Mini reviews

Sony Pictures/Special
Dylan McDermott, Kristen Stewart and Penelope Ann Miller star in the thriller The Messengers.

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HANNIBAL RISING (R) Unpleasantries of war have an impact on the dining habits of a young man. See Friday's Your Life for a review. Augusta Exchange, Evans, Aiken

THE LAST SIN EATER (PG-13) Film adaptation of the inspirational Christian novel. Evans

NORBIT (H, PG-13) Eddie Murphy's latest comedy is a nightmare, but he gets points for being unrecognizable while inhabiting different characters. Too much gimmicks and unfunny caricatures. Augusta Exchange, Evans, Aiken


APOCALYPTO (R) Mel Gibson turns his directing skills to this violent story of ancient Mayans. Oscar nominations for makeup, sound editing and sound mixing. Begins Friday at Masters

CHILDREN OF MEN (***, R) Clive Owen and Julianne Moore play former lovers in a London of the near future where scientists are working furiously to solve the world's infertility problem. Oscar nominations for adapted screenplay, film editing and cinematography. Ends today at Augusta Exchange

THE DEPARTED (R) Best picture nominee. Best director nominee Martin Scorsese remakes the 2002 Hong Kong hit Infernal Affairs with Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon on board. Other Oscar nominations include adapted screenplay, film editing and Mark Wahlberg for best supporting actor. Ends today at Augusta Exchange, begins Friday at Masters

DREAMGIRLS (***, PG-13) The title of the film is Dreamgirls, but it could have been called A Star Is Born. American Idol contestant and Golden Globe winner Jennifer Hudson walks away with this picture. Oscar nominations for Ms. Hudson for supporting actress and Eddie Murphy for supporting actor. Also nominated for art direction, costumes, sound mixing and original songs. Augusta Exchange, Evans, Aiken

FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS (R) Clint Eastwood's story of the servicemen who raised the flag at Iwo Jima. Oscar nomination for sound editing. Ends today at Masters

HAPPY FEET (***, PG) Best animated picture nominee. Penguins are hot, and they will stay hot with this animated feature. Evans

LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA (****, R) Best picture nominee. Best director nominee. Clint Eastwood's companion piece to his Flags of Our Fathers is the story of the Allied invasion of Iwo Jima from the Japanese point of view. Other Oscar nominations for original screenplay and sound editing. Augusta Exchange

NOTES ON A SCANDAL (****, R) Best actress nominee Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett and Bill Nighy in a movie about the consequences of an affair between a married mother (best supporting actress nominee Ms. Blanchett) and a minor who doesn't exactly come across as an innocent victim. Also nominated for adapted screenplay and original score. Evans, Augusta Exchange

PAN'S LABYRINTH (****, PG-13) A dark, adult fairy tale set in fascist Spain in 1944. Guillermo del Toro's fable has such potency and awesome beauty that it resurrects the primal thrill of stories that held us spellbound as children. Oscar nominations for best foreign film, art direction, cinematography, original screenplay, score and makeup. Begins Friday at Augusta Exchange

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS (***, PG-13) Will Smith (best actor nominee) plays a salesman struggling for a better life for himself and his son. Evans, Augusta Exchange

THE QUEEN (PG-13) Best picture nominee; also best actress nomination for Helen Mirren for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth, best director nomination for Stephen Frears, and nominations for original screenplay, costumes and original score. Evans, Augusta Exchange, ends today at Aiken


ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES (**, PG) Freddie Highmore stars as Arthur, who hunts for hidden treasure on his grandparents' farm and finds the animated mini-kingdom of the Minimoys. Evans, ends today at Augusta Exchange

BECAUSE I SAID SO (PG-13) A mother jaded by love meddles in her daughters' romantic affairs. Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore and Lauren Graham star. Augusta Exchange, Aiken, Evans

BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE (PG-13) It sucks when your girlfriend's a werewolf. Evans, Augusta Exchange

CATCH AND RELEASE (PG-13) Romantic comedy with Jennifer Garner and Kevin Smith. Evans, Augusta Exchange

CHARLOTTE'S WEB (***, G) Dakota Fanning stars in this adaptation of the E.B. White book. Augusta Exchange, ends today at Evans

DEJA VU (***, PG-13) ATF agent Denzel Washington time-travels to save a woman's life. Masters

EPIC MOVIE (PG-13) A goofy spoof of epic movies. Duh. Evans, Augusta Exchange, Aiken

ERAGON (**, PG) A farm boy realizes he's the only one who can save his home from an evil king in this fantasy adventure. Masters

FLUSHED AWAY (***, PG) A delightful story of a pampered pet mouse out of his element in the sewers of London. It's from the creative minds of Aardman Features (Wallace & Gromit, Shrek). Masters

FREEDOM WRITERS (***, PG-13) Hilary Swank leads a first-rate cast as a young, idealistic teacher who is placed in a classroom of "unteachables" and must use unorthodox methods to get them in line and make them want to learn. Augusta Exchange

THE HITCHER (R) Your mom was right: Bad things happen when you pick up hitchhikers. Augusta Exchange, ends today at Evans

THE HOLIDAY (**, PG-13) The owner (Cameron Diaz) of a Los Angeles company meets a journalist (Kate Winslet) online, and within minutes they agree to trade living arrangements for two weeks in this well-acted, thoroughly pleasant, quite competent but almost instantly forgettable. Masters

THE MESSENGERS (PG-13) U.S. debut of Hong Kong horror auteurs the Pang Brothers. A little boy sees dead people. Dylan McDermott and Penelope Ann Miller star. Augusta Exchange, Aiken, Evans

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM (**, PG-13) What happens when the exhibits come alive behind closed doors could have been a fun fantasy romp to invigorate our imaginations, but this falls very flat. The humor is bland and predictable, and the special effects are truly subpar. Augusta Exchange, Evans, Aiken

THE PAINTED VEIL (PG-13) Love in a time of rampaging cholera in 1920s China. A jaded socialite discovers meaning in her life when she battles the epidemic, and her own raging emotions. Naomi Watts and Edward Norton star. Evans

SMOKIN' ACES (*, R) So obviously derivative of Guy Ritchie's bloody, hyperkinetic style of ensemble crime flick, it could have been called Lock, Stock and Two Smokin' Aces. Evans, Augusta Exchange, ends today at Aiken

STOMP THE YARD (**, PG-13) Music video veteran Silvain White uses black styles of dance to punch life into a predictable story that would wilt without the flashy action. Augusta Exchange, Aiken, Evans

UNACCOMPANIED MINORS (PG) A group of youngsters makes the most of being snowed in at an airport. Masters


CONSTELLATION (PG-13) A chronicle of the lives and loves of a black family affected by an interracial affair. Billy Dee Williams and Rae Dawn Chong star. Ends today at Augusta Exchange

FACING THE GIANTS (PG) Effort from Albany, Ga., church combines faith and football. Ends today at Masters

SAW III (R) They don't call the sadistic cutup in this film series Jigsaw for nothing. Ends today at Masters


Night at the Movies

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