Movie Picks 

click to enlarge L-R, KIERSTON WARREN, ASHLEY JUDD, JACQUELINE McKENZIE and KATY SELVERSTONE in Warner Bros. Pictures and Gaylord Films comedy /Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
  • L-R, KIERSTON WARREN, ASHLEY JUDD, JACQUELINE McKENZIE and KATY SELVERSTONE in Warner Bros. Pictures and Gaylord Films comedy /Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

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

Enough (R)
Disguised as a feminist revenge flick in which a battered woman is empowered to fight back at her abuser, Enough disintegrates into a martial arts showcase with enough graphic violence to make any feminist -- male or female -- queasy. Slick Hollywood production values combine with big name (Jennifer Lopez) star power here, resulting in a cinematic kickboxing fest with little socially redeeming value in spite of its very pertinent theme. J-Lo demonstrates her physical agility but little of her often captivating acting ability. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Cinema Latino, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Insomnia (R)
Director Christopher Nolan's follow-up to last year's Memento is a fairly standard police thriller with spectacular scenery, some intriguing plot twists and a memorable protagonist in Al Pacino's world-weary police detective Will Dormer. Dormer and his partner have traveled to Alaska to help investigate the murder of a local girl. When a cop is fallen by a bullet in a foggy shootout, the plot unfolds. Robin Williams is tolerable as a local true-crime who was a friend of the murdered girl. Some nice cat and mouse scenes, but the real entertainment is in Pacino's determined, steady performance. A remake of a 1998 Norwegian film, Insomnia is brooding, atmospheric and well told. -- Kathryn Eastburn

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, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*The Salton Sea (R)
See full review, page 25.

Kimball's Twin Peak

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

Cinema Latino

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, Cinema Latino

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, Cinema Latino

*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, Cinema Latino

The Sum of All Fears (PG-13)
Another film adaptation of one of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan novels (Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger). Terrorists threaten to bomb the Superbowl, and Ryan (Ben Affleck) and the CIA director (Morgan Freeman) must act fast to stop what could possibly turn into nuclear holocaust. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Undercover Brother (PG-13)
See full review, page 25.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Y Tu Mama Tambien (R)
Like Amore Perros (now of video and DVD), Y Tu Mama takes an empathetic but unflinching look at the complexities of Mexican society and succeds by doing it through a timeless and sexually complex coming-of-age story. Masterfully executed are the highly charged and erotically explicit sex scenes that crack open every taboo in the book including premature ejaculation, homosexuality and having sex with your best friend's girlfriend, "y tu mama tambien," ... and your mother too. -- Noel Black

Cinema Latino -- in Spanish with no English subtitles


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