Movie Picks 

About a Boy (PG-13)
Hugh Grant enjoys the best role of his career as Will Freeman, a 38-year-old Londoner and self-admitted hedonist who poses as a single parent in order to pick up women. When Will meets Marcus, the 12-year-old son of depressed Fiona (Toni Collette), the adolescent grown-up and the grown-up adolescent bond. While Will searches for love, in spite of his contention that "every man is an island," Marcus searches for security in a world where his mother is habitually suicidal and his schoolmates are insufferable bullies. Eventually, in a story that could have been maudlin and perfunctory, each of them finds what they're looking for as their friendship grows. Nicholas Hoult's Marcus is thoroughly engaging and Grant's Will is made irresistible by exposing his faults with sheer abandon. The material supercedes Grant's usual fumbling and bumbling, providing him with an abundance of memorable lines, delivered with agility. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Changing Lanes (R)
Changing Lanes isn't a masterpiece of filmmaking -- and its answers come a little bit too easily -- but for a product of the Hollywood studio system, it does a much better job than most at showing the moral ambiguity and complexity possible in one crazy, messed up, very bad day. Both Ben Affleck and Samuel L Jackson are strong in the film, although Jackson outshines the newbie by quite a margin, and a compelling supporting cast backs them up. -- Andrea Lucard

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Enough (PG-13)
See full review, page 37.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Insomnia (R)
See full review, page 36.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Kimball's Twin Peak, Tinseltown

The New Guy (PG-13)
After a few years of being the "uncool kid," a high school student (played by DJ Qualls) gets himself expelled and ends up in prison. While there, his cellmate gives him some tips on how to remake his image. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Scorpion King (PG-13)
Action/horror film about a peasant in ancient Egypt who exacts revenge on a marauding army who pillaged his village ... and eventually becomes known as the Scorpion King, the First Pharoah of Egypt. -- Not reviewed


Spider-Man (PG-13)
One of this movie's central moral taglines is: "With great power comes great responsibility." Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson) passes along ye olde wisdom as Peter (Tobey Maguire) begins to discover his superpowers after being bitten by a genetically mutated spider (you know the story, hopefully). It's fine and dandy to ask superheroes to uphold this axiom, but how about studio executives, producers and directors? From the script to the editing and acting, everything is just ... just so enh. Computer effects have rendered the charming reality of human error obsolete, making this film feel just too sterile. There are some clever cameos and campy nods to film history, but unfortunately, overall Spider-Man just doesn't pack a punch. Pow. Bam. -- Noel Black

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Cinemark IMAX Theater, Tinseltown

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (G)
Matt Damon narrates this story of an untamed horse in the wild West, who's captured by the cavalry, broken and becomes a mount. Told from the viewpoint of the horse. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (PG)
Why dally with the finer points of the plot when we all know the shadowy fate of the entire cast. Fact is, The Phantom Menace may just have been a really big-budget setup for the payoff that's just beginning to unfold in Attack of the Clones. And believe it or not, there are enough brilliant plot twists and "historical" explanations of characters and plot points in the later (previous?) episodes to keep your head spinning. The acting's perfectly two-dimensional for a fantasy adventure. The architectural artwork on the hyper-urban galaxy capital Coruscant is ga-ga, grey and brooding. Plus there's plenty of unbelievably non-digital-looking digital action that strips away the schlocky look that plagued The Phantom Menace. Simply put: smarts and imagination at their best. -- Noel Black

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Unfaithful (R)
Diane Lane delivers the most accomplished, nuanced performance of her long career as Connie Sumner, a well-heeled Westchester housewife who spends her days taking care of her quirky little son and doting on her husband Ed (Richard Gere), until she literally crashes into Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez), a sexy SoHo book dealer who soon becomes her paramour. Connies's simultaneous ecstasy and anguish are played out in an astonishing solo scene on the train home where she wiggles in her seat, recalling her first tryst with Paul, acting with only facial expressions. Lane is compelling in every scene and Martinez is intriguing as her lover -- attentive, smart, gorgeous and composed. But Director Adrian Lyne wants us to hate Connie and Paul's affair -- all of it -- so he sets us up for the inevitable disaster. We are supposed to accept that the infidels deserve Ed's wrath, no matter how extreme. Ed is not left to wrestle with the moral and emotional complications of infidelity; he simply acts. The first half of Unfaithful is unflinchingly adult and complicated and the second half attempts to wrap it all up in a neat, little moralizing package. The result is both frustrating and unsatisfying. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown


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