Movie Picks 

*Be Cool (PG-13)
Self-mocking jokes prevail in F. Gary Gray's feisty cinematic version of Elmore Leonard's irreverent Los Angeles-based novel. This sequel to the popular movie version of Leonard's Get Shorty (1995) delves further into the mystique of Chilli Palmer (John Travolta), a man who seamlessly went from being a thug shylock to a slick film producer and now to a music business kingpin. To enjoy Be Cool is to revel in the purposefully hit-and-miss slang of Leonard's effortlessly hip style while watching clich characters make asses of one another. F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job) understands the devil of comedy is in the details and dutifully underscores physical pop culture references that will strike some audience funny bones. Also starring James Woods, Christina Milian, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Harvey Keitel and Steven Tyler. -- Cole Smithey

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Because of Winn Dixie (PG)
Solid family fare -- a rarity -- sweetened with good if somewhat bland performances by Jeff Daniels, Cicely Tyson, Eva Marie Saint and Dave Matthews, and plenty of good-natured mugging by child actor AnnaSophia Robb (of Denver) and a scraggly mutt of a dog. Director Wayne Wang's film adaptation doesn't measure up to the superb Newberry Award winning novel by Kate DiCamillo, but the story is sweet and happily unadulterated. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills 15

*Bride & Prejudice (PG-13)
Directed by Gurinder Chadha, Bride and Prejudice is a loose adaptation of Jane Austen's most beloved story, set to music, choreographed and spread across three continents. The exquisite Aisyhwarya Rai, Miss World of 1994 and queen of Indian cinema, holds the camera with her sparkling green eyes amidst swirling scenes of feverish choreography, saris of every hue sweeping across the screen. This is one of those musicals where people burst into song at the most unexpected moment and the musical sets, despite their absurdity, sweep us along with their energy. Chadha proves to be adept at the big scene, moving the camera from wide pans to close-ups to overhead crane shots, every scene exploding with color. The film's personality wins the day. Silly and tender, gaudy and gorgeous, it's everything we rarely get to see at the movies -- a jubilant, romantic mess of a good time. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Kimball's Twin Peak

The Chorus (PG-13)
See full review on page 26.

Kimball's Twin Peak

Coach Carter (PG-13)
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Constantine (R)
Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Diary of a Mad Black Woman (PG-13)
Creator Tyler Perry brings his popular stage show to the screen, appearing in drag as loud-mouthed grandmother, M'deah (short for Mother Dear), and in overalls as her lecherous, good-for-nothing brother Joe in this strange amalgam of romatic comedy, revenge comedy and evangelical hoedown. Kimberly Elise is M'deah's granddaughter Helen, recently thrown out of her palatial Atlanta home by her rotten husband. Helen returns to the "ghetto," a pretty nice looking ghetto in fact, to find her lost inner resources, to get back with God, to learn how to trust a man and to ruminate in her diary over her losses. Packed with pious clichs, predictable plot turns and biblical name dropping, Diary is wildly uneven in its switch from romance to domestic drama, from riotous comedy to raucous gospel extravaganza. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Tinseltown

Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag (NR)
Cinemark 16 IMAX

*Finding Neverland (PG)
A whimsical, warmhearted and heart-wrenching film about J.M. Barrie, the playwright who wrote Peter Pan, that builds to a moving climax like a teakettle over a flame. A film set apart from Hollywood's standard sex-and-violence fare for adults, it's a story about never growing up, and never giving up on a place called Neverland. Starring Johnny Depp as Barrie; co-starring Kate Winslet. -- Dan Wilcock

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*Gunner Palace (PG-13)
Director Michael Tucker and producer Petra Epperlein's stunning documentary of life in Uday Hussein's bombed-out pleasure palace in Baghdad, among a company of American soldiers, opens in the Springs this weekend, marking the second anniversary of the war in Iraq. Vivid and frequently crass, the film follows the soldiers through long days and nights, lounging around the pool then patrolling the streets in search of insurgents. Tense and edgy, some of the film's best moments come when soldiers break into impromptu rap, story and song, describing their experiences. Among the soldiers featured in the film is a young soldier from Monument who references Colorado Springs in a hilarious sequence. Surreal at times and all too real at others, Gunner Palace shows what it's like to be engaged in the bizarre urban warfare that is the current War on Terror, staged in Iraq . -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills 15

Hide and Seek (R)
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Hitch (PG-13)
Will Smith stars in this lukewarm romantic comedy as a love doctor, available for hire to help insecure guys go after the girls of their dreams. Smith can't avoid being charming, and he lopes through this low-key film with good-natured grace that comes apart only in the presence of love interest Sara, played by the sultry Eva Mendes. The film's best moments belong to Kevin James of TV's King of Queens, as a nervous accountant in pursuit of Allegra (Amber Valleta), his firm's richest client. The film's closing dance sequence is a hoot, funnier and more energetic than the bulk of the film. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Hostage (R)
Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Hotel Rwanda (PG-13)
In 1994, Rwanda became a slaughterhouse. The conflict erupted between two ethnic populations, the then-ruling Hutus and the once dominant Tutsis. A deadly cabal of Hutu politicians, Hotel Rwanda focuses on one of the most heartening true stories to emerge from Rwanda that year. Don Cheadle (Traffic) shines as Paul Rusesabagina, a Hutu married to a Tutsi and manager of the Mille Collines, an elegant European hotel in Kigali. Paul emerges as the film's hero, sheltering 1,268 refugees in the hotel and using his wits to fend off the Hutu killers. Because Hotel Rwanda is such a good movie, solidly directed with excellent acting, hundreds of thousands of people will watch it. Hopefully in this way the net separating society from the darkness of genocide will be drawn tighter. -- Dan Wilcock

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Ice Princess (G)
Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Incredibles (PG)
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In Good Company (PG-13)
Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) is a 52-year-old advertising executive for the popular weekly Sports America, recently taken over by corporate giant Globecom. When 25-year-old Carter Duryea (Topher Grace) becomes Dan's boss and begins courting his college-age daughter (Scarlett Johannson), sparks fly. Quaid's youthful cockiness has turned into a naturally commanding earnestness that makes him far more attractive as an actor in middle age, and Grace has a sweet puppy dog quality that makes Carter Duryea, potentially an unbearable character, downright loveable. Sweet but forgettable. -- Kathryn Eastburn

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Lemony Snicket's: A Series of

Unfortunate Events (PG)
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Meet the Fockers (PG-13)
Chapel Hills 15, Picture Show

Million Dollar Baby (PG-13)
Adapted for the screen by Paul Haggis, Million Dollar Baby employs the usual boxing clichs, but with a twist -- a 31-year-old woman, Maggie (Hilary Swank), works out at the Hit Pit, a seedy California gym, and is determined that the gym's owner Frankie (Clint Eastwood) will train her and make her a contender for the welterweight championship. Frankie's not keen on the idea of training a "girly," but Scrap (Morgan Freeman), his loyal sidekick, greases the ropes, easing Maggie into Frankie's good graces and into the ring. The scenes in which Maggie trains and then embarks on a knockout sweep, traveling from fight to fight, are sheer pleasure, and both Swank and Eastwood, especially in quiet scenes between their two characters, give great performances. But intrusions of subplot and supporting characters mar the film irreversibly, and a melodramatic plot twist derails it about two-thirds of the way through. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

National Treasure (PG)
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The Pacifier (PG)
In this family comedy, Vin Diesel stars as a Navy S.E.A.L. who fails to protect the government scientist he is assigned to guard. In an effort to redeem himself, he decides to care for the man's children when he finds out that they are in danger. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Phantom of the Opera (PG-13)
Chapel Hills 15

Racing Stripes (PG)
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The Ring Two (PG-13)
This sequel to The Ring (2002) is a confusing wreck of a film that fails to live up either its predecessor or the original Japanese series. The radiant Naomi Watts (21 Grams) plays a nervous wreck who cannot escape a mysterious curse transferred by videocassette. After she moves to a soggy Northwest town for solitude, a phantom begins to possess her son. Watts, the star of the first movie, again attempts to unravel the curse to save her son. But the jumbled and dreary quest is as bewildering to newcomers as it is boring to those familiar with the Ring concept. This is a shame because the studio brought in Hideo Nakata, the original Japanese director, for the sequel. The film also features a great cast including Sissy Spacek (the original Carrie) as an insane old crone. But predictable shocks and a murky plot make this more of a headache than a pleasurable thrill. -- Dan Wilcock

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Robots (PG)
Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Cinemark 16 IMAX, Tinseltown

The Wedding Date (PG-13)
Picture Show


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