Movie Picks 

click to enlarge Jon Foster (left), Elle Fanning (center) and Kim Basinger (right) in Door in the Floor.
  • Jon Foster (left), Elle Fanning (center) and Kim Basinger (right) in Door in the Floor.

13 going on 30 (PG-13)
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*Alaska: Spirit of the Wild (NR)
Documentaries catering science education may not be for everyone, but if you're up for some good ol' G-rated entertainment then Alaska: Spirit of the Wild is a good pick. The footage compiled by director George Casey is impressive, and it is these moments starring Alaska's wildlife captured on film that make Alaska so successful. Casey grabs your attention with playful displays and coats the scenes with tidbits of appetizing trivia. The rich history of people in Alaska, however, receives far less time than Alaska's natural splendor. This film serves as a reminder that the human spirit is nurtured by experiences of the wild. -- Michael Beckel

Cinemark IMAX

*Anchorman (PG-13)
Sublime silliness. Will Ferrell stars as a smooth-talking 1970s San Diego TV anchorman, threatened by the arrival of an ambitious female reporter (Christina Applegate). Anchorman is absurd but is more than a mere big hair, polyester suit period parody. The whacked-out writing and Ferrell and Company's over-the-top swaggering make it a painfully funny escapist riot. With cameo appearances by Tim Robbins, Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn, all as anchormen from competing stations. Two scenes catapult this comedy above the ordinary: Ferrell in a nightclub jamming on jazz flute, and Ferrell in a phone booth having an emotional meltdown. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Around the World in 80 Days (PG)
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Before Sunset (R)
See full review on page 28.

Kimball's Twin Peak

*The Bourne Supremacy (PG-13)
Since the terrific action thriller The Bourne Identity, reluctant hero, former CIA agent Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), and his spunky French companion Maria (Franka Potente) have apparently enjoyed some r & r. But Bourne is being pursued again, this time by a shady Russian agent who's part of a conspiracy that frames him for the assassination of two Berlin agents. The true star of The Bourne Supremacy is director Paul Greengrass, whose fight scene cinematography is riveting. He uses glass and other reflective surfaces to heighten tension, emphasizing what we can't see, what's on the other side. And his car chase scenes are bone-rattlingly fast and scary. The sequel is not quite as personally involving as its predecessor, but equally as thrilling and easily one of the best films of the summer. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Catwoman (PG-13)
Halle Berry stars as Patience Philips, a shy, sensitive artists employed by a giant cosmetics firm. Patience's fate takes an unexpected twist when she mysteriously obtains the prowess, intuition and agility of a cat and achieves superhero status as Catwoman. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

A Cinderella Story (PG)
For downtrodden teen Sam Martin (Hilary Duff) a fairy tale is in the making when studly football star Austin (Chad Michael Murray) finds Sam's cell phone and the two begin exchanging messages over the Internet. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Chronicles of Riddick (PG-13)
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The Day After Tomorrow (PG-13)
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De-Lovely (PG-13)
See full review on page 29.


Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (PG-13)
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*Fahrenheit 9/11
You can like director Michael Moore or not, admire or dislike his previous films, but you'd be hard pressed to deny the power of Fahrenheit 9/11. Little is revealed that hasn't already been reported in the mainstream press at least once over the past four years. But in Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore has meticulously pieced together all the disturbing tidbits, and the cumulative effect is startling. Moore's research is deeper, his editing stricter and the reach of documentary footage richer in this film than in his others. More importantly, he keeps himself out of the frame more often than not. If many neutral moviegoers who might not otherwise be motivated to vote are galvanized by Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore, the guy who right-wing pundits love to accuse of hating America, will have served his country well. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Kimball's Twin Peak, Tinseltown

Garfield: The Movie (PG)
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Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (R)
Stoner roommates Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) add some spice to their uneventful lives with late-night trek through New Jersey searching for White Castle hamburgers. The newest comedy from Danny Leiner, director of Dude, Where's My Car?. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (PG)
Entrancing from its first wicked moments to its thrilling end. We find Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his two best friends, prickly Hermione (Emma Watson) and nave Ron (Rupert Grint), in their third year at Hogwarts, the school for young wizards in training. The school's labyrinthine stairways, talking paintings, goofy student body and eccentric faculty are all captivating. Adding to the excitement of daily course instruction, the presumed murderer of Harry's wizard parents, Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), has just escaped Azkaban Prison and is reportedly out to get Harry. The acting sings, including that of the adolescent actors, and director Alfonso Cuaron's version of J. K. Rowling's vision is swirling, rich, terrifyingly beautiful, as it captures the dark magic and moodiness of the Harry Potter oeuvre. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Cinemark IMAX

I, Robot (PG-13)
The year is 2035. Robots have become common household accessories. Chicago Police Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) is investigating a case in which he alone believes a robot is the culprit, and if Spooner's hunch turns out to be correct, the so-called Laws of Robotics have been violated (supposedly impossible). Based on the science-fiction short stories of Isaac Asimov. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

King Arthur (PG-13)
This most recent portrayal of the legend of King Arthur focuses on the life of Arthur (Clive Owen) during his probable historical and political setting -- the collapse of the Roman Empire -- than on myth and magic. Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table join for an adventure that changes the course of history. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16 , Tinseltown

The Manchurian Candidate (R)
See full review on page 29.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*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. 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 own contradictions. -- John Dicker

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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 a 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 Notebook (PG-13)
When a young woman (Rachel McAdams) meets a local mill worker (Ryan Gosling) in the summer of 1940, they fall deeply in love. But WWII soon pulls their worlds apart. Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Passion of the Christ (R)
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Raising Helen (PG-13)
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Sacred Planet (NR)
Cinemark IMAX

Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (PG)
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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. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Spider-Man 2 (PG-13)
As the film opens, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is having trouble keeping up at school despite being a bona fide scientific genius and is growing more alienated from love interest Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) and good friend Harry Osborn (James Franco). Moreover, his superhero powers are failing him as his resolve waxes and wanes. So Peter decides not to be Spider-Man any more -- until the city is faced with a crisis of nuclear proportion in the form of mad scientist Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) stalking the streets on four serpentine mechanical arms. The film's computer-generated special effects are lovely, and it's fun to watch Spidey glide through the sky. But overall, Spider-Man 2 lacks the glamour, sly humor, darkness, tense plotting and overblown emotionality that drives its superior film counterparts. -- Kathryn Eastburn

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

The Terminal (PG-13)
An immigrant (Tom Hanks) fleeing a war-torn Eastern European country arrives in an airport terminal in New York City at the exact moment the war causes his nation to no longer exist. Without valid paperwork for entry into the United States, he takes up residence in the terminal itself, befriending the staff and falling in love with a flight attendant (Catherine Zeta-Jones). -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16

Thunderbirds (PG)
A criminal mastermind (Ben Kingsley) launches a plot to commandeer the high-tech resources of the Thunderbirds -- the fearless rescue corps run by Jeff Tracy (Bill Paxton) and his five sons. Based on the 1960s British television series. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Troy (R)
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Two Brothers (PG)
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The Village (PG-13)
A sinister secret lies behind the picture perfect calm of the residents of Covington, Pennsylvania. The newest thriller from M. Night Shyamalan, director of The Sixth Sense and Signs. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown


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