Originally created 06/20/03

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

ALEX & EMMA (* 1/2 , PG-13) Luke Wilson plays a writer who will be killed if he doesn't finish his novel in 30 days, and Kate Hudson is the stenographer he hires to save him. They fall in love, not without difficulty, while the movie cuts between their story and the one he is writing -- which also stars Wilson and Hudson, she in four roles. Problem is, the story within the story is uninspired, and the outside story is predictable and not very exciting. Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY (PG) A post-American Idol concoction starring Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini, is 40 years removed from the similarly contrived Beach Party films with former Mouseketeer Annette Funicello and teen heartthrob Frankie Avalon. It's also 40 times better, which is no glowing recommendation. Augusta Exchange and Evans.

HULK (***, PG-13) Not only about a green monster but also about two wounded adult children of egomaniacs. Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) was fathered by a scientist (Nick Nolte) who experimented on his own DNA code. Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly), his research partner, is intimidated by her ferocious father, an Army general (Sam Elliott). The most talkative and thoughtful comic book adaptation, as director Ang Lee's characters actually talk about the issues of genetic experimentation and corporate exploitation. The special effects are a little weak, especially in the long shots, but this is a rare superhero movie that doesn't depend on them. Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

ONGOING

2 FAST 2 FURIOUS (***, PG-13) Two street racers are recruited as undercover cops to drive for a Miami drug lord, whose idea of sneaking millions of dollars from Miami to the Keys is to hire them to drive it there at a fifth the speed of sound. The movie's so shamelessly preposterous we shake our heads in disbelief; it doesn't have an idea in its head, but John Singleton directs with skill and style, and boy, is it fast and is it furious. Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Big Mo, Evans and Masters.

BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE (**, PG-13) Steve Martin and Queen Latifah are paired, he as an uptight rich lawyer, she as an escaped con who says she is innocent and needs a defender. They meet in an Internet chat room. He's expecting a blond bimbo, and when that's not the case they have comic struggles and misunderstandings - until, incredibly, he takes her case but not her hand, and Eugene Levy appears like a tag-team partner to carry her off. Augusta Village.

BRUCE ALMIGHTY (***, PG-13) Jim Carrey plays a TV reporter in Buffalo, N.Y., who goes ballistic when he's denied the anchor slot. He's fired, risks losing his girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston), and calls God to account. To his amazement, God (Morgan Freeman) responds, putting Carrey in charge - of Buffalo, anyway. Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Big Mo, Evans, Masters and Pastime.

BULLETPROOF MONK (**, PG-13) Chow Yun-Fat plays the Monk With No Name, entrusted with the Scroll of the Ultimate - which, if read aloud, grants the power to control the entire world. As the 60 years of his term draws to a close, he finds himself in New York, where a pickpocket (Seann William Scott) seems to fulfill the Three Prophecies predicting who would be the next to guard the scroll. Augusta Village.

CONFIDENCE (**, R) Edward Burns stars as Jake Vig, a confidence mastermind, whose crew makes the mistake of stealing $150,000 from the bagman for a deadly crimelord, Mr. King (Dustin Hoffman). Augusta Village.

DADDY DAY CARE (*, PG) Eddie Murphy and Jeff Garlin star as the operators of a cut-rate day-care center that could only terrify parents in the audience, although it may look like fun for their children. Anjelica Huston is the villainess, running a competing facility that actually looks like a much better school. Goes through the motions of comedy, but without inspiring laughs. Augusta Exchange and Evans.

DUMB AND DUMBERER: WHEN HARRY MET LLOYD (PG-13) All the gross-out humor of its 1994 predecessor Dumber and Dumber, but none of the goofy sweetness. Eric Christian Olsen stars as Lloyd and newcomer Derek Richardson plays Harry. To their credit, the duo have undergone such a complete transformation, it feels at times as if we are watching the original stars, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

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 Village.

FINDING NEMO (****, G) Story of a little clown fish who gets lost, and of his dad and another fish who team up to find him. Wonderful voice performances by Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres as Marlin and Dory (the dad, and the blue fish with short-term memory loss who helps on his search), plus Willem Dafoe, Barry Humphries and Alexander Gould as Nemo. Visually beautiful, an adventure for kids plus a humorous level adults will appreciate. Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

HEAD OF STATE (***, PG-13) An imperfect movie, but not a boring one. Chris Rock directs and stars in an angry comic attack on an electoral system where candidates don't say what they really think. After a major party loses its presidential candidate in a crash, an obscure Washington alderman is drafted - and shakes things up by saying what's really on his mind. With Bernie Mac as the bondsman brother, Tamala Jones as the girlfriend, and Lynn Whitfield and Dylan Baker as campaign advisers. Augusta Village.

HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE (***, PG-13) Cops, crooks, hookers, psychics, actors and real estate brokers in an action comedy starring Harrison Ford as a cop/broker and Josh Hartnett as a cop/actor. Funny, low-key dialogue, directed by Ron Shelton, who showed in Bull Durham and White Men Can't Jump that he's a master of goofy dialogue between guys. Lena Olin is the psychic who predicts where the bad guy will be, and there's the mother of chase scenes at the end. Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES (R) Robert Zombie - better known as rock musician Rob Zombie - makes his directing debut with this shocker about two couples who end up in the wrong place. Very wrong. Featuring Karen Black.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. Augusta Village.

KANGAROO JACK (PG) Jerry O'Connell and Anthony Anderson star as 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 Village.

LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS (***, PG-13) Director Peter Jackson's film is a visionary epic with mastery of its special effects, and it has a triumph in the character Gollum, completely computer generated but cheerfully ingratiating and loathsome at the same time. Augusta Village.

MALIBU'S MOST WANTED (** 1/2 , PG-13) Jamie Kennedy stars as "B-Rad," the son of a millionaire political candidate who poses as a gangsta rapper. Augusta Village.

PHONE BOOTH (***, R) A fast-talking, two-timing Broadway press agent (Colin Farrell) is using the last phone booth in Manhattan when he's pinned down by a sniper. The shooter seems to represent either God, demanding a confession of sins, or the filmmakers, having their revenge on publicists. Augusta Village.

RUGRATS GO WILD (**, PG) The Pickles family goes on a cruise and is shipwrecked on a deserted island where the Thornberrys are filming a documentary. So the two Nickelodeon franchises go head-to-head in a manic, shrill, nonstop story that has its moments but offers nothing for adults except the prospect of blessed silence at the end. Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Masters.

THE CORE (** 1/2 , PG-13) The Earth's core stops spinning, and to save mankind an emergency probe is sent to penetrate the planet's mantle and set off nuclear explosions to get it spinning again. Much sillier than it sounds, but only a notch down from Congo, Anaconda, Lara Croft, Tomb Raider and other guilty pleasures. Augusta Village.

THE ITALIAN JOB (***, PG-13) Gold thieves have an ingenious way to steal a safe in Venice, and then the action moves to the Alps and Los Angeles. With Edward Norton, Mark Wahlberg, Mos Def, Seth Green, Donald Sutherland and Charlize Theron as the sexy safecracker. Augusta Exchange and Evans.

THE MATRIX RELOADED (*** 1/2 , R) The second installment in the trilogy shows the buried human city of Zion for the first time, furthers the progress of Neo (Keanu Reeves) from geek to Christ figure, and introduces the Architect (Helmut Bakaltis), who says he is the designer of the Matrix. Aiken, Augusta Exchange, Evans and Pal.

WRONG TURN (R) Slasher makes quick work of teens in West Virginia. Augusta Exchange.

X2: X-MEN UNITED (***, PG-13) The second in the series is better than the first, with several sequences of skilled visual invention, but the story exists entirely in its moments. The civics lesson this time involves the right to privacy, as the superheroes battle the Mutant Registration Act. How you register a mutant who can teleport or shape-shift is not explained. With Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen and Brian Cox. Augusta Exchange and Evans.

THEATERSAIKEN MALL, 300 Eastgate Drive, (803) 641-0000AUGUSTA EXCHANGE 20, Wheeler Road at Bobby Jones Expressway, 667-9713AUGUSTA VILLAGE, 1323 Augusta West Parkway, 860-4990BIG MO DRIVE-IN, U.S. Highway 1, Monetta, S.C., (803) 685-7949 EVANS 12 CINEMAS,Belair Road at Washington Road, 869-1269MASTERS 7 CINEMAS,2824 Washington Road, 736-4444PAL THEATER,134 W. Broad St., Louisville, Ga., (912) 625-9998PASTIME THEATER,Sandersville, Ga., (478) 625-9998THOMSON TWIN CINEMA, Main Street, (706) 595-7317