Movie Picks 

click to enlarge Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey in  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
  • Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

We did not receive schedules for Carmike 10 and Chapel Hills 15. Please call the theaters for times and film information.

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

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Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (PG)
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The Day After Tomorrow (PG-13)
You can enjoy Roland Emmerich's The Day After Tomorrow, but you'll have to suspend your disbelief so hard you might acquire several hernias. While the film has provided an excuse to rehash debates over global warming, it will likely do nothing for environmentalism. Dennis Quaid does an admirable job as the scientist possessed of the truth but not an audience, and Jake Gyllenhaal is his soft-spoken son who inherits his dad's intellectual traits but has trouble with girls. The film's plot is lost to its showcasing of CGI effects (Doesn't that snowed over Statue of Liberty look rad?), making the entire movie too familiar -- think ice and snow instead of reptilian extraterrestrials. -- John Dicker

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Ella Enchanted (PG)
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Grand Canyon (NR)
Cinemark IMAX

*Harry Potter and the Prisoner

of Azkaban (PG)
See full review on page 28.

Cinemark 16, Cinemark IMAX, Tinseltown

*Hidalgo (PG-13)
Frank T. Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen) is a cowboy who enters "The Ocean of Fire," a 3,000-mile race across the Arabian Desert. Presiding over the race is a sheik played by Omar Sharif, and watching from the sidelines is Lady Davenport, who sizes up Hopkins' cute cowboy butt like so much horseflesh. Hidalgo is an old-fashioned horse tale/ screen romp that falls somewhere between Seabiscuit and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Mortensen and the mustang enjoy an easy rapport, and their journey over mountains of dunes, through sandstorms and across centuries is a pleasure to watch. -- Kathryn Eastburn

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Jersey Girl (PG-13)
Ollie's (Ben Affleck) life falls apart when he loses his job, his wife (Jennifer Lopez) and has to move in with his father (George Carlin). Things start to look up when he meets a young video clerk (Liv Tyler). Written and directed by Kevin Smith. -- Not reviewed

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The Ladykillers (R)
A Southern professor's plot to rob a casino involves putting together a gang of thieves and killing the landlady from whom they rent an apartment, a task more difficult than it might seem. A remake of the 1955 comedy. -- Not reviewed

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Man on Fire (R)
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click to enlarge Morgan Spurlock gets his blood pressure checked in  Super Size Me.
  • Morgan Spurlock gets his blood pressure checked in Super Size Me.

*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 (gsoth 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


*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

Cinemark IMAX

The Passion of the Christ (R)
Hey! Didya hear? Mel Gibson's made some sort of Jesus movie. Who knew? If your spirituality requires a graphic reminder of your messiah's martyrdom, then this is your feel-humbled hit of the spring. If not, well, Jesus Christ Superstar still holds up like a champ. -- John Dicker

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The Prince and Me (PG)
Julia Stiles is Paige, a free spirited American college student, who falls in love with Edward (Luke Mably), a Danish prince disguised as a regular guy. -- Not reviewed

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Raising Helen (PG-13)
Helen (Kate Hudson) is a successful fashion consultant whose life is turned upside down when she becomes the guardian of three children. Directed by Garry Marshall and stars John Corbett, Joan Cusack and Helen Mirren. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Sacred Planet (NR)
Cinemark IMAX

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. With the voices of Julie Andrews, John Cleese, 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

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Soul Plane (R)
Nashawn Wade (Kevin Hart) wins a massive settlement when he sues an airline for humiliating him. He decides to use the money to create his own ideal airline that includes an onboard dance club, sexy stewardesses and funky music. Also stars Snoop Dogg, Tom Arnold and Method Man. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Starsky & Hutch (PG-13)
After Boogie Nights, The Brady Bunch (I-II) Austin Powers (Vol. I-III), The Virgin Suicides, That '70s Show et al., an unfortunate sub genre has been born. Please let it die an early death. This is NOT to say that Todd Phillips' Starsky and Hutch is anything but the finest sort of silly action spoof. However, the film succeeds on its own merit and not because of its lazy pop-culture nostalgia. Recycled or not, Starsky and Hutch is great screwball comedy. The downside is that its success will likely spawn more of the same, which won't always be funny. -- John Dicker

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*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). Hector's playboy brother Paris (Orlando Bloom) beds Menelaus' unhappy wife, Helen (Diane Kruger), then smuggles her aboard a ship to Troy, thus launching the thousand ships of lore. Menelaus enlists his brother Agamemnon (Brian Cox) and the kings of several other Greek tribes to attack 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. Peter O'Toole's performance as the elderly king of Troy is heartbreaking, Brad Pitt's Achilles is well-drawn, and Bana, best known in the United States for his portrayal of The Hulk, almost steals the show. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

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

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown


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