Movie Picks 

click to enlarge Leonor Watling as Alicia in Talk to Her, opening this week at Kimballs Twin Peak
  • Leonor Watling as Alicia in Talk to Her, opening this week at Kimballs Twin Peak

*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

*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

Cradle 2: The Grave (R)
See full review, page 22.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

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; 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 LA cop during the Rodney King riots. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

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

Tinseltown, Carmike 10

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. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

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

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, Tinseltown

*Old School (R)
To my complete dismay, Old School -- which chronicles the birth of a fraternity unshackled by traditional boundaries of age, class or college enrollment -- managed to make me snort and guffaw through most of its 91 minutes. There's hardly an original laugh in the film, but it hardly matters. When a hairy and slightly out of shape fuddy-duddy, played by Will Ferrell, streaks down main street after a keg stand, it's funny. Old School is about the perennial desire to eschew adulthood. It's a piece of testosterone power propaganda that works, largely due to director Todd Phillips' knack for physical gags and the solid performances of the male leads, Ferrell, Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn. -- John Dicker

Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

*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 his 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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