Movie Picks 

click to enlarge A sudden hailstorm is only one of the many mind- - bending occurrences experienced by Sam (Ewan - McGregor) and Lila (Naomi Watts), in Stay.
  • A sudden hailstorm is only one of the many mind- bending occurrences experienced by Sam (Ewan McGregor) and Lila (Naomi Watts), in Stay.

Aliens of the Deep (G)
James Cameron teams up with NASA scientists to explore the Mid-Ocean Ridge, a submerged chain of mountains, and its ecosystems. In IMAX 3-D. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark IMAX

*Batman Begins (PG-13)
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*Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (PG)
First understand: This is a revision, not a remake. Cast presumptive likenesses to 1971's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to the wind, and let the movies exist as separate entities. Director Tim Burton both remains true to Roald Dahl's book and departs wildly from it. Charlie's conclusion tosses some loops -- especially for Wonka -- to create what ultimately is a satisfying twist. Though Charlie isn't all cotton-candy fluff, it's mostly exciting, mindless fun. -- Kara Luger

Cinemark IMAX, Picture Show

The Constant Gardener (R)
The problem with this film is that everything begins to feel redundant during the film's final hour. Everything of consequence there is to know about the players in the plot, we know; everything of consequence there is to know about Justin (Ralph Fiennes) and Tessa (Rachel Weisz), we know. While Fiennes' performance and Fernando Meirelles' stylish direction provide some distraction, eventually the repetition of the film's political message simply becomes wearying. -- Scott Renshaw

Kimball's Twin Peak

Domino (R)
Keira Knightley stars as a model turned bounty hunter. Also starring Mickey Rourke, Mena Suvari, Lucy Liu and Christopher Walken. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story (PG)
A horse trainer (Kurt Russell) and his daughter (Dakota Fanning) nurse an injured horse back to health with the intent of racing her in the Breeders' Cup. Also starring Kris Kristofferson and Elizabeth Shue. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Elizabethtown (PG-13)
If Cameron Crowe had managed to find a way to connect Elizabethtown's touches of bliss with a clearer sense of purpose, it might have been transcendent. But he meanders around thematically, at times grappling with tangled father-son connections, then drifting over to grief awkwardly manifested by Drew's mother (Susan Sarandon), then wandering back to Drew (Orlando Bloom) wallowing in self-pity. The only ray of sunshine comes from chatty flight attendant Claire (Kirsten Dunst), who soon never is far from Drew's life. -- Scott Renshaw

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Everything is Illuminated (PG-13)
A young Jewish-American man endeavors to find the woman who saved his grandfather during World War II. Directed by Liev Schreiber and starring Elijah Wood. -- Not reviewed

Kimball's Twin Peak

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (PG-13)
It shouldn't be difficult to make an exorcism scene scary, but director Scott Derrickson succeeds only in making it nearly impossible to follow what's going on. The priest is attacked by a housecat jumping at his throat. Also, a snake drops on his head. I only wish I were making that up. -- Scott Renshaw


Fantastic Four (PG-13)
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Flightplan (PG-13)
The notion of hide-and-seek within a jetliner is intriguing and buys the film some decent moments. With Flightplan, we get to see what happens when a passenger loses it and starts running up and down the aisles mid-flight. If it were anyone but Jodie Foster, we might be tempted to laugh. But because it's Jodie Foster, mother of steel, this ain't no laughing matter. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Fog (PG-13)
A quiet seaside town is engulfed by a thick fog of ghosts a century after a boat full of lepers sunk just off its coast. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (R)
It's unfortunate and ironic that Steve Carell's debut performance as a movie star, in a film he co-wrote, is lacking his comedic signature. Carell sedates his expressive face to play a kind of straight man among stooges, the butt of everyone's jokes because he's made it to age 40 without getting laid. And even though The 40-Year-Old Virgin packs a bevy of laughs, it is just another riff on an increasingly familiar Hollywood theme: Everyone secretly wants to be a frat boy. -- Dan Wilcock

Picture Show

The Gospel (PG)
A young singer turns his back on God and his father's church, only to return years later to find the congregation in disarray. He has to face his family, career and his father's illness. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10

The Greatest Game Ever Played (PG)
Based on the true story of the 1913 U.S. Open, where 20-year-old Francis Ouimet defeated reigning champion Harry Vardon. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Herbie: Fully Loaded (G)
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*In Her Shoes (PG-13)
See full review on page 37.

Carmike Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*A History of Violence (R)
This is the story of mild-mannered family man Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen), owner of a town diner, and the fateful day two sleazebags walk in and threaten him and his business. Knocking off both bad guys in record time, Stall's newfound fame as hero beckons more bad guys to the diner, headed by a darkly comic Ed Harris, who believes Tom really is a former tough guy from Philly. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

Into the Blue (PG-13)
Divers find themselves in trouble with a drug lord after they happen upon the illicit cargo of a sunken airplane. Starring Paul Walker, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin and Scott Caan. -- Not reviewed


Just Like Heaven (PG-13)
Emotionally damaged David Abbott (Mark Ruffalo) moves into a faaaaabulous San Francisco apartment, only to find that its previous occupant hasn't entirely vacated. She's Elizabeth Masterson (Reese Witherspoon), a workaholic doctor caught in limbo, whose spirit inhabits her old residence. Witherspoon and Ruffalo both prove entertaining, but they don't quite have It, that ineffable something that makes great screen pairs click. -- Scott Renshaw

Cinemark 16

Madagascar (PG)
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A Magnificent Desolation (NR)
Walking on the moon in 3-D. Produced by Tom Hanks. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark IMAX

*Mr. and Mrs. Smith (PG-13)
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Proof (PG-13)
The daughter (Gwyneth Paltrow) of a brilliant but mentally unstable mathematician (Anthony Hopkins) comes to grips with her father's death and insanity. Also starring Jake Gyllenhaal, as a grad student interested in searching through the academic paperwork of the deceased. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15

*Red Eye (PG-13)
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*Serenity (PG-13)
Damn you, Joss Whedon! Damn you and your honesty and integrity and unwillingness to succumb to Hollywood bull and ... This is total-immersion science fiction. Creator/writer/director Joss Whedon throws you in the deep end of the pool, and you either just can't deal with it, and sink, or you're so thrilled to find something so smart and believable that you swim through it like it's an alternate aspect of your own reality. -- MaryAnn Johanson

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Sky High (PG)
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*Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (PG)
Though the narrative basically is satisfying, Corpse Bride works fundamentally as a visual showpiece. When the action moves from the land of the living to the land of the dead, Burton portrays the underworld in vivid primary colors and with boisterous carousing. Songs by Burton's longtime collaborator Danny Elfman give the story lines an extra jolt of energy, and the talented voice cast contributes better work than you often find from celebrity names slumming in animation. -- Scott Renshaw

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Transporter 2 (PG-13)
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Two for the Money (R)
A former college football star gets involved in sports gambling. Starring Al Pacino, Matthew McConaughey, Rene Russo and Jaime King. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, TInseltown

Valiant (G)
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Waiting (R)
Young employees at Shenanigan's restaurant stave off boredom and adulthood together. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (G)
Wallace and his dog Gromit set out to find out who is sabotaging their garden in this stop-action film. -- Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

War of the Worlds (PG-13)
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*Wedding Crashers (R)
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