John Nash who happens to be schizophrenic. And the beautiful Jennifer Connelly gets her breakthrough role here as Alicia, the physics graduate student who will eventually become Nash's wife, more than holding her own against Crowe's formidable presence. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Big Fat Liar (PG)
A big fat nothing starring Frankie Moontz of TV's Malcolm in the Middle.

Chapel Hills

Blade 2: Bloodhunt (R)
Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson return as Blade and Whistler, vampire hunters who form an unlikely alliance with the bloodsuckers in order to stop a new blood virus from turning them all into mutant vampires. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Count of Monte Cristo (PG-13)
Aside from noting that I expected a great deal more from a film with both Guy Pearce (the man behind the brilliantly acted chronic-amnesia case in Memento) and James Caviezel (the introspective and nature-loving philosophical naf in Terence Mallick's war epic The Thin Red Line), there's not much to say about Kevin Reynolds' adaptation of Alexander Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo other than it's entertaining ... and you may want to wait for it to come out on video. -- Noel Black

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

E.T. (PG)
See full review, page 28.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Ice Age (PG)
Alongside its immaculate blending of captivating vocal characterizations by a group of superbly talented actors (Ray Romano is Manny, a giant woolly mammoth; John Leguizamo is the hyperactive sloth, Sid, and Dennis Leary of The Job is the voice of Diego, a wily feline predator), Ice Age triumphs by eschewing the inside adult humor that infiltrates so many other animated children's movies. Where movies like Shrek attempt to cater to adult audiences with not-so-subtle sexual innuendo and overloaded pop-culture cross-referencing, Ice Age stays the course of its genre's Bugs Bunny slapstick humor. Although the actors recorded their parts separately, there's chemistry between the cartoon characters that plays like a symphony of toy instruments playing a well-rehearsed Duke Ellington tune. -- Cole Smithey

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Iris (R)
Iris is a moving film about the destruction wrought by Alzheimer's disease. It is a portrait of a man who watches the woman he has loved for her feistiness and vitality lose all grounding in her former self. It is a partial lens into old age and old marriage, of illness and loss of dignity, of fear and of surrender. It is less a film about Iris Murdoch, so don't go expecting to learn much about her life and writing. Kate Winslet and Hugh Bonneville turn out fine performances as the young couple, but the acting honors go to Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent, who both do an excellent job of showing life in its declining years. -- Andrea Lucard

Kimball's Twin Peak

John Q (PG-13)
When a hospital won't perform a heart transplant on a young boy, his father, played by Denzel Washington, takes the hospital staff hostage. -- Not reviewed

Tinseltown

*Lantana (R)
This Australian film directed by Ray Lawrence is not a thriller, in spite of its central mystery -- the discovery of the dead body of an unidentified woman. It's a psychological drama about adult relationships, loyalty, grief, infidelity, disillusionment, existential crisis and, of course, love. Lantana shows us people as they really live -- on the surface, going through the motions, their sorrow deeply buried. Eventually, as in the much longer and messier American film Magnolia, all of the characters' lives intersect at the edges, and eventually we find out which woman ends up dead. All the while, we are treated to superb acting, intelligent dialogue, an intriguing plot, fetching camera work and subtle direction. Lantana refreshes the viewer with its emotional honesty and entertains with real visual flair. It's an accomplished adult film with people of substance at its core -- a rarity in current cinema. Highly recommended. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Kimball's Twin Peak Theater

*Lord of the Rings (PG-13)
Director Peter Jackson makes brilliant use of the camera to enhance the action, and the sets, costumes and digital animation speak for themselves magnificently in this triumphant film adaptation of the Tolkien classic. The acting suspends disbelief for all but a few moments. Let the fanatics hash out the discrepancies with the book in their chat rooms. Peter Jackson did it. And this film is cool. Very cool. -- Noel Black

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Resident Evil (R)
A mansion is infested with zombies and monsters and a special military unit is dispatched to stop the evil from spreading. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Return to Neverland (G)
Peter Pan returns to battle Captain Hook after he kidnaps the daughter of Wendy in this Disney sequel. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Rookie (G)
Based on the true story of high school science teacher and baseball

coach Jim Morris, who joins the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the age of 35 after making a deal with his high school team: If they make the playoffs, he'll try out for the major league. Starring Dennis Quaid and Rachel Griffiths. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Showtime (PG-13)
This spoof of buddy cop movies stars Robert De Niro as Mitch and Eddie Murphy as Trey, two very different police officers who are forced to work together, as stars of a new reality-based TV show. Also starring Rene Russo. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Sorority Boys (R)
When three rowdy college seniors get kicked out of their frat house, they decide to dress in drag and join the Delta Omicron Gamma (DOG) sorority house, the refuge of girls deemed unattractive by other sororities. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Time Machine (PG-13)
The problem with this film certainly wasn't with the plot; more than a hundred years after it was written, the story of a promising young scientist who invents a time machine to go back into the past to avert a terrible tragedy is still compelling. The special effects, which admittedly made several fabulous moments possible, were just plain annoying. Perhaps special effects capabilities at a particularly weird juncture -- so good to be almost believable, but still just slightly off. That said, The Time Machine still offers some perfectly fine entertainment value: The acting is solid, the story is good, the inventions of the future are interesting. There's enough in this film to keep you well occupied for a dense 90 minutes. And most days, that's good enough. -- Andrea Lucard

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

A Walk to Remember (PG-13)
In which Britney Spears memorializes her innocence and virginity.

Chapel Hills

We Were Soldiers (R)
The true story of 450 U.S. soldiers, early in the Vietnam War, who became surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese in the Ia Drang Valley, in what became the first major battle of the extended conflict. Starring Mel Gibson Sam Elliott, Clark Gregg, Greg Kinnear. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

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