Movie Picks 

click to enlarge Lynn (Alicia Silverstone), Ida (Sherri Shepherd) and - Chanel (Golden Brooks) mind someone elses - business in  - Beauty Shop.
  • Lynn (Alicia Silverstone), Ida (Sherri Shepherd) and Chanel (Golden Brooks) mind someone elses business in Beauty Shop.

Are We There Yet? (PG)
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*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. 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

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Because of Winn-Dixie (PG)
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*Bride & Prejudice (PG-13)
Directed by Gurinder Chadha, this loose adaptation of Jane Austen's most beloved story is set to music, choreographed and spread across three continents. The exquisite Aisyhwarya Rai holds the camera with her sparkling green eyes amidst swirling scenes of feverish dancing, saris of every hue sweeping across the screen in 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. 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)
A sweet fable about a teacher who changes his student's lives, The Chorus (Les Choristes, French with English subtitles) has little new to offer to the genre but much to offer overall. Grard Jugnot plays Mr. Mathieu who, upon arriving at Fond de l'Etang, a school for wayward boys in the French countryside, discovers a cruel headmaster, Rachin (Francois Brleand), a kind old groundskeeper, Maxence (Jean-Paul Bonnaire) and a decrepit building overrun by unruly, mistreated and neglected boys. He brings the gift of music -- a briefcase stuffed with his compositions -- and tames the beasts with song. It's not likely that this ragtag group, after a few months of practice, could sound as wonderful as Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc Choir, the professional boys choir that recorded the soundtrack. But this deceit doesn't detract from the sight of those smudged faces singing together. Their lip synching is divine. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Kimball's Twin Peak

Coach Carter (PG-13)
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Constantine (R)

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) in this strange amalgam of romance, revenge comedy and evangelical hoedown. Kimberly Elise is 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

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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Guess Who (PG-13)
Bernie Mac plays the sarcastic father of a woman who wants to marry a white man, played by Ashton Kutcher. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*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 is 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. 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. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

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

*Hotel Rwanda (PG-13)
In 1994, Rwanda became a slaughterhouse when conflict erupted between two ethnic populations, the then-ruling Hutus and the once dominant Tutsis. 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 Hutu killers. -- Dan Wilcock

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

The Incredibles (PG)
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Lemony Snicket's: A Series of Unfortunate Events (PG)
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Meet the Fockers (PG-13)
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The Merchant of Venice (R)
Directed by Michael Radford, this Shakespearian adaptation stars Al Pacino as Jewish money-lender, Shylock and Jeremy Irons as a Christian merchant who borrows money and agrees to give Shylock one pound of flesh if he does not repay. -- Not reviewed

Kimball's Twin Peak

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

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (PG-13)
Sandra Bullock stars as Gracie Hart, undercover in Las Vegas to rescue characters played by William Shatner and Heather Burns in this sequel. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

National Treasure (PG)
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The Pacifier (PG)
Family comedy starring Vin Diesel 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 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 2 (PG-13)
A confusing wreck of a film that fails to live up to its predecessor or to the original Japanese series. 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 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. -- Dan Wilcock

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

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

*Sideways (R)
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