Movie Picks 

click to enlarge Publishing magnate Theodore Banner (50s/60s romantic comedy icon Tony Randall) is flanked by the two women responsible for his firms most recent best-seller, Down with Love: author Barbara Novak (Renee Zellweger, left) and editor Vikki Hiller (Sarah Paulson).
  • Publishing magnate Theodore Banner (50s/60s romantic comedy icon Tony Randall) is flanked by the two women responsible for his firms most recent best-seller, Down with Love: author Barbara Novak (Renee Zellweger, left) and editor Vikki Hiller (Sarah Paulson).

Anger Management (PG-13)
Jack Nicholson is the therapist from hell who must help Adam Sandler come to terms with his anger. -- Not reviewed

Tinseltown, Cinemark 16; Chapel Hills 15

*Bend it Like Beckham (PG-13)
A touching and rewarding coming-of-age story about a young English-Punjabi girl who defies her parents and their tradition-bound culture by playing soccer, hanging out with boys and eschewing makeup and girly clothes. Bend it Like Beckham is essentially a second-generation immigrant story (think My Big Fat Greek Wedding), and a kids' team sports story. The major sense of complexity of the immigrant experience comes through the performance of Parminder Nagra as Jess, an Anglo-English teenager living in the London suburbs with her Punjabi Sikh family. -- Andrea Lucard

Cinemark 16

*Chicago (PG-13)
The big winner at the Oscars, including Best Picture, 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 and dancing pale next to Zeta-Jones and supporting star Queen Latifah. 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


*City of God (PG-13)
This riveting film from Brazil feels like a documentary with its rough-edged camera work and the intimacy and immediacy of its view of the slums of Rio de Janeiro where the drug trade arose throughout the '60s and '70s, eventually erupting into open warfare on the streets in the early 1980s. The meandering story is told by Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues), a local boy who escapes the fate of drug addiction and violence by becoming a storyteller/photographer whose camera is his means of escape. At the center of the story is Li'l Z, a sociopathic drug lord who kills anyone who gets in his way and regularly pays off the cops to keep them out of the City. The film offers one dramatic climax after another, building tension as the poverty and violence of the ghetto grow exponentially. Finally, the image of young kids who can't read or write wielding big guns feels ominously natural in that doomed setting. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Kimball's Twin Peak

Daddy Day Care (PG)
Eddie Murphy is a recently unemployed dad who opens a daycare center run by men. Poopie jokes galore. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10; Chapel Hills 15; Cinemark 16; Tinseltown

Ghosts of the Abyss (NR) (in IMAX 3D)
Director James Cameron once again exploits, oops that's explores the wreckage of the Titanic -- this time in 3D. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark IMAX

The Good Thief (R)
Neil Jordan's (The Crying Game) heist flick follows along typical plot lines but in a frenetic fast-forward. The setting is the French Riviera where American expat Bob (Nick Nolte) plays Gandalf to a European Union of ne'er-do-wells. The booty he's after is a Monte Carlo casino that boasts a collection of paintings to attract the ever elusive, high-art/high-roller crossover niche market. There's a lot of stuff stolen with a sufficient amount of double, triple and quadruple crossing to satisfy any amateur mystery buff. But after so much huffing and puffing just to keep pace, I was relieved when it was over. -- John Dicker

Kimball's Twin Peak

*Holes (PG)
In a movie market jammed with adult comedies that rely on rude adolescent humor for laughs, the emergence of Holes -- an intelligent, funny kids' caper with a complex swirl of subplots -- is cause for celebration among adult and juvenile audiences alike. Based on the wildly popular, Newberry Award-winning young adult novel by Texan Louis Sachar (who also wrote the screenplay), Holes never approaches the saccharine sweetness we've come to expect in youth morality tales. The characters are flawed and frequently grotesque but oddly lovable, and the casting is impeccable: Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight and Tim Blake Nelson are rich as the three adult villains, and Shia LaBeouf as the protagonist, Stanley Yelnats, is utterly authentic and winning. Suitable for 10-year-olds, maybe a bit too scary for 6-year-olds and highly recommended for viewers 30 and up who might have forgotten the value of genuine, unadulterated adolescent humor. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Tinseltown, Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

Identity (R)
Heads roll in Identity, director James Mangold's whodunit that begs the quesiton, didtheyneedtodoit? A classic horror film plot and set inventory melds with another scenario -- a foreshadowing scene of interviews with a death row convict and his psychiatrist. The onus is on you to connect the dots between the murders at the Nevada motel Norman Bates would love and the death row subplot. A Cliff's Notes denouement eventually ruins all the fun. Good performances by Ray Liotta and John Cusack. Bloody and scary but scarcely memorable. -- John Dicker

Tinseltown, Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

India: Kingdom of the Tiger (NR) (large format for IMAX)
A National Wildlife Federation presentation, this new IMAX film focuses on the plight of the Bengal tiger, retelling the true story of British hunter and wildlife conservationist, Edward James Corbett, who lived most of his life in India. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark IMAX

The Lizzie McGuire Movie (PG)
Lizzie McGuire (Hilary Duff), a middling American from a middling American family, travels to Rome where she is befriended by an Italian pop star who wants her -- gasp! -- to be his new stage partner. Can she overcome her self-consciousness and clumsiness and go glam? Will she forsake her down-home values for a flashy new life? -- Not reviewed

Tinseltown, Cinemark 16, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

*A Mighty Wind (PG-13)
See full review, page 27.

Tinseltown, Chapel Hills 15

Phone Booth (R)
Colin Farrell stars as a smart-ass petty criminal who is trapped by an angry sniper in a New York City phone booth. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16

*X-Men 2 (PG-13)
The new and improved X-Men is darker than the first and, even for the uninitiated, a fascinating comic book adventure come to life. There's more of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and the taste of his torment as he paces the Earth with the instincts of a wild animal, the hairdo of a '50s rock 'n' roll devil, the physique of a G-I Joe doll and the bony anatomy of Edward Scissorhands. Mystique, the blue vinyl shape-shifter played by Rebecca Romjin-Stamos gets full star treatment as Magneto's (Ian McKellen) sizzling sidekick. Nightcrawler, a new character introduced and creepily played by Alan Cumming, brings religion to the mix, raising questions about faith and fervor while bonding with a group who can appreciate his ability to disappear into a thin wisp of smoke. Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart duke it out for the title of Most Intriguing Soon-to-be Elderly Actor as Magneto and Professor Xavier -- former friends, now intellectual foes who disagree on how mutants should interact with humans in a world that dangerously polarizes anyone who diverts from the mainstream. Bravo, X-Men! Encore! -- Kathryn Eastburn

Tinseltown, Cinemark 16, Cinemark IMAX, Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15


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