Movie Picks 

Aeon Flux (PG-13)
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BloodRayne (R)
A half-human, half-vampire named Rayne avenges her mother's rape by Kagan, King of Vampires, in 18th-century Romania. -- Not reviewed


*Brokeback Mountain (R)
Ang Lee's directorial restraint, the McMurtry-Ossana screenplay so faithful to Annie Proulx's story, near-perfect casting and the magnificent Wyoming landscape yield an unforgettable film, a true Western surrounding a tragic love story. Most critics have deemed Brokeback Mountain Heath Ledger's film, but it is equally Jake Gyllenhaal's. Both deliver mature, finely wrought performances. The film's emotional impact is precisely as blunt, clear and devastating as Proulx's prose, a remarkable accomplishment. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Kimball's Twin Peak

Casanova (R)
Heath Ledger stars as the fabled man who, after failing to win the affection of a particular Venetian woman, struggles to discover the meaning of love. Also starring Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller and Oliver Platt. -- Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (PG)
Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt star in this sequel, in which their large family finds itself in competition with another large family, headed by Eugene Levy. -- Not reviewed

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

*The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (PG)
Director Andrew Adamson (Shrek) has done a masterful job adapting C.S. Lewis' beloved children's book to the screen. Whether Lewis would have approved of the vicious and divisive marketing ploys claiming the film for a fundamentalist Christian audience, and casting fear and dread on secular filmgoers, has been debated widely since before the film was released. Regardless, except for a slight overdose of computer-generated special effects in the battle scenes, Narnia it is simply wonderful. -- Kathryn Eastburn

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

The Constant Gardener (R)
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Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story (PG)
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The Family Stone (PG-13)
Borrowing every device from its many predecessors in the screwball romance/heart-tugger/family reunion genre, The Family Stone is a free-for-all, celebrity-studded Grinch of a holiday movie. The family Stone is headed by warm and fuzzy dad Kelly (Craig T. Nelson) and acerbic and dippy mom Sybil (Diane Keaton), who keeps a charmingly cluttered house and dotes on her adult children. We're supposed to walk away from the film feeling warmed; instead, we walk out of the theater feeling faintly bemused, slightly used and vaguely entertained. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

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

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Fun with Dick and Jane (PG-13)
A remake of the 1977 comedy in which a married couple turns to robbery to pay the bills. Starring Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni. -- Not reviewed

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

Glory Road (PG)
The story of the first all-black starting lineup to win college basketball's NCAA championship. -- Not reviewed

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

Grandma's Boy (R)
A 35-year-old video game tester moves in with his grandma and her two roommates. -- Not reviewed

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

*Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (PG-13)
J.K. Rowling's mega-selling series of books has been talked about for its pop-culture ubiquity, its ability to make video game and iPod junkies actually read, and its alleged unhealthy influence on those readers by dealing with the occult. Director Mike Newell's version of the fourth book keeps a surprisingly tight focus on the unnerving, dark, appropriately PG-13-rated changes in Harry's world as he wrestles with transformations that have nothing to do with magic. -- Scott Renshaw

Cinemark 16 IMAX

Hostel (R)
Three American backpackers travel to a Slovakian city in search of hedonism, but instead they find horror. -- Not reviewed

Carmike Stadium 10, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

Jarhead (R)
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Just Friends (PG-13)
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*King Kong (PG-13)
In the past, it has been enough for special effects to convince us that something exists. Director Peter Jackson wants us to believe that Kong has lived. The New Zealand director has raised the bar for action set pieces, but that's not why his movies are terrific. He wants to couple modern technological wonder with genuine emotion, and he wants to do it by making us feel for things that aren't really there. -- Scott Renshaw

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

The Legend of Zorro (PG)
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Memoirs of a Geisha (PG-13)
The film adaptation of Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha has inspired controversy by casting Chinese (and not Japanese) actresses in the film's three key roles. Golden's novel -- perhaps even to a fault -- focused on the day-to-day minutiae that made the world of geishas so uniquely compelling. But the film hones in on the romance and power struggles that make for bigger, more dramatic cinema. It's not just the actresses that lack a distinctively Japanese flavor; it's the film as a whole. -- Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*Munich (R)
Munich, with its shimmeringly dark 1970s color palette, understated performances, arching historical context and moral ambiguity, is so brave, so compellingly filmed and told, that the director seems like a new Spielberg altogether, one who's figured out that we've learned little from the violent world events of the last century. The new Spielberg fears for the future of humanity and can make a white-knuckle, action-adventure film about that without sacrificing character, plot or deeply humane motivation -- and without preaching. -- Kathryn Eastburn

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Kimball's Twin Peak, Tinseltown

*Pride and Prejudice (PG)
This film was not made for the drawing-room crowd. It takes aim directly at a younger generation of viewers and succeeds miraculously at making Lizzie Bennet one of the most disarming and alluring screen heroines of the 21st century, while honoring Jane Austen's gift for dialogue. If you're not moved to applaud the film's uplifting finale, well, you've been spending too much time in the drawing room. -- Kathryn Eastburn

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The Producers (PG-13)
Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane bring their Tony Award-winning musical to the big screen. It's the story of a broke producer, his accountant and their get-rich-quick scheme. -- Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Ringer (PG-13)
See review on page 25.

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

Rumor Has It (PG-13)
Jennifer Aniston stars as a woman who learns that her family was the inspiration for the book and film The Graduate. Also starring Kevin Costner and Shirley MacLaine. -- Not reviewed

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

Saw II (R)
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*Syriana (R)
Syriana is as much a position paper as it is a film. It's a multi-layered construction of the tangled connections between business, politics and money as concerns American policies in the Middle East -- the petroleum-trade equivalent of how Stephen Gaghan handled the drug trade in his Oscar-winning script for 2000's Traffic. Syriana is that rare politically themed film that has something to say, yet generally allows you to figure out its meaning on your own. -- Scott Renshaw


*Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (PG)
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Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (G)
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Zathura (PG)
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