Originally created 12/14/01

Mini reviews


Movies are listed with theater location for today through Thursday. Reviews without star ratings are from critics other than Roger Ebert. Listings are subject to change. Call theaters for times.

For an online movie guide, check out augusta.com/movies. The service provides theater locations and movie times.


LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS (***, PG-13) J.R.R. Tolkien's masterpiece has been transmuted into a modern sword-and-sorcery epic, heavy on action and special effects, at the cost of the book's naive and guileless vision. As the story proceeds, the hobbits are moved off center stage and become supporting characters while wizards, elves, men and monsters stand astride their little world and steal their thunder. The film is, to be sure, an impressive achievement; director Peter Jackson has mounted a state-of-the-art action fantasy, with inspired special effects. With Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee, Viggo Mortensen, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett. OPENS WEDNESDAY. Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE (**, R) A satire that assembles the cliches, obligatory scenes and standard characters from three recent subgenres of the teen movie (prom, cheerleader and tasteless sex) and cross-fertilizes them, if that is the word, with the John Hughes teen-ager movies of the 1980s. There are some laughs, but not enough, and besides - don't recent teen movies do an adequate job of satirizing themselves? Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

VANILLA SKY (***, R) Tom Cruise stars as a Manhattan publishing exec who has what he thinks is a casual affair with Cameron Diaz. He falls in love with Penelope Cruz, to the Diaz character's intense anger, and that triggers basic changes in his life - so basic, the very premise of the movie itself is called into question. Puzzles within puzzles within puzzles, in a film you might want to sit through twice, just to be sure you have everything straight. Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.


13 GHOSTS (*, R) A father, son, daughter, nanny and two ghostbusters enter the strange house of Uncle Cyrus, which contains 12 grotesque ghosts in containment cages. Flash-frames attack the eyes, and the noise level is painful; maybe the filmmakers thought turning up the volume would convince the audience that something was happening. Augusta Village and Augusta Exchange.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES (* 1/2 , PG-13) A Navy pilot tries to elude Serbian capture in a showdown between a man begging to be shot and an enemy that can't hit the side of a Bosnian barn. Owen Wilson stars as the hot-shot pilot who wanders across open fields, stands on hilltops and otherwise makes himself a target, and Olek Krupa plays the Serbian tracker. Aiken Mall, Augusta Exchange, Masters and Evans.

BONES (R) Rapper-turned-actor Snoop Dogg plays a bad dude from beyond the grave seeking revenge in a retro disco. Augusta Village.

DON'T SAY A WORD (** 1/2 , R) Michael Douglas plays a shrink whose daughter is kidnapped because the villain wants him to perform emergency psychiatry on a mental patient whose subconscious holds a precious secret. Brittany Murphy is effective as the patient; Sean Bean is the depraved kidnapper; Sky McCole Bartusiak makes a plucky little victim; and Jennifer Esposito is a cop who brings new meaning to the notion of the nick of time.Augusta Village.

FROM HELL (***, R) Johnny Depp stars as an opium-smoking, quasi-psychic Scotland Yard detective assigned to the Jack the Ripper murders. Heather Graham is the prostitute he befriends; Robbie Coltrane is his Watsonlike assistant; and Ian Holm is the queen's surgeon, all too keen on lobotomy. Augusta Village.

HARDBALL (** 1/2 , PG-13) Keanu Reeves stars as a compulsive gambler who finds redemption as coach of an inner-city youth baseball team. The film would be better if it told us more about gambling, the inner city and coaching baseball. But it drifts above the surface, content to stick to the formula. Augusta Village.

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE (****, PG) A red-blooded adventure movie, dripping with atmosphere, filled with the gruesome and the sublime, and surprisingly faithful to the novel. Daniel Radcliffe plays Harry, an apprentice sorcerer with great prospects, who attends Hogwarts School and makes friends and enemies while negotiating the eccentricities of the faculty. Augusta Exchange, Aiken Mall, Pal, Pastime, Masters and Evans.

IRON MONKEY (***, PG-13) Beautifully restored release of the 1993 classic, starring Donnie Yen as a martial-arts master whose son is held prisoner by the governor until he can capture the dreaded Iron Monkey. But the Monkey is a good guy, stealing from the rich, giving to the poor, etc., and so they team up against a common enemy in a series of spectacular action scenes.Augusta Village.

JOY RIDE (*** 1/2 , R) Would-be sweethearts Paul Walker and Leelee Sobieski head cross-country with his mischief-seeking brother (Steve Zahn), and after a practical joke misfires the three become the prey of an omniscient truck driver in a big, mean semi. Augusta Village.

K-PAX (***, PG-13) Kevin Spacey plays Prot, an intergalactic tourist, and Jeff Bridges is the psychiatrist, in a movie that explores the thin line between the delusional and the very unlikely. The film ends in mystery, after intriguing us with two characters who develop a relationship that can work, in a way, whether or not Prot is from space. Augusta Village.

MONSTERS, INC. (***, G) A jolly, exciting animated movie, with virtuoso work on the character of Mike Wazowski (voice by Billy Crystal), a monster who looks like a green eyeball with limbs, and uses a single eyebrow to produce a full range of facial expressions - without a face. Other voices include those of John Goodman, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly, Steve Buscemi and Bonnie Hunt. Masters, Evans, Aiken Mall and Augusta Exchange.

MULHOLLAND DRIVE (****, R) At last, a David Lynch nightmare movie that works. Laura Elena Harring and Naomi Watts play archetypal Hollywood types, a sexy brunette and a bubbly blonde, who meet by chance and team up to search for a missing identity. Their story is intercut with backstage murder threats, auditions, Nancy Drew-style bravery, rotting corpses, dwarfish masterminds and smoldering sex scenes. A movie to surrender yourself to. If you require logic and closure, see something else. Augusta Exchange.

OCEAN'S ELEVEN (***, PG-13) Steven Soderbergh's remake of the 1960 Sinatra caper is slick and superficial - and, on that level, amusing. George Clooney is the ex-con who wants to knock over three casinos; Andy Garcia owns them; and Julia Roberts is the con's ex-wife and the casino owner's current squeeze. I can think of more ingeniously executed plans, but then this is not a movie about suspense but about suavity. Evans, Masters, Augusta Exchange and Aiken.

OUT COLD (PG-13) High-altitude high jinks come to an abrupt halt for Rick (Jason London) and his slacker buddies when a good ole boy entrepreneur (Lee Majors) buys the Alaskan mountain resort where they work and turns it into a yuppie haven. Augusta Exchange and Evans.

PRINCESS DIARIES (* 1/2 , G) Modern fairy tale about a San Francisco 15-year-old (Anne Hathaway) who discovers that she is heir to the throne of Genovia. Her grandmother (Julie Andrews) comes to collect her, triggering a plot of unrelenting predictability and cliches. Augusta Village.

RUSH HOUR 2 (* 1/2 , PG-13) Retread of the Rush Hour formula, with the stunts but without most of the laughs. Chris Tucker is like a cloud over the production, bringing it to a halt with endless, obnoxious rants against whites and Asians. Jackie Chan soldiers away with spectacular stunts. Augusta Village.

SHALLOW HAL (***, PG-13) Hal (Jack Black) was advised by his father to look for quick results in romance and not to fall for "love." He turns into a shallow party animal, but then guru Tony Robbins programs him to see inner beauty. Then he meets Rosemary, a Peace Corps volunteer who weighs about 250 pounds but looks, to Hal, like Gwyneth Paltrow. Aiken Mall, Evans through Tuesday and Augusta Exchange.

SPY GAME (R) Robert Redford plays Nathan Muir, a veteran CIA agent on the brink of retirement. On his last day of work, he learns that Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt), a former protege whom he hasn't seen in six years, is imprisoned in China, jailed on charges of espionage and scheduled to die in 24 hours. So Muir spends the day outwitting his fellow agents at CIA headquarters, surreptitiously pulling strings to free Bishop. Will Muir save Bishop? Would a mainstream movie kill off Brad Pitt and end on a downer? Aiken Mall, Pastime, Augusta Exchange and Evans.

THE BLACK KNIGHT (PG-13) Catapult Martin Lawrence back in time six centuries or so to the age of knights, and poof, a ready-to-serve comedy about a bad-boy street jester going medieval. Mr. Lawrence plays a time-traveling, malcontent worker at a Middle Ages theme park who takes up arms against a meanie monarch in old England. Fans of Mr. Lawrence's goofy physical comedy and wisenheimer attitude will eat this movie up. He's mouthy, klutzy, randy and rude, but his character is sweet and decent at heart. Augusta Exchange, Aiken Mall, Evans and Masters through Tuesday.

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (***, PG-13) Throwback to the fun summer exploitation movies of the past, with Vin Diesel as the leader of a pack of Los Angeles street racers and Paul Walker as the newcomer who wants to break into the sport. Augusta Village.

THE LAST CASTLE (***, R) The story of a war hero who becomes the prisoner of a tin soldier. Robert Redford stars as a former POW, hero of the Persian Gulf and Bosnian campaigns, sentenced to a military prison under the command of James Gandolfini, a sadistic sentimentalist. Their clash of wills leads to a thrilling climax, but it comes at the cost of common sense and raises tricky questions about the Redford character's judgment. Augusta Village.

THE ONE (* 1/2 , R) There are 124 parallel universes, and if Jet Li can kill the other Jet Lis who live in 123 of them he will have the strength of 124 men and be The One. Why he would want to go to such trouble is never explained. Augusta Exchange.

THE WASH (R) Rappers Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg play bumbling workers in a car wash. Augusta Exchange.

TRAINING DAY (***, R) Denzel Washington plays a Los Angeles cop so vile and violent he makes The French Connection's Popeye Doyle look like Officer Friendly. Augusta Village.


AIKEN MALL, 300 Eastgate Drive, (803) 641-0000

AUGUSTA EXCHANGE 20, Wheeler Road at Bobby Jones Expressway, 667-9713

AUGUSTA VILLAGE, 1323 Augusta West Parkway, 860-4990

BIG MO DRIVE-IN, CLOSED FOR SEASON; U.S. Highway 1, Monetta, S.C., (803) 685-7949

EVANS 12 CINEMAS, Belair Road at Washington Road, 869-1269

MASTERS 7 CINEMAS, 2824 Washington Road, 736-4444

PAL THEATER, 134 W. Broad St., Louisville, Ga., (912) 625-9998

PASTIME THEATER, Sandersville, Ga., (478) 625-9998


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