Originally created 02/28/03

Mini reviews



THEATERS, RATINGS

Movies are listed with theater location 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.

JUST OUT

CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE (**, R) Jet LI and DMX in a movie that makes a sincere attempt to one-up previous cop-crook-buddy-sex-chase-caper-martia l-arts thrillers by exaggerating all the usual elements. But it's on autopilot and overdrive at the same time: It does nothing original, but does it very rapidly. Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

MOONLIGHT MILE (PG-13) Drama about a young man (Jake Gyllenhall) who suffers the devastating loss of his fiancee, then sets out to prove he would have been a perfect son-in-law to his fiancee's parents (Susan Sarandon and Dustin Hoffman). Augusta Village.

ONGOING

8 MILE (***, R) Eminem's debut film is a faithful reflection of his myth. His character, Rabbit, lives on the black side of town, where he finds acceptance from a posse of homies, especially from Future (Mekhi Phifer), who emcees the rap contests in which Rabbit performs. Eminem proves that he can act, but not that he can smile. With Kim Basinger as his slattern mother and Brittany Murphy as his maybe girlfriend. Augusta Village.

BIKER BOYZ (**, PG-13) A top cast in a good idea that doesn't pay off. Based on an article about bike clubs that meet for illegal street racing. Sounds like The Fast and the Furious but isn't nearly as supercharged and has nicer characters - maybe too nice. Laurence Fishburne is the champion racer; Derek Luke is the Kid who challenges him; Vanessa Bell Calloway is a key woman in both of their lives; and the cast includes Orlando Jones, Kid Rock, Djimon Hounsou, Lisa Bonet and Larenz Tate. Augusta Exchange and Masters.

CHICAGO (*** 1/2 , PG-13) Renee Zellweger as Roxie Hart, Chicago's favorite murderess, and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly, Chicago's previous favorite murderess, in a jazzy, brassy version of the hit Bob Fosse musical. Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Big Mo and Evans.

DAREDEVIL (***, PG-13) Ben Affleck plays a Marvel superhero who was blinded as a youth by an accident that gave him superpowers in his other four senses. By day he's a lawyer, by night a crime-fighter, up against Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan) and Bullseye (Colin Farrell). Jennifer Garner is his love, and when it rains on her head he can "see" her face with his ears. Better than your average superhero movie. Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

DARK BLUE (***, R) Kurt Russell and Scott Speedman star as two detectives who prowl the streets like free-lance buccaneers; we know this type and even their veteran-rookie relationship from Training Day, Narc and many other movies. Brendan Gleeson is the police official who uses them as his clean-up men; Ving Rhames is the top cop who knows they're crooked, and everything takes place in the final touchy days before the Rodney King verdict. Based on a story by James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential) and directed by Ron Shelton (White Men Can't Jump), it isn't a great movie, but it has moments that go off the meter and find visceral impact. Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

DARKNESS FALLS (PG-13) A young man returns to his hometown, which has been plagued by a mysterious evil for more than 150 years. Chaney Kley, Emma Caulfield and Joshua Anderson star. Augusta Exchange.

DELIVER US FROM EVA (**, R) Gabrielle Union plays Eva, oldest of the four Dandridge sisters. After the untimely death of their parents, Eva took on the task of raising the girls, and has never been able to stop giving the orders - not even now that they're grown up. This so annoys her sisters' men that they pool $5,000 and pay LL Cool J to seduce Eva and get her to move out of town. Aiken, Augusta Exchange and Masters.

DIE ANOTHER DAY (***, PG-13) Bond is back in his 20th movie in 40 years, and Pierce Brosnan fits convincingly into the role. The plot this time involves North Koreans and a heat-focusing satellite laser beam, and Halle Berry focuses heat as well, as the latest Bond girl. She's more action heroine, less adornment, than previous BGs, and the movie itself has a little more action and violence and a little less humor than before. Augusta Village.

DRUMLINE (***, PG-13) Nickelodeon's Nick Cannon plays a gifted drummer from Harlem, recruited for the championship marching band at Atlanta A&T. He's a hotshot, but also a showoff in need of maturity. Augusta Village.

FINAL DESTINATION 2 (* 1/2 , R) Inferior retread of the earlier film, in which characters who are doomed to die are saved - only to find they owe a life to death. Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

FRIDAY AFTER NEXT (**, R) Ice Cube and Mike Epps as roommates who are out of work and behind on the rent, and a ghetto Santa has stolen their Christmas presents. Lots of jokes involving drugs, sex and epic flatulence.Augusta Village.

GANGS OF NEW YORK (*** 1/2 , R) Martin Scorsese rips up the postcards of American history and reassembles them into a violent, blood-soaked story of our bare-knuckled past. The New York it portrays between 1830 and the Civil War is "the forge of hell," in which groups clear space by killing their rivals. Leonardo DiCaprio is the son of a martyred Irish-American leader, vowing to revenge his dad; Daniel Day-Lewis is the bloodthirsty Bill the Butcher, who killed him; and Cameron Diaz is a pickpocket who has loved both men. Big Mo.

GODS AND GENERALS (H1/2, PG-13) A Civil War movie that Trent Lott might enjoy. Less enlightened than Gone With the Wind, obsessed with military strategy, impartial between South and North, religiously devout, it waits 70 minutes before introducing the first of its two speaking roles for blacks; Stonewall Jackson assures his black cook that the South will free him, and the cook looks cautiously optimistic. If World War II were handled this way, there'd be hell to pay. Aiken, Augusta Exchange and Evans.

HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS (****, PG) Harry and his friends investigate a hidden chamber that may contain a monster and keys to old secrets. The characters from the first film are joined by Kenneth Branagh as a conceited professor, Miriam Margolyes as a biology teacher with a hilarious scene, and Jason Isaacs as the odious father of the odious Malfoy. Augusta Village.

HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS (* 1/2 , PG-13) Another one of those contrived movies where people make bets about love. Matthew McConaughey bets he can make Kate Hudson fall in love in 10 days, and she bets she can drive him away in 10 days. They deserve what they get, and we deserve better. Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Evans, Masters, Pal and Pastime.

KANGAROO JACK (PG) Jerry O'Connell and Anthony Anderson star in this family comedy about two best friends asked to deliver an important package to a mysterious man in Australia. The friends wind up pursuing a marsupial into the outback to retrieve the package. Augusta Exchange and Evans.

MAID IN MANHATTAN (PG-13) Sneak preview of romantic comedy with Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes. Augusta Village.

MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING (***, PG) Warm-hearted slice of life about a 30ish Greek-American woman from Chicago (Nia Vardalos) who meets Mr. Right (John Corbett) - but he's not Greek! Augusta Village.

NARC (***, R) A cold, hard film about Detroit narcotics detectives. Ray Liotta and Jason Patric star, as a veteran whose partner has been killed, and a younger cop assigned to join him in the investigation. If many cop-partner movies have a splash of "The Odd Couple," this one is about Bad Cop and Bad Cop. Their trek is convincing and unrelenting.Augusta Village.

NATIONAL SECURITY (PG-13) Martin Lawrence's rebellious behavior gets him kicked out of the police academy and into a security job where his overzealousness uncovers a smuggling operation. Steve Zahn and Eric Roberts co-star. Directed by Dennis Dugan. Augusta Exchange.

OLD SCHOOL (*, R) Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn, who clock in at an average age of 34, abandon their adult lives to return to campus and run a series of party houses at which they can meet hot chicks. Formless, witless, not funny, except for a few good scenes and some nice work by Mr. Ferrell as a compulsive nudist. Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

SHANGHAI KNIGHTS (***, PG-13) A nice mix of calculation and relaxed goofiness, as Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson once again team and enjoy playing their ridiculous roles. It's a period-Western-kung-fu comedy that, like its predecessor Shanghai Noon (2000), bounds from one gag to another like an eager puppy. Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Evans, Masters, Pal and Pastime.

SPY KIDS 2: THE ISLAND OF LOST DREAMS (***, PG-13) Carmen and Juni Cortez, the original Spy Kids, face the snot-nosed new kids Gary and Gerti Giggles. Augusta Village.

THE HOT CHICK (1/2 *, PG-13) Through an exchange of magic earrings, a thug played by Rob Schneider finds himself changing places with the sexiest girl in high school in a movie that is vulgar, tasteless, dumb and not funny. Augusta Village.

THE HOURS (*** 1/2 , PG-13) In Sussex in 1941, the novelist Virginia Woolf fills the pockets of her coat with rocks and walks into a river to drown. In Los Angeles in 1951, Laura Brown fills her purse with pills and checks into a hotel to kill herself. In New York in 2001, Clarissa Vaughn watches as the man she was once married to decides whether to let himself fall out of a window. Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep co-star with Stephen Dillane, John C. Reilly and Ed Harris in three stories that do not add up neatly, but illuminate mysteries of sex, duty and love. Augusta Exchange.

THE JUNGLE BOOK 2 (* 1/2 , G) So thin and unsatisfying it seems like a made-for-DVD version, not a theatrical release. Clocking in at 72 minutes and repeating the recycled song The Bare Necessities three if not four times, it offers a bare-bones plot in which Mowgli (Haley Joel Osment) wanders off into the jungle, is threatened by a tiger and a snake, takes care of his girlfriend, and is protected by a bear (John Goodman). Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

THE LIFE OF DAVID GALE (0 STARS, R) Kevin Spacey stars as a famous opponent of capital punishment, who, in what he must find an absurdly ironic development, finds himself on Death Row in Texas, charged with the murder of a woman (Laura Linney) who was also opposed to capital punishment. Kate Winslet is the journalist determined to prove his innocence. This movie is corrupt, intellectually bankrupt and morally dishonest, and if you doubt that, just consider for a moment the implications of the last revelation on the key videotape, which undermines the sacrifice of the hero simply to provide a cheap jolt to the slackjaws in the audience. Aiken, Augusta Exchange and Evans.

THE PIANIST (*** 1/2 , R) Roman Polanski's film is based on the experiences of Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody), a Polish Jewish pianist who survives the Holocaust by hiding out in the city, in an increasingly desperate struggle. The movie has a strength built on its refusal to turn this story into an uplifting parable. Evans.

THE RECRUIT (** 1/2 , PG-13) CIA veteran Al Pacino recruits MIT whiz-kid Colin Farrell for the agency's training program on The Farm, where Mr. Farrell falls in love with another agent (Bridget Moynahan), and is trapped in a web of intrigue. Augusta Exchange and Evans.

THE RING (**, PG-13) Newspaper reporter Naomi Watts learns of a video that kills those who watch it within seven days. Her investigation, also involving her young son (David Dorfman) and his father (Martin Henderson), leads into gruesome discoveries. Augusta Village.

THEATERS

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, 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

THOMSON TWIN CINEMA, Main Street, (706) 595-7317