Originally created 07/31/98

Mini reviews



Movies are listed with theater location for today through Thursday. For an online guide to movies in the Aiken-Augusta area, check out movies@ugusta. The service provides movie times, locations and reviews as well as maps and door-to-door directions to theaters. There's also information about restaurants, bookstores, nightclubs and other nearby businesses.

Just out

BASEKETBALL (*1/2 , R)

Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of South Park on TV, co-star in a comedy about a game that combines basketball, baseball, volleyball and trash-talking. Isolated funny moments, but the movie loses lots of opportunities for a genuinely subversive attack on pro sports, and takes the low road of shock humor.
Evans, Augusta Village and Regency Mall.

EVER AFTER (***, PG)

Drew Barrymore stars in the "true story of the little cinder girl," and we learn what really happened before the Brothers Grimm transmuted everything into the legend of Cinderella. Surprisingly engaging and entertaining, with Anjelica Huston as the wicked stepmother, Dougray Scott as Prince Henry of France and Patrick Godfrey as Leonardo da Vinci, who is a sort of fairy godfather.
Evans.

THE NEGOTIATOR (R)

Samuel L. Jackson is a hostage negotiator who finds himself framed for murder and embezzlement in this thriller.
Evans, Augusta Village, Masters, Aiken Mall and Regency Mall.

THE PARENT TRAP (***, PG)

Sunny, entertaining remake of the 1961 classic, with Lindsay Lohan seamless in a double performance as twins, separated at birth, who scheme to get their divorced parents back together again. Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson use warmth and humor in creating a romance that is surprisingly touching; there are good supporting performances by his housekeeper and her butler, and by Elaine Hendrix as the voracious blonde who threatens to marry Quaid before the parent trap can spring. Escapist fun for kids; not too soppy for parents.
Evans, Augusta Village and Aiken Mall.

Ongoing

ARMAGEDDON (*, PG-13)

When an asteroid the size of Texas threatens Earth, Bruce Willis leads a crew of oil drillers turned astronauts into space to nuke the chunk of rock. Can they prevent doomsday?
Masters, Augusta Village, Evans, Regency Mall and Aiken Mall.

DISTURBING BEHAVIOR (**, R)

A newcomer to a small island community (James Marsden) is warned by the school wiseguy and rebel (Nick Stahl) that the clean-cut kids in class have all been brainwashed by a local cult. Joined by black-clad Katie Holmes, they try to keep free, in a teen-age version of The Stepford Wives. Not very involving and never really scary.
Evans, Regency and Augusta Village.

DOCTOR DOLITTLE (***, PG-13)

Eddie Murphy plays a famous doctor who regains a childhood gift of being able to talk with the animals. Basically Mr. Murphy is the straight man and the laughs belong to the animals, especially Rocky the guinea pig, with a voice by Chris Rock. Lots of barnyard humor and gross-out physical stuff, but nothing harmful.
Evans, Aiken Mall, Regency Mall, Masters and Augusta Village.

LETHAL WEAPON 4 (**, R)

A grand action series is finally running out of inspiration. The first and second parts were magical, the third was OK, but the fourth time around the conviction and urgency seem to be missing. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover co-star, as wisecracking cops who talk themselves into danger, and Joe Pesci and Rene Russo are back in continuing roles; Chris Rock is new, as a cop who's secretly married to Glover's daughter. Richard Donner orchestrates spectacular stunts and special effects, but the heart of the movie seems to be missing.
Masters, Augusta Village, Aiken Mall, Evans and Regency.

MAFIA (**, PG-13)

An Airplane!-style spoof by Jim Abrahams, who worked on that classic and the Naked Gun movies, and here recycles the formula. There are laughs in the scenes parodied from Casino and the Godfather pictures, and it's fun to see the late Lloyd Bridges having fun with Brando's famous tomatoes-and-death scene, but the approach is getting a little tired.
Evans and Augusta Village.

THE MASK OF ZORRO (***, PG-13)

The mysterious masked fighter for justice foils the plans of the evil Don Rafael, who then kills Zorro's wife, imprisons Zorro (Anthony Hopkins) and raises his daughter (Catherine Zeta-Jones) as his own. Years pass, Don Rafael (Stuart Wilson) hatches a plan to seize control of California, and then a young bandit (Antonio Banderas) is trained by the old Zorro to take up the tradition of the mask, the whip and the sign of the Z.
Evans, Augusta Village, Aiken Mall, Masters and Regency.

MULAN (*** 1/2 , G)

The new Disney animated picture is different in both story and style. It's a tale of a medieval Chinese teen-age girl who disguises herself as a boy to fight in her father's place against the Huns. An exciting story, inspired comic relief by Eddie Murphy (as the voice of a scrawny dragon), and animated art that blends the Disney tradition with classical Asian drawings and modern Japanese anime. Fun for adults as well as children.
Augusta Village and Regency Mall.

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (****, R)

Steven Spielberg's World War II epic stars Tom Hanks as an officer assigned to lead a group of men into battle and find Private Ryan (Matt Damon), whose three brothers have already died in the war. The Army brass wants Ryan brought home to his mother as a publicity gesture. But Mr. Hanks and his men take a more realistic view of the war and of their duty, in a philosophical film about war that is told almost entirely in terms of action, not words. The opening sequence of the landing at Omaha Beach is brutal in its impact; the ultimate decisions made by the soldiers are inescapable in their logic. With Edward Burns, Tom Sizemore and Jeremy Davies --who is unforgettable as a frightened translator.
Masters, Augusta Village, Aiken Mall and Evans.

MALL SOLDIERS (** 1/2 , PG-13)

Inspired special effects and animation, seamlessly blended with live action -- but who is the movie for? As toys go to war, the bad guys are so violent and mean-spirited, and the action so graphic, that smaller kids might be terrified. Technically superb, but confused in its intentions, it's like two movies for the price of one: a cute one with goofy toy figures, and a scary one with ugly ones. The nice movie would have been enough.
Augusta Village and Evans.

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY (***, R)

Explosively funny comedy by the Farrelly brothers (Dumb and Dumber and Kingpin), starring Cameron Diaz as a babe who obsesses men -- especially her high school classmate Ben Stiller, who tracks her down 13 years later. The plot is just a clothesline for the screwball sight gags, which have audiences howling in disbelief.
Masters, Evans, Aiken Mall and Augusta Village.

Budget theaters

CAN'T HARDLY WAIT (* 1/2 , PG-13)

This year's high school graduation comedy, graceless and unfunny, starring Ethan Embry as a would-be writer who has had a crush on Jennifer Love Hewitt for four years and gets his last chance when her boyfriend dumps her.
Columbia Square.

CITY OF ANGELS (***, PG-13)

The best of the recent Hollywood angel movies, with Nicolas Cage as an angel, solemnly regarding humanity, and Meg Ryan as a heart surgeon who, in a moment of despair, can actually see him. They fall in love.
Columbia Square.

HOPE FLOATS (**, PG-13)

Sandra Bullock learns on a talk show that her husband is cheating on her with her best friend. Devastated, she flees with her daughter to her Texas hometown, where her mother (Gena Rowlands) tries to fix her up with an old boyfriend (Harry Connick Jr.). Sentiment alternates with melodrama in a movie that opens with weirdness and then zeroes in on conventionality.

Mark Twin.

THE HORSE WHISPERER (***, PG-13)

When a young girl (Scarlett Johansson) has her leg amputated after a riding accident, her mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) decides that the horse and her daughter need to heal together. She drives them West in search of a legendary horse trainer (Robert Redford), who indeed has a healing touch.

Columbia Square.

OUT OF SIGHT (*** 1/2 , R)

Rich comic chemistry between bank robber George Clooney and federal marshal Jennifer Lopez, in a crime movie whose plot is second to the human comedy. Adapted from an Elmore Leonard novel, it reflects the master's deep comic ease. Filled with memorable supporting performances by Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Dennis Farina and Albert Brooks.

Columbia Square.

TITANIC (****, PG-13)

This 194-minute, $200 million film of the tragic voyage is in the tradition of the great Hollywood epics. It is flawlessly crafted, intelligently constructed, strongly acted and spellbinding.

Columbia Square.

THE X-FILES: FIGHT THE FUTURE (***, PG-13)

It works. But I don't understand how. The continuation of the cult TV hit stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as FBI agents Mulder and Scully, who find themselves in the middle of a vast cover-up of Aliens Among Us. Much is explained about the aliens, but in such murky terms that by the end you don't understand exactly what has happened. But the atmosphere is effective, the movie looks good, and there are action scenes involving bizarre, original settings.

Mark Twin.

Kid's movies

PRINCESS AND THE GOBLIN (G) Evans, 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday.

A FAIRY TALE (PG) Evans, 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday; Regency, 10 a.m. and noon Tuesday and Wednesday.