Movie Picks 

click to enlarge David Gale (Kevin Spacey) is a respected professor who is trying to put his life in together in the Life of David Gale.
  • David Gale (Kevin Spacey) is a respected professor who is trying to put his life in together in the Life of David Gale.

*About Schmidt (R)
The story of a browbeaten insurance salesman rendered with loving disenchantment by Jack Nicholson. The role is new territory for Nicholson -- easily his most interesting film since the sexual dramas of the '70s. It's a prime pick of an otherwise unremarkable Academy Award homestretch. -- John Dicker

Cinemark 16

*Catch Me If You Can (PG-13)
From its stylish, animated opening credits to its peppy John Williams score, Catch Me If You Can exudes the innocence that colors many Spielberg efforts. The central character, Frank Abagnale Jr., is a notorious con man portrayed as a boy wonder, a Spielbergian creation enamored of life's endless possibilities, played pitch-perfectly by Leonardo DiCaprio, -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark 16

*Chicago (PG-13)
Directed by musical theater veteran Rob Marshall, Chicago's social commentary is biting and apt if slightly clichd: Fame is fleeting; the media is fickle. Catherine Zeta-Jones is cold and powerful as Velma Kelley, a hoofer with a heart of steel. Her singing is top-notch and her dancing is lurid and assured. Rene Zellweger gives it her all as Roxie Hart, but her singing pales next to Zeta-Jones and supporting star Queen Latifah. Richard Gere is suitably smarmy as attorney Billy Flynn and John C. Reilly is Chicago's most pleasant surprise, turning in a tour de force performance as Roxie Hart's hapless and devoted husband Amos. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Tinseltown, Chapel Hills

Daredevil (PG-13)
Ben Affleck and TV hottie Jennifer Garner in tight leather jumpsuits get all excited and do dangerous things together. -- Not reviewed

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

Dark Blue (R)
Kurt Russell flexes his jaw and proves he's as agile as his life partner Goldie Hawn in this flick about a hardened, over-the-top cop.

Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

Darkness Falls (PG-13)
A mysterious dead woman, a lighthouse, a boy who draws disturbing pictures, a murdered mother and the legend of a tooth fairy who comes back and visits. A horror flick in the tradition of The Ring. -- Not reviewed


Deliver Us From Eva (R)
Three men pay ladies' man LL Cool J $5K to go out with their annoying sister-in-law Eva (Gabrielle Union). Do sparks fly or does chemistry prevail? -- Not reviewed


Final Destination 2 (R)
Sequel to the 2000 supernatural thriller, in which a young girl, Clear Rivers (Ali Lauter) can foresee harrowing events. -- Not reviewed

Tinseltown, Carmike 10

Gangs of New York (R)
Martin Scorsese's epic historic fantasy of the "hands that built America" is a mesmerizing, bloody slog through the mean streets of mid-19th century New York City. As a spectacle, it works. As a coherent statement about the conflicting elements that built a neighborhood, a city and ultimately a nation, it fails. A revenge drama, it comes equipped with the requisite characters and plot -- slain her0 (Liam Neeson), villain/face of evil (Daniel Day-Lewis), avenging son (Leonardo DiCaprio), with a pretty damsel (Cameron Diaz) thrown in for good measure. DiCaprio is barely adequate as a scrappy street fighter turned revolutionary, and his character is grossly overshadowed by the psychotic freak show that is Day-Lewis' performance as Bill the Butcher. Ultimately, Gangs is beautiful, bloody, confusing altogether overwhelming. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills

Gods and Generals (PG-13)
Robert Duvall stars as Gen. Robert E. Lee in this Civil War epic based on the best-selling novel. Directed by Ronald F. Maxwell (Gettysburgh); also stars Jeff Daniels.

Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

*The Hours (PG-13)
How to turn Michael Cunningham's introspective novel The Hours into a cinematic piece that wouldn't put audiences to sleep? That was the challenge of Brit director Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) who made the brilliant choice of hiring David Hare to write the screenplay and cast Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep in the three lead roles. Moore is Laura Brown, a disaffected 1950s housewife and mother. Streep is Clarissa, a New York book agent coming to grips with the certain demise of her former lover (Ed Harris), a poet dying of AIDS. Nicole Kidman is author Virginia Woolf in the 1920s, wasting away in the suburbs of London under the watchful eye of husband Leonard (Stephen Dillane). Woolf's book Mrs. Dalloway, depicting a woman's entire life in one day, is the literary thread that ties them all together. One of the best films of 2002. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark 16

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (PG-13)
Should be titled "How to ruin your reputation as an actor." Kate Hudson does cue so cutely you want to spank her and Matthew McConaughey overacts so severely that his tongue literally flies from his mouth. A formulaic romantic comedy that is all formula and no romance, How to Lose a Guy is yet another in a long line of frothy set pieces for attractive so-called actors. The best thing in the movie is the yellow dress Hudson wears in the climactic ballroom scene. But, hey, you've seen it already in the extensive ad campaign the studio has waged to sell this Valentine's month stinker. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Jungle Book 2 (G)
Mowgli, Mowgli, Mowgli Mowgli, Mowgli ! The first and possibly only G-rated film of 2003. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16; Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

Kangaroo Jack (PG)
A musician and his childhood friend, a New York hairstylist, get mixed up with the mob and must go to Australia to deliver $100,000. They're put to the test when a kangaroo runs off with the money. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Life of David Gale (R)
A death row suspense thriller starring Kevin Spacey as a prisoner awaiting his execution. Kate Winslet is the journalist who must prove his innocence before the curtain falls. Also stars Laura Linney. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

The Lion King (G)
Disney re-releases this well-loved animated tale to IMAX large-format theaters. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark IMAX Theater

*The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (PG-13)
Peter Jackson's The Two Towers is the best film about hobbits, elves, orcs and wizards since last year's Fellowship of the Ring. But seriously, Jackson does a masterful job of stitching together three separate plots and though the story itself doesn't advance much, it almost sustains its three-hour length. Jackson's strength in The Two Towers is combining a visual realization of Middle Earth's inhabitants, and utilizing the New Zealand landscapes to instill a sense of pending dread and ephemeral beauty. -- John Dicker

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Cinemark IMAX, Tinseltown

Old School (R)
See full review, page 28

Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

*The Pianist (R)
Director Roman Polanski shows that the Holocaust is more astonishing in its frankness than in its febrile grandeur in this near masterpiece. The Pianist tells the story of a Polish-Jewish pianist (Adrien Brody) who spends World War II fleeing German soldiers in the Warsaw ghetto, where he and his well-to-do family suffer a host of indignities while struggling to stave off nihilism and despair. Brody's survivor, in keeping with the film's fine restraint, is not necessarily a martyr, but merely a witness to the depravity of human nature. Nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. -- John Dicker

Kimball's Twin Peak; Cinemark 16

*The Quiet American (R)
A gentle, respectful retelling of Graham Greene's classic 1955 novel. Michael Caine is heartbreaking as British journalist Thomas Fowler -- a man who sees a way of life disappearing around him as he approaches old age. Brendan Fraser is particularly adept as a young American in Saigon, idealistic, clumsy and out of place, playing the role with deliberate physicality. The Quiet American is a quiet and lovely film, anchored by a delicate friendship, and colored by the foreshadowing of world-changing events. The quasi-historic text has much resonance in today's edgy political times. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Kimball's Twin Peak

The Recruit PG-13)
Al Pacino is a hardened CIA operative, training an idealistic young agent (Colin Farrell) to always look over his shoulder - even at the pretty girl he's falling in love with. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown, Chapel Hills

*Shanghai Knights (PG-13)
Our reviewer Cole Smithey calls it an improvement on Shanghai Noon, an extended martial arts romp for Chan through the streets of London and a terrific buddy flick. Starring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown


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