Originally created 08/08/03

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

S.W.A.T. (***, PG-13) Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Farrell co-star in the time-honored roles of veteran officer and young hothead. Mr. Jackson's elite S.W.A.T. team also includes Michelle Rodriguez and James Todd Smith (aka LL Cool J); their assignment is to escort a wanted man (Olivier Martinez) to prison despite his $100 million reward for anyone who springs him. Unlike routine, mindless, wall-to-wall action movies, this one has a plot and characters, dialogue and plausibility. Augusta Exchange, Aiken, Masters and Evans.

FREAKY FRIDAY (***, PG) The body-switch formula never dies, and this time provides lively entertainment, thanks largely to the fun Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan have in their roles. They wake up to find themselves magically occupying each other's bodies, so that the mother (inside the daughter) has to deal with a teenage boyfriend, while the daughter (inside the mother) has to meet psychiatric patients. And there's a wedding coming up! Augusta Exchange, Aiken Masters, and Evans.

ONGOING

28 DAYS LATER (***, R) A man awakens from a coma in a hospital to discover that London is deserted. Old newspapers tell of a virus that causes rage and makes people turn savagely on one another. He finds a few survivors, and they journey to Manchester, where an army unit is sending out radio messages. With Cillian Murphy as the survivor and Naomie Harris as a tough-minded black woman who unsentimentally deals with the merciless nature of the virus. Augusta Exchange.

AMERICAN WEDDING (***, R) Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan are the would-be newlyweds, resilient in the face of a relentless barrage of embarrassment, scandal, vulgarity, misunderstanding and offenses against hygiene. Proof that no genre is beyond redemption; funny and, you know what? Sweet. Masters, Evans, Aiken and Augusta Exchange.

ANGER MANAGEMENT (**, PG-13) Adam Sandler plays a mild-mannered guy named Dave Buznik, who just got a promotion and is in love with Marisa Tomei. Through bizarre misunderstandings, he is misdiagnosed as a person filled with rage, and assigned to therapy with the famed specialist Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson). Augusta Village.

BAD BOYS II (*, R) A bloated, unpleasant assembly-line extrusion in which mindless activity substitutes for plot, characters and common sense. A couple of scenes are startling in their cruelty: the humiliation of a kid on his first date, and the destruction of a hillside village by the heroes in a rampaging Hummer. Masters, Augusta Exchange, Aiken and Evans.

BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM (*** 1/2 , PG-13) Jess (Parminder K. Nagra) is an Indian girl living in London, whose traditional Sikh parents want her to marry a nice Indian boy. What she wants to do is play pro soccer. What makes the movie special is the bubbling energy of the cast and the warm joy with which Gurinder Chadha tells her story. Augusta Exchange and Evans.

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 Mr. Carrey in charge - of Buffalo, anyway. Augusta Village.

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. 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 Village.

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. 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. Augusta Exchange and Evans.

GIGLI (** 1/2 , (R) Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are mob enforcers who are assigned to guard the kidnapped retarded brother (Justin Bartha) of a federal prosecutor. He falls in love with her, she likes him a lot - but she's a lesbian, which opens the movie to original situations you don't get in the average romantic comedy. But the good pieces are surrounded by too much other stuff, and although we like the characters, we don't for one minute believe they're mob killers. Aiken, Masters, Evans and Augusta Exchange

HOLES (*** 1/2 , PG) Kids at a desert juvenile detention center spend all day digging holes. Their strange imprisonment was first told in an award-winning novel for young adults by Louis Sachar, and now he writes the screenplay for an original, intriguing film directed by Andrew Davis (The Fugitive). Talented young actors, led by Shia LaBeouf and Khleo Thomas, are joined by Jon Voight, Sigourney Weaver, Tim Blake Nelson and Patricia Arquette. Augusta Village.

IDENTITY (***, R) On a dark and stormy night, 10 travelers are stranded in a fleabag motel with the dippy manager - and one by one they begin to die, in a movie that straddles the Agatha Christie and slasher genres. With John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, John C. McGinley, Rebecca De Mornay, Alfred Molina and Jake Busey. Augusta Village.

JOHNNY ENGLISH (* 1/2 , PG) More than 40 years after James Bond, yet another British spy spoof, this one tired and listless. Rowan Atkinson stars as an incompetent secret agent, a character popularized in a series of British credit card commercials. John Malkovich is the villain, with an accent almost as bad as his hairpiece. Evans.

LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER: THE CRADLE OF LIFE (***, PG-13) A vastly entertaining Indiana Jones-style adventure with Lara the tomb raider racing against a villain to find Pandora's Box and its contents of death for humanity. Angelina Jolie is admirably resolute, and I was impressed by the way she hitches a ride on a shark. Augusta Exchange, Aiken, Masters and Evans.

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.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL (***, PG-13) There's a nice little 90-minute B movie trapped inside the 143 minutes of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, a movie that charms the audience and then outstays its welcome. Too much swashing, endless buckling. And yet, Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush fearlessly provide performances that seem nourished by deep wells of nuttiness. Augusta Exchange, Aiken, Evans, Masters, Big Mo and Pal.

SEABISCUIT (*** 1/2 , PG) The best seller becomes a moving, well-made film, ideally cast with Jeff Bridges as the horse's owner, Chris Cooper as the trainer who sees greatness in him, and Tobey Maguire as the jockey who bonds with him heart and soul. Thrilling races, track intrigue, and a portrait of the time as well. Augusta Exchange, Aiken and Evans.

SPY KIDS 3-D: GAME OVER (* 1/2 , PG) A flat and lifeless story, and a real disappointment after the high spirits of the first two Spy Kids movies. And the 3-D doesn't help.Augusta Exchange, Aiken, Evans, Masters and Big Mo.

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN (*, PG-13) Assembles a splendid team of heroes to battle a plan for world domination, and then, just when it seems about to become a real corker of an adventure movie, plunges into incomprehensible action, idiotic dialogue, inexplicable motivations, causes without effects, effects without causes and general lunacy. What a mess. With Sean Connery as Allan Quartermain, joined by Captain Nemo, Tom Sawyer, Dorian Gray, Jekyll and Hyde and others. Augusta Exchange and Pastime.

THE LIZZIE MCGUIRE MOVIE (**, PG) Teen TV star Hilary Duff stars as a junior high graduate who goes on the class trip to Rome and meets an Italian pop idol who says she is a dead ringer for his estranged singing partner. She sneaks away from the trip, sees Rome from the back of his scooter, and ends up singing a duet with herself (don't ask) on Italian TV. Augusta Village.

TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES (**1/2, R) John Connor is still the unwitting savior of the future and Arnold Schwarzenegger is still his protector in a continuation of the Terminator stories that focuses more on nonstop action than on the ideas and paradoxes of the earlier films. Nick Stahl lacks Edward Furlong's edgy discontent as Connor, and Kristanna Loken, as a deadly Terminatrix, somehow lacks the ominous qualities of Robert Patrick in T2. Augusta Exchange and Evans.

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

THEATERSAIKEN 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