Movie Picks 

click to enlarge Ed Begley Jr. and Agnes Bruckner in Stateside
  • Ed Begley Jr. and Agnes Bruckner in Stateside

Due to print deadlines, the Movie picks page does not include theater details this week. Please contact the theaters for times and film locations.

13 going on 30 (PG-13)
Jennifer Garner is Jenna, a pre-teen who makes a wish and wakes up on her 13th birthday as a 30-year-old woman. Also stars Mark Ruffalo. -- Not reviewed

50 First Dates (PG-13)
As much as I enjoyed this romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, I want to scold the director for succumbing to gross-out jokes to attract Sandler's core audience. Henry (Sandler), a veterinarian at Sea Life Park, Hawaii, meets Lucy (Barrymore) unaware that she suffers from a brain trauma that causes her short-term memory to erase each night. Henry falls for her and decides that the best thing for Lucy is to face her memory problem. Barrymore holds the film together and has rarely been so captivating. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (PG)
Covert cover-ups and international intrigue await Secret Agent Cody Banks on his second adventure. -- Not reviewed

Breakin' All the Rules (PG-13)
Quincy Watson (Jamie Foxx) is dumped by his fiance and during his period of recovery, he writes his own "how to break up" book to help guys avoid what has happened to him. Surprisingly he becomes a best-selling author. Also stars Gabrielle Union and Morris Chestnut. -- Not reviewed

Butterfly Effect (R)
Ashton Kutcher stars in and executive produced this creepy time-travel tale. -- Not reviewed

Cheaper by the Dozen (PG)
Steve Martin coaches a football team and tries to take care of his 12 children while his wife, played by Bonnie Hunt, is out of town. A remake of the 1950 comedy classic, which was based on a true story. -- Not reviewed

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (PG)
Hip New Yorker Lola, freshly relocated to the Jersey suburbs, can't quite fit in at her new school. As Lola guns for the lead role in the school play, she's pitted against the reigning teenage queen, who has a few aces up her sleeve. -- Not reviewed

Dawn of the Dead (R)
The survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing the flesh-hungry undead take refuge in a mega shopping mall. With Ving Rhames and Sarah Polley. -- Not reviewed

Dogville (R)
In the small Rocky Mountain township of Dogville, Grace (Nicole Kidman) arrives with a carload of armed men in pursuit. Tom (Paul Bettany) hides her and later convinces the town to give Grace refuge. Initially all goes well with Grace volunteering to work in exchange for the town's protection. However, as the search intensifies the town exacts a terrible price for its services. Danish film auteur, Lars von Trier has created another film using the Dogme filmmaking ethic in its extreme form. A star-studded cast includes Lauren Bacall, Ben Gazzara, James Caan, Patricia Clarkson and a von Trier regular, Stellan Skarsgrd. -- Not reviewed

Ella Enchanted (PG)
Ella receives the "gift" of obedience at birth from her fairy Godmother. In her quest to rid herself of this curse, she encounters ogres, giants and a talking book. Starring Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries). -- Not reviewed

Envy (PG-13)
Ben Stiller and Jack Black star as Tim and Nick, best friends, neighbors and co-workers, whose equal footing is suddenly tripped up when one of Nick's harebrained get-rich-quick schemes actually succeeds. -- Not reviewed

Johnson Family Vacation (PG-13)
Nate Johnson (Cedric The Entertainer) and his family embark on a cross-country trek to their annual family reunion in Missouri. Also stars Vanessa Williams. -- Not reviewed

*Kill Bill Vol. II (R)
The second installment of Kill Bill is as much of a delight as the first and easily the director's best work since Pulp Fiction. Unlike Vol. I, which was marked by acrobatic kung fu orgies and preposterous body counts, the final installment doles out more psychological drama than straight up killing. Tarantino has previously taught us that even the most murderous gangsters can be redeemed. Kill Bill's lesson is similar and sillier: being a ruthless killer and a good mom are not mutually exclusive. Handy stuff to know, strangely enjoyable to watch, and probably a good idea to forget. -- John Dicker

Laws of Attraction (PG-13)
Amidst a sea of litigation, two New York divorce attorneys (Julianne Moore and Pierce Brosnan) are often competing against each other in the courtroom, but end up in a relationship nonetheless. -- Not reviewed

*Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (PG-13)
Return of the King was totally wicked and completely awesome. The fact that Jackson defied everyone by making an impossibly gorgeous, technically improbable film that not only did full justice to Tolkien's final installment of the Rings, but one that also took unthinkable liberties with its plot and still got away with it, is just ... it's just in-friggin'-comprehensibly wonderful. While you may want to bring your hemorrhoid cushion, it's a ride worth the bumps! (Winner of 11 Academy Awards for best picture, director, adapted screenplay, original song, film editing, original score, sound, makeup, visual effects, costume design and art direction.) -- Noel Black

Man on Fire (R)
Denzel Washington stars as a sullen and remorseful bodyguard who will stop at nothing to avenge the kidnap and murder of his charge (Dakota Fanning). Christopher Walken and Giancarlo Giannini also star in this Tony Scott adaptation of a novel by A.J. Quinnell. -- Not reviewed.

click to enlarge Nicole Kidman stars in Dogville.
  • Nicole Kidman stars in Dogville.

*Mean Girls (PG-13)
Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) is a 16-year-old raised in Africa by her anthropologist parents. When her mom is relocated, Cady is inaugurated into the social viper pit of American high school and finds herself caught between two polarized cliques: semi-intellectual Lizzy Caplan (goth chick) and Daniel Franzese (queen extraordinaire) and "The Plastics," a group of popular girls led by Regina (Rachel McAdams). When Regina decides to reclaim her ex-boyfriend simply because Cady is interested, Cady plans to foil Regina, causing her to grow more plastic than the Plastics. Mean Girls is a smart comedy splattered with ingenious writing from Tina Fey although its attempt to skewer the image-obsession of teen girls while making a sexy spectacle of their bodies, suffers from its contradictions. -- John Dicker

Monsieur Ibrahim (R)
With Paris as a backdrop during the transitional 1960s, an unlikely friendship develops between Ibrahim (Omar Sharif), an elderly Turkish deli owner and Moises, a Jewish teenager (Pierre Boulanger). A father/ son relationship develops as Ibrahim teaches Moises the difference between being Arab and Muslim and imparts advice about life, love and happiness. -- Not reviewed

*Nascar 3D (PG) (in IMAX 3-D)
By now, you probably know that NASCAR is the most popular spectator sport in America and Middle America's unofficial pastime. The film is a 47-minute NASCAR For Dummies primer that includes a brief history of the sport, short profiles of its legends and brief exegesis of its technical underpinnings. Of course, there's no shortage of vroom and boom -- with plenty of point-of-view shots taken inside the speeding cars and sprawling shots of surging racetrack crowds to rival Triumph of the Will. This sport is HUGE. -- John Dicker

New York Minute (PG)
The Olsen twins make the transition from being nearly everywhere to being, well, everywhere. On the way to New York City, the sisters get immersed in a black market deal, are chased by an overly exuberant truant officer (Eugene Levy) and fall in love with a senator's son and a bike messenger. -- Not reviewed

Secret Window (PG-13)
At a lakeside cabin, Mort Rainey (Johnny Depp) suffers writer's block and battles the crazed John Shooter (John Turturro). They broker a deal: if Rainey can prove he wrote the tale Shooter will back off. If he can't, well, the murder of Rainey's dog offers a good indication of what's to come. The ever-lovable Depp makes this chore of a film bearable at times. Based on a Stephen King novella and directed by David Koepp. -- John Dicker

Shrek 2 (PG)
In Shrek, the first installment of this computer-animated series, the lovable ogre Shrek (Mike Myers) vanquished the evil Lord Farquaad to win Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) as his bride. In Shrek 2, he faces a more daunting challenge: meeting the in-laws. Unbeknownst to Shrek his father-in-law (John Cleese) is none too happy with the union and does his best to get his own "happy ever after." With the voices of Julie Andrews, Rupert Everett, Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous), Antonio Banderas as famed ogre-killer Puss In Boots and of course Eddie Murphy as the mischievous Donkey. -- Not reviewed

*Stateside (R)
While driving drunk with friends, Mark crashes, paralyzing his headmaster (Ed Begley Jr.) and hospitalizing Sue (Agnes Bruckner). Mark is spared a prison sentence if he can get through Marine basic training. Oddly enough, the structured military life suits him, even while enduring a sadistic drill sergeant (Val Kilmer). On furlough, Mark meets up with Sue who has been subsequently committed to a halfway house. He connects instantly with her roommate Dori (Rachael Leigh Cook), an actor/rock singer whose career has tanked because of her schizophrenia. The emotional poverty of their lives, coupled with their respective entrapments (The Marines and mental health providers) charges the intensity of their affair, but what makes Stateside work is the chemistry between Tucker and Cook. -- John Dicker

*Super Size Me (NR)
See full review on page 64.

*Troy (R)
Wolfgang Petersen's Troy is a blast, a massive entertainment with a handful of substantial characters and a muted anti-war message. The film opens as a peace treaty has just been pounded out between Menelaus, King of Sparta (Brendan Gleeson) and Troy, represented by Prince Hector (Eric Bana). As the celebration party advances into the wee hours, Hector's playboy brother Paris (Orlando Bloom) beds Menelaus' unhappy wife, Helen (Diane Kruger). The next day, en route back to Troy, Paris reveals to Hector that he has smuggled Helen onboard their ship. Seeking revenge, Menelaus enlists his brother Agamemnon (Brian Cox) and the kings of several other Greek tribes to conquer Troy. Reluctantly going along for the ride is the great but sullen warrior Achilles (Brad Pitt). Many battles ensue leading to the ultimate confrontation between Hector and Achilles and the sacking of Troy. The film is too long by about 20 minutes but overall Troy succeeds. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Van Helsing (PG-13)
It's the 19th century and Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) is off to Transylvania to root out evil. Joined by Anna (Kate Beckinsale) who is trying to rid her family of a curse, the two do battle with Count Dracula (Richard Roxbough) and confront Frankenstein's creature and hunchbacked assistant Igor; a Wolf Man; and Dracula's three bloodsucking brides. Directed by Stephen Sommers of the Mummy series. -- Not reviewed

Walking Tall (PG-13)
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is a retired soldier who returns to his hometown to find it overrun with crime. With the help of Jackass star Johnny Knoxville he becomes sheriff and decides to clean up the town. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10 1550 Pulsar Dr. (573-0256)

Chapel Hills 15 1710 Briargate Blvd. (594-6000)

Cinemark 16 3305 Cinema Point (596-0442)

Cinemark 16 IMAX 3305 Cinema Point (596-3212)

Kimball's Twin Peak 115 E. Pikes Peak Ave. (447-1945)

Picture Show 901 N. Academy Blvd. (380-SHOW)

Tinseltown 1545 E Cheyenne Mtn. Blvd. (576-0593)


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