Movie Picks 

Films recommended by our reviewers are indicated by an *.

Australia (PG-13)

For the first 85 minutes, Australia's a sprawling Western set in 1939 (starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman). The second half is an epic wartime romance. But the film overreaches as it tries to staple the two together. Scott Renshaw

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Bedtime Stories (PG)

A hotel maintenance man (Adam Sandler) enjoys telling imaginative bedtime stories to his niece and nephew when the stories begin to come true. Not reviewed

Cinemark 16

Beverly Hills Chihuahua (PG)

Drew Barrymore provides the voice of Chloe, a chihuahua who finds herself lost on vacation in Mexico. Not reviewed

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Bride Wars (PG)

When their weddings are mistakenly booked on the same day, two best friends (Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway) become adversaries in a race to outdo each other. Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (PG-13)

While Benjamin Button's chronology spans decades, its ideas don't actually feel particularly sweeping stuff along the lines of "Life is short and precious, and you should live it to the fullest while you still have the chance." Simplistic though it is, the message does prove potent. Scott Renshaw

Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*The Dark Knight (PG-13)

Batman's purposeful, gadget-abetted vigilantism has shown results, but still he has his work cut out for him. The film offers many thrills, some surprises and a few remarkable character transformations. Jonathan Kiefer

Cinemark 16 IMAX

The Day the Earth Stood Still (PG-13)

This is The Day the Earth Barely Even Notices We're on the Brink of Doom, and Why Don't Those Damn Hippies Just Shut Up About Global Warming Already? I'll be damned if there's any indication why the aliens prefer to save the planet over us, or why the audience should understand it either. MaryAnn Johanson

Cinemark 16 IMAX, Picture Show

*Defiance (R)

There isn't a lick of phony sentimentality in this tale of three roguish brothers who lead a group of Jews in hiding into Belorussia's forests during World War II as the Nazis round up people for the camps. MaryAnn Johanson

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*Doubt (PG-13)

Inspired by news of church cover-ups regarding molestation of the children by priests, Doubt unsurprisingly turns into a Hoffman-Streep throwdown. Both Serious Actors deliver passionate performances. Tricia Olszewski


Fireproof (PG)

In an attempt to help their failing marriage, a fireman and his wife enlist in a stunt called "The Love Dare." Not reviewed

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Four Christmases (PG-13)

A couple (Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn) attempt to visit all four of their parents' homes for the holidays. Not reviewed

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*Frost/Nixon (R)

Frost/Nixon dramatizes the origin and accomplishment of the 1977 TV interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former President Richard Nixon. Michael Sheen and Frank Langella reprise their roles from the award-winning play, and so it should be; the casting is definitive. Jonathan Kiefer


*Gran Torino (R)

Meet Walt Kowalski: Korean War vet, retired autoworker, widower, ornery racist coot. But he's played by Clint Eastwood, in an Eastwood-directed movie, so no matter what kind of bastard Walt is, you know you're probably going to like him. Jonathan Kiefer

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

High School Musical 3: Senior Year (G)

As the end of high school approaches, Troy (Zac Efron), Gabriella (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) and the rest of the gang put on a musical. Not reviewed

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Hotel for Dogs (PG)

A young boy and girl save stray dogs by hiding them in an abandoned house. Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*Inkheart (PG)

Brendan Fraser stars as a man who is a "silvertongue," a rare person who can read aloud from a book and make it come to life. It's a charming and cheerfully creepy fantasy, one that harkens to pleasantly sinister children's flicks of a generation ago. MaryAnn Johanson

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Last Chance Harvey (PG-13)

After losing his job and being snubbed by his daughter, Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman) meets Kate Walker (Emma Thompson), a woman who's given up on dating. Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (PG)

In this animated sequel, Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller) and his zoo friends board a flight to New York City, only to end up in Africa. Not reviewed

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Marley & Me (PG)

Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston star as a couple who learns important lessons from a troublesome golden retriever. Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

The Metropolitan Opera: Orfeo ed Euridice Encore (NR)

A production of Gluck's opera featuring Stephanie Blythe and Danielle de Niese, with costumes by Isaac Mizrahi and choreography by Mark Morris. Not reviewed

Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*Milk (R)

If no single moment can be completely fitting for a biographical drama about martyred civil rights hero Harvey Milk, this moment, 30 years after his assassination, sure feels close. In the end, Milk transcends its historical duty, seeming both timely and timeless. Jonathan Kiefer


My Bloody Valentine 3D (R)

On the anniversary of a series of gruesome killings, a man returns to his hometown to find himself accused of the murders. Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Paul Blart: Mall Cop (PG)

A security guard (Kevin James) must come to the rescue when a mall is taken over by would-be robbers. Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Quantum of Solace (PG-13)

Quantum of Solace is a mean little film, grim and single-minded, without the pleasure or mischief that has made James Bond so endearing. Jonathan Kiefer

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The Reader (R)

More than 10 years after his affair with an older woman ends, a young man discovers his former lover standing trial for Nazi war crimes. Not reviewed

Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*Revolutionary Road (R)

I'm not sure what audiences will make of Sam Mendes' pitch-perfect adaptation of the novel by Richard Yates (starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet), but like the novel, it captures the soul-crushing impact of compromise that was required by life in 1950s suburban America. Scott Renshaw

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Role Models (R)

Role Models is that usual assemblage of tittering about bodily fluids, casual homophobia, random sex acts and other expressions of apparently unoutgrowable male adolescent anxiety that passes for comedy today. MaryAnn Johanson

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*Slumdog Millionaire (R)

Now we know why the world has been overrun by idiotic game shows like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Without them we wouldn't have Danny Boyle's surprising, fresh and enchanting new movie about a poor Mumbai teen poised to win 20 million rupees on the Indian version of the game. MaryAnn Johanson

Kimball's Twin Peak, Tinseltown

*The Tale of Despereaux (G)

You wouldn't think there would be any more lovely stories to tell about cute furry creatures (like Despereaux the mouse) who defy odds, embrace danger, find love and celebrate honor all from the confines of a cartoon. But with this delightful, inventive film, we find there's at least one more. MaryAnn Johanson

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Transporter 3 (PG-13)

Jason Statham returns as Frank Martin, a mercenary whose expertise is the delivery of high-risk cargo. Not reviewed

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Twilight (PG-13)

OMG! This is the best movie ever (for 12-year-old fans). Twilight is all about Bella, a junior in high school, and Edward, the totally cute vampire she meets. MaryAnn Johanson


The Unborn (PG-13)

A woman believes she is being haunted by her twin who died before birth. Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (R)

This prequel to Underworld and Underworld 2 explains the animosity between a tribe of aristocratic vampires and a tribe of vampires that were once slaves. Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Valkyrie (PG-13)

A group of German officers led by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Not reviewed

Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*The Wrestler (R)

It's a mistake to suggest that The Wrestler is all about watching Mickey Rourke apply his wrecked face and ripped body to this character, a washed-up wrestler hoping for a comeback. As good as he is, it's more than that; it's one of the most unexpectedly heartbreaking dramas in a long time. Scott Renshaw

Cinemark 16, Kimball's Twin Peak


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