Originally created 06/28/02

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.


HEY ARNOLD! THE MOVIE (PG) Nickelodeon cartoon star makes the jump to the big screen as Arnold seeks to save his neighborhood from gentrification. Aiken Mall, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

MR. DEEDS (* 1/2 , PG-13) Insincere and unconvincing remake of the 1936 Frank Capra classic, with Adam Sandler in the Gary Cooper role as Mr. Deeds. Unfunny jokes, many of them involving feet, and love interest from Winona Ryder as a treacherous tabloid TV reporter. Aiken Mall, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

OPENING WEDNESDAY See Wednesday's Your Life section for reviews of the following movies.

LIKE MIKE (PG) Hip-hopper Bow Wow makes the jump to the NBA. Evans and Masters.

MEN IN BLACK II (PG-13) Agents K and J save the universe. Aiken Mall, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

POWER PUFF GIRLS (PG) Neon-colored moppets make their big screen debut and save Townsville from bad monkey Mojo Jojo. Evans and Masters.


ABOUT A BOY (*** 1/2 , PG-13) Hugh Grant gives one of his best performances as a 38-year-old bachelor who's never held a job or had a relationship last longer than two months. Nicholas Hoult co-stars as the young boy who adopts him; the prematurely wise boy and the eternally immature man learn a lot from each other, in one of the year's most entertaining movies. With Toni Collette and Rachel Weisz. Augusta Village.

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS (R) Ice Cube stars as Bucum Jackson, a risk-taking bounty hunter who finds himself in the middle of a serious scenario. Two-bit con artist Reginald Wright (Omar Epps) has jumped bail - again - and Bucum comes after him. Augusta Village.

BAD COMPANY (**, PG-13) CIA operative Anthony Hopkins recruits Chris Rock, identical twin of a murdered CIA man, to front in a sting to buy a nuclear weapon from terrorists. Augusta Exchange.

BLADE 2 (*** 1/2 , R) Half-human, half-vampire Blade (Wesley Snipes) is recruited by the Vampire Nation to help them battle the Reapers, which attack humans AND vampires. Augusta Village.

CLOCKSTOPPERS (** 1/2 , PG) Jesse Bradford stars as a teen-ager who has to venture into hyperspace to rescue his inventor dad from the evil Michael Biehn. His new girlfriend, Paula Garces, is lots of help, also easy on the eyes. Fun for the Nickelodeon target audience, but with few consolations for parents and older siblings. Augusta Village.

DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD (* 1/2 , PG-13) Ellen Burstyn stars as an alcoholic mom who is offended when her playwright daughter (Sandra Bullock) criticizes her in an interview. Ms. Burstyn's childhood friends (Shirley Knight, Maggie Smith, Fionnula Flanagan) kidnap Ms. Bullock and bring her home so she can get to know her mother better. Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

ENOUGH (* 1/2 , PG-13) Jennifer Lopez stars as a poor waitress who marries a rich man (Billy Campbell) who seems like a nice guy but turns into such an unlikely caricature of hard-breathing, sadistic testosterone that he cannot possibly be a real human being. An overwrought, ludicrous soap opera. Augusta Exchange and Pal.

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (PG) Jim Carrey stars as the Mean One in Ron Howard's version of the Dr. Seuss classic. 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday, Evans.

INSOMNIA (*** 1/2 , R) Christopher Nolan (Memento) remakes a splendid 1998 Norwegian thriller. Al Pacino stars as an L.A. cop called to northern Alaska to consult on a case; Martin Donovan is his partner, Hilary Swank is the local detective, and Robin Williams is the killer who insinuates himself into Mr. Pacino's life in a most disturbing way. Augusta Exchange.

JASON X (1/2 *, R) The frozen body of Jason is discovered centuries from now and taken onboard a spaceship, where it stars in a low-rent rip-off of the Alien pictures. Eviscerations, decapitations and skewerings, separated briefly by inane dialogue. Augusta Village.

JIMMY NEUTRON: BOY GENIUS (G) Animated fare with Patrick Stewart and Martin Short. 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday, Evans.

JOHN Q (* 1/2 , PG-13) Denzel Washington stars as a factory worker whose son needs a heart transplant. James Woods and Anne Heche are the hospital authorities who demand cash in advance; John Q. takes hostages and demands that his son go to the top of the recipients' list. Augusta Village.

JUWANNA MAN (**, PG-13) Thrown out of the pros for flashing the audience, a basketball star evades bankruptcy by dressing in drag and becoming a star of the women's leagues. Miguel A. Nunez Jr. stars, Vivica A. Fox is the teammate he loves but cannot confide in, and Kevin Pollak is the long-suffering manager. Augusta Exchange and Evans.

LILO AND STITCH (*** 1/2 , PG) A surprisingly delightful animated comedy from Disney, about a hostile alien creature named Stitch, who escapes to Earth, lands on Hawaii, and is adopted as the pet of a little girl named Lilo. Bright, smart, funny, with lots of pop culture jokes and six songs by Elvis. Aiken Mall, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

MINORITY REPORT (****, PG-13) Steven Spielberg is a master filmmaker at the top of his form, working with a star, Tom Cruise, who generates complex human feelings even while playing an action hero. Set in 2054, it stars Mr. Cruise as the chief of the Department of Precrime, which uses precognitives to stop crimes before they are committed. Aiken Mall, Augusta Exchange, Big Mo, Evans and Masters.

MURDER BY NUMBERS (***, R) Sandra Bullock is a cop assigned to a grisly murder. Clues seem to point to an obvious suspect, and that's good enough for her partner (Ben Chaplin). But she's intrigued by two brainy high school kids (Ryan Gosling and Michael Pitt), who seem to be daring her to notice them. Augusta Village.

PANIC ROOM (***, R) Jodie Foster and her teen-age daughter (Kristen Stewart) move into a Manhattan brownstone with a "safe room" - a room that can be barricaded against home invaders. Their first night, invaders do arrive. The thriller, which doesn't cheat or have loopholes, becomes a deadly chess game in which the winner will be the better strategist. Augusta Village.

SCOOBY-DOO (*, PG) Live-action version of the TV cartoon series, with actors playing all the characters except for Scooby-Doo, who is animated, and steals the show. Perhaps of interest to Scooby-Doo aficionados. Nothing much for anyone else. Aiken Mall, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

SPIDER-MAN (**, PG-13) Imagine Superman with a Clark Kent more charismatic than the Man of Steel, and you'll understand how Spider-Man goes wrong. Tobey Maguire is pitch-perfect as the socially retarded Peter Parker, but when he becomes Spider-Man, the film turns to action sequences that zip along like perfunctory cartoons. The action scenes are a disappointment. Aiken Mall, Augusta Exchange and Evans.

SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON (***, G) The latest animated movie from DreamWorks tells the story of Spirit, a wild mustang stallion who runs free on the great Western plains before he ventures into the domain of man and is captured by U.S. cavalry troops. Because the horse doesn't speak, he seems more dignified and less like a cute cartoon character, and his story takes on the strength of a fable. Augusta Exchange.

STAR WARS: EPISODE II - ATTACK OF THE CLONES (**, PG) A love story between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala with more regret than chemistry. The title is more appropriate than it should be. Augusta Exchange and Evans.

THE BOURNE IDENTITY (***, PG-13) A movie that exists only to expend kinetic energy, which it does well. Matt Damon stars as a trained killer who is saved from certain death, has no memory of who or what he is, and seeks answers in a deadly game against CIA operatives. Aiken Mall, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (***, PG-13) J.R.R. Tolkien's masterpiece has been transmuted into a modern sword-and-sorcery epic at the cost of the book's naive and guileless vision. Augusta Village.

THE NEW GUY (PG-13) There are smart movies and funny movies on the subject of white kids taking on a black "gangsta" pose as an identity in high school. This is neither. Every time it is about to reach a comic or intellectual epiphany, it sputters, wasting another perfectly good moment. Augusta Village.

THE ROOKIE (G) Dennis Quaid stars as a West Texas high school baseball coach who never realized his dream of pitching in the big leagues. His team discovers he still has a mean fastball, and makes him promise to try out for the majors if they can get to the finals. After the setup, autopilot takes over. Augusta Village.

THE SCORPION KING (** 1/2 , PG-13) The Rock stars as a professional assassin hired to kill the Scorpion King. Special effects so carelessly exuberant you can grin at them. Lots of nubile maidens, attacks by sword, fire, scorpion, cobra and fire ants, and Kelly Hu as the sorceress. Augusta Village.

THE SUM OF ALL FEARS (PG-13) Ben Affleck takes over from Harrison Ford in the role of Tom Clancy's CIA hero Jack Ryan, this time faced with right-wing renegades in possession of a nuclear weapon. More of a chiller than a thriller, a detail-packed scenario in which the United States and Russia are brought to the brink of war by a meddlesome third party. Aiken Mall, Augusta Exchange, Big Mo and Evans.

UNDERCOVER BROTHER (PG-13)Eddie Griffin is Undercover Brother, a do-gooder with a thing for the 1970s. He's recruited for the BROTHERHOOD, a top-secret organization that fights for "truth, justice and the African-American Way." The BROTHERHOOD is fighting "The Man," literally. He's an evil genius bent on the "whitewashing" of America. Augusta Exchange.

WINDTALKERS (**, R) Starts with the fascinating story of Navajos who use their language to fashion an unbreakable code in World War II - and then buries that material in routine war-movie cliches. The Navajos are even upstaged in their own movie by Nicolas Cage, as an Italian-American sergeant who is the only well-developed character. Augusta Exchange, Evans and Pastime.


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