Originally created 09/26/03

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

DUPLEX (**, PG-13) Drew Barrymore and Ben Stiller play a yuppie couple who find a dream apartment in Brooklyn. There's one catch - it's a duplex, but the upstairs is occupied by a sweet little old lady (Eileen Essel) who pays $88 a month. She makes life miserable for them, until finally they contemplate murder, in a one-joke movie that's difficult because, no matter how annoying she becomes, the neighbor still seems so sweet. Augusta Exchange, Aiken, Evans and Masters

LUTHER (**, PG-13) Martin Luther was the moral force of the Reformation; I doubt if he was much like the uncertain, tremulous figure played by Joseph Fiennes. Audiences seeking inspiration will find a neurotic scold who lacks passionate joy in his convictions. Peter Ustinov is amusing as Frederick the Wise, twinkling over his collection of sacred relics. Augusta Exchange

THE RUNDOWN (*** 1/2 , PG-13) A surprisingly entertaining adventure movie, funny and exciting, with star-making performances by The Rock, Rosario Dawson and Seann William Scott (of American Pie fame). The Rock plays a bounty hunter, paid to track down Scott in the Amazon, and Dawson is the sexy local bartender with a big secret. Christopher Walken has another one of his incomparable supporting performances, lecturing jungle Indians on the Tooth Fairy. Augusta Exchange, Aiken, Masters and Evans

UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN (***, PG-13) Diane Lane stars in a lush lifestyle romance based on the Frances Mayes best-seller. Newly divorced, she impulsively buys a villa in Tuscany, rehabs it with difficulty, has romantic misadventures, and meets lots of colorful people. The plot is paint-by-numbers, but Lane glows with good cheer, and we enjoy the escapism. Augusta Exchange and Evans

ONGOING

2 FAST 2 FURIOUS (***, PG-13) Two street racers are recruited as undercover cops to drive for a Miami drug lord. The movie's so shamelessly preposterous we shake our heads in disbelief, but boy, is it fast and is it furious. Augusta Village

28 DAYS LATER (***, R) A man (Cillian Murphy) 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. Augusta Village

AMERICAN WEDDING (***, R) Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan are would-be newlyweds, resilient in the face of a relentless barrage of embarrassment, scandal, vulgarity, misunderstanding and offenses against hygiene. Augusta Village and Pastime

BAD BOYS II , R) A bloated, unpleasant assembly-line extrusion in which mindless activity substitutes for plot, characters and common sense. 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. Augusta Village

CABIN FEVER (* 1/2 , R) Unsure of whether it wants to be a horror film, a comedy, an homage, a satire or a parable, Cabin Fever tries to cover every base. Five recent grads rent a cabin in the woods and are confronted by a blood-covered man who has a disease they may all eventually get. Augusta Exchange, Masters and Evans

COLD CREEK MANOR (* 1/2 , R) Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone seek a fresh start in the country by buying an old manor that looks like The House of the Seven Gables crossed with The Amityville Horror. They hire the former owner, Stephen Dorff, to rehab it for them, even though he's an ex-con with a missing family and an ominous leer. Augusta Exchange, Aiken and Evans

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. Augusta Village

DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR (**, PG-13) David Spade stars as a hapless 35-year-old who has never recovered from being a child star. When director Rob Reiner says he's not a real person, Dickie hires a family to give him the childhood he never had - and that's when the satire of the early scenes sinks into a morass of sentiment. Augusta Exchange, Aiken and Evans

FREAKY FRIDAY (***, PG) Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan play a mother and daughter who wake up to find themselves magically occupying each other's bodies. Augusta Exchange and Evans

JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 , R) Every 23rd spring, for 23 days, it gets to eat. But it's only been two years since we had to see a movie about it. Augusta Exchange

MARCI X (R) Lisa Kudrow, clueless daughter of an ailing record-label exec, tries to control the antics of rapper Damon Wayans. Things probably turn out friendly. Augusta Village

MATCHSTICK MEN (****, PG-13) Nicolas Cage stars in three brilliant movies for the price of one: (1) the story of a crisis in the life of a man crippled by neurotic obsessions; (2) the story of two con men who happen onto a big score; and (3) the story of a man who meets the teenage daughter he never knew he had, and finds himself trying to care for her. Augusta Exchange, Aiken, Masters and Evans

MATRIX RELOADED (R) High-tech action thriller's second outing. Augusta Village

ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO (***, R) After the $7,000 El Mariachi and the $3 million Desperado, Robert Rodriguez completes his trilogy with this $30 million epic. Antonio Banderas is back as the deadly mariachi.. Augusta Exchange, Aiken, Masters and Evans

OPEN RANGE (*** 1/2 , R) A deeply involving and beautifully made Western, expressing the personal values of a cowboy named Boss (Robert Duvall) and his employee of 10 years, Charley (Kevin Costner). They graze their cattle on the open range, and when a rancher named Baxter forces a showdown, they stand up to him. Evans

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. Augusta Exchange and Evans

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. Augusta Exchange and Evans

SECONDHAND LIONS (***, PG) Haley Joel Osment plays a 12-year-old who is dumped for the summer on the Texas farm of his two weirdly fascinating uncles, Garth (Michael Caine) and Hub (Robert Duvall). Is Hub really a foreign legionnaire whose great love was with a desert princess? Hub teaches that it's not important whether something's true or not, only that you believe it. Augusta Exchange, Aiken, Evans and Masters

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 is to escort a wanted man (Olivier Martinez) to prison despite his $100 million reward for anyone who springs him. Augusta Exchange and Pal

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. Augusta Village

THE FIGHTING TEMPTATIONS (***, PG-13) Cuba Gooding Jr. gets fired from a New York ad agency just as his Aunt Sally dies in his Georgia hometown. Her will would make him rich - if he can lead the local choir into a gospel competition. He stays, partly because he's moonstruck by Lilly (Beyonce Knowles), a local singer. Augusta Exchange, Aiken, Evans and Masters

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 Village

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 chaos. Augusta Village

UNDERWORLD (**, R) Vampires at war against werewolves who plot to crossbreed with humans, in a movie that is all surfaces and special effects, with a story and characters so shallow we don't much care who wins. Augusta Exchange, Aiken, Evans and Masters

UPTOWN GIRLS (***, PG-13) Brittany Murphy channels Lucille Ball in the story of a dizzy rich orphan whose rock-star parents died in a crash. When she suddenly loses her fortune and is forced to work for a living, this eternal child gets a job as nanny for a prematurely old and bitter 8-year-old (Dakota Fanning). Augusta Village

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