Movie Picks 

click to enlarge Damian Lewis faces Mr. Gray in  Dreamcatcher
  • Damian Lewis faces Mr. Gray in Dreamcatcher

Agent Cody Banks (PG)
Young Frankie Muniz (TV's Malcolm, as in the middle) plays a run-of-the-mill kid who is chosen by government agents to become a special agent. Sounds like Spy Kids meets Dobie Gillis. Aimed at the 12- to 13-year old set. Expect lots of cool gadgets. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

Boat Trip (R)
Cuba Gooding Jr. in drag on a cruise ship, trying to pick up chicks. Aye, chihuahua. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

Bringing Down the House (PG-13)
Steve Martin plays a successful tax attorney who has neglected his personal life, causing his wife (Jean Smart) to walk out on him with the kids. Despairing, he turns to the personals and calls on a woman who appears to share his interest in the law. She turns out to be Charlene (Queen Latifah), a conniving ex-con who wants his legal representation and descends on his household. Eugene Levy is Howie, a friend who becomes enamored of the black goddess in his lily white friend's life. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills

*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

Cinemark 16; Tinseltown

Dreamcatcher (R)
See full review, page 32

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (PG-13)
Should be titled "How to ruin your reputation as an actor in two hours." Kate Hudson does cute 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 stinker. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark 16

The Hunted (R)
William Friedkin (Rules of Engagement) directs this thriller about an FBI deep woods tracker hunting a trained assassin who's made a sport of hunting humans. Together at last, the two actors with the most tortured under-eye bags in Hollywood: Benicio Del Toro and Tommy Lee Jones. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, 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

Cinemark 16

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, Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

*The Pianist (R)
Winner of the Oscar for Best Actor (Adrien Brody), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Director (Roman Polanski). 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 (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. -- John Dicker


Piglet's Big Movie (G)
Pooh's stuttering little pink friend gets his (her?) very own movie. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, Chapel Hills, Tinseltown

*Rabbit-Proof Fence (PG-13)
See full review page 30

Kimball's Twin Peak

*The Quiet American (R)
A gentle, respectful retelling of Graham Grene'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

*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.

Chapel Hills, Cinemark 16

Space Station (NR) In IMAX 3D
See what it's like up there, floating in space millions of miles away. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark IMAX

*Talk to Her (R)
Director/screenwriter Pedro Almodovar took home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for this unique concoction of eroticized male friendship, grief and pathology. Almodovar's unique knack for crafting tragic love stories with a visual style all his own is on full display here. -- John Dicker

Kimball's Twin Peak

Tears of the Sun (R)
Tears of the Sun reminds us how desperately we need honest movies that address complex moral issues, and how much we don't need another Rambo, even a well-intentioned one like this military rescue flick directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day). Bruce Willis stars as Navy SEALS Lt. A.K. Waters, charged along with his crack unit to enter Nigeria, which is under a military coup, and rescue American Dr. Lena Kendricks (Monica Bellucci). Attempting to meld two noble stories -- one, the intense human suffering on the African continent; two, the daring of military Special Forces soldiers -- Fuqua has created an overblown Hollywood production based on a false premise that simultaneously trivializes the suffering in Africa and mythologizes a military mission that never took place, stretching the bounds of credibility while manipulating its audience shamelessly. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills

View From the Top (PG-13)
See full review, 31

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, Chapel Hills, Tinseltown


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