Originally created 04/15/04

Mini reviews



THEATERS, RATINGS

Movies are listed with theater locations through Wednesday. Reviews without star ratings are from critics other than Roger Ebert. Listings subject to change. Call theaters for times. For an online movie guide, see augusta.com/movies

COMING FRIDAY

KILL BILL: VOLUME 2 (HHHH, R) An exuberant celebration of moviemaking, coasting with heedless joy from one audacious chapter to another, working as irony, working as satire, working as drama, working as pure action. I liked it even more than Kill Bill (2003). Uma Thurman continues her mission of revenge, this time confronting Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), Bill's brother Budd (Michael Madsen) and Bill himself, played richly by David Carradine, who has the presence to come after all the other villains and trump them basically with dialogue. Augusta Exchange, Evans

THE PUNISHER (HH, PG-13) A long, dark slog through grim revenge. Unlike most movies based on comic book heroes, it doesn't contain the glimmer of a smile, and its hero is a depressed alcoholic -- as well he might be, since his entire family is massacred before his eyes. The movie is depressing and its action veers strangely from scenes of convincing drama to moments of sheer goofiness. But the acting, especially by Thomas Jane as the Punisher, John Travolta as his enemy and Will Patton as the henchman, is compelling; the movie has real qualities, but loses track of its purpose and mood; we feel battered down and depressed, emotions we probably don't seek from comic book heroes. Augusta Exchange, Evans

CONNIE AND CARLA (H1Ž2, PG-13) Fresh from the enormous success of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Nia Vardalos writes and stars in a real disappointment. She and Toni Collette play childhood friends who dream of showbiz success. Their lounge act stinks, and after they witness a mob murder they flee to Los Angeles and disguise themselves as drag queens. They never for a moment seem to be plausible as males, but that's not as big a problem as the wheezy plot, which borrows from Some Like It Hot without understanding it. Augusta Exchange

ONGOING

BIG FISH (HH1Ž2, PG-13) Albert Finney plays an old man on his deathbed who keeps repeating fantastical legends. Augusta Village and Masters

BROTHER BEAR (HHH, G) Three brothers have their destiny transformed when one is killed by a bear, another is changed into a bear and the third mistakenly targets his bear brother for vengeance. Augusta Village

CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (HHH, PG) Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt are lovable in a sweet remake of the 1950 classic. Augusta Village, ends today at Masters

CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE DRAMA QUEEN (PG) Painfully unfunny affair despite earnest performances from Lindsay Lohan and her teen co-stars. Augusta Village and Masters

DAWN OF THE DEAD (R) Zombies attack victims in a shopping mall. Augusta Exchange

DIRTY DANCING: HAVANA NIGHTS (HH, PG-13) Romola Garai moves with her family from St. Louis to Havana, is fixed up with a rich boy, but falls for the Cuban waiter (Diego Luna). And yes, it all adds up to the big dance contest, with her parents astonished to see her out there on the floor. Opens Friday, Augusta Village and Masters

ELLA ENCHANTED (HHH1Ž2, PG) A real charmer of a family comedy, starring Anne Hathaway as Ella, a young beauty in a fairy-tale kingdom. Evans, Augusta Exchange

HELLBOY (HHH1Ž2, PG-13) Ron Perlman plays the title character, who fights for mankind against the Nazi-spawned monsters of hell. Augusta Exchange, Aiken and Evans

HOME ON THE RANGE (HH, PG) The Patch of Heaven ranch faces foreclosure, and the cows decide to save it. Augusta Exchange, Aiken and Evans

JERSEY GIRL (HHH1Ž2, PG-13) After he loses his wife and his job, Ben Affleck moves back to New Jersey to live with his father (George Carlin) and young daughter (Raquel Castro). Augusta Exchange and Evans

JOHNSON FAMILY VACATION (HH, PG-13) Cedric the Entertainer hits the road with his family to attend the annual family reunion, in a genial but unfocused comedy. Augusta Exchange and Evans

LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (HHH1Ž2, PG-13) At last, the full arc is visible, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy comes into final focus. Augusta Village, Big Mo and Masters

MY BABY'S DADDY (PG-13) Three babies born out of wedlock create lifestyle changes for their fathers. Masters

MYSTIC RIVER (HHHH, R) Clint Eastwood's 24th film as a director, one of his best, is a dark, ominous brooding about a crime in the present linked to a crime in the past. It involves three boyhood friends who were marked when one was captured by a child molester; when one of their daughters is murdered, as adults, old emotions well to the surface. Opens Friday, Augusta Village and Masters

SCOOBY DOO: MONSTERS UNLEASHED (HH, PG) A silly machine that whirls goofy antics before the eyes of easily distracted audiences. Aiken, Evans Pastime and Augusta Exchange

THE ALAMO (HHH1Ž2, PG-13) Billy Bob Thornton gives one of his best performances as Davy Crockett, abashed by the legends that have grown up about him. Evans, Augusta Exchange and Aiken

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (H, R) Masquerading as a teen comedy, this is a squalid and seamy story about a teenager (Emile Hirsch) who falls in love with a teen porn actress (Elisha Cuthbert). Evans, Augusta Exchange and Aiken

THE LADYKILLERS (HH, R) Tom Hanks stars in a remake of the classic 1955 British comedy that starred Alec Guiness as a "musician" who rents a room from a sweet old lady and uses it as a base to plot his criminal schemes. Evans and Augusta Exchange

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT (HH, R) Ashton Kutcher stars as a boy who keeps journals of his troubled childhood and finds out as a college student that he can use them to revisit the past and change things- improving the future, although it doesn't always work out that way. Augusta Village, ends today Masters

THE HAUNTED MANSION (HH1Ž2, PG) Eddie Murphy and Marsha Thompson play married real estate agents who are summoned to a vast old manor. Taking along their kids, they stumble onto a ghost story. Augusta Village

THE PRINCE AND ME (HH1Ž2, PG) Julia Stiles is the Wisconsin farm girl and Luke Mably is the prince of Denmark in the latest version of the age-old formula. A sweet, innocent story, ideal for girls of a certain age but perhaps not for everybody else. Augusta Exchange, Aiken and Evans

THE LAST SAMURAI (HHH1Ž2, R) Tom Cruise plays a shabby Civil War veteran who meets a proud samurai warrior (Ken Watanabe) in a Japan moving away from its traditions. Augusta Village

THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (HHHH, R) A harrowing and graphic depiction of the suffering and death of Jesus, filmed without compromise. Some will be moved, others horrified. The most violent film I have ever seen, and one of the most deeply felt. Augusta Exchange, Aiken and Evans

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (0 STARS, R) A contemptible film: vile, ugly and brutal. There is not a shred of a reason to see it. Augusta Village

THE WHOLE TEN YARDS (H, PG-13) Bruce Willis plays Jimmy the Tulip, former hit man, hiding out in Mexico while his new wife (Amanda Peet) works as a hit woman. Evans, Augusta Exchange

TORQUE (HH, PG-13) Martin Henderson stars as a biker who has been framed for the murder of rival biker Ice Cube's brother; this leads to a gang war crossed with a drug war and a police chase. Augusta Village

YOU GOT SERVED (PG-13) Rarely do you encounter a movie without a shred of originality, but this is such a cinematic vacuum. Welcome to the world of competitive dancing. Teen poster boys and brothers Omari Grandberry (also known as Omarion) and Marques "Batman" Houston of the R&B singing groups B2K and IMX, respectively, star as David and Elgin, the leaders of a street dance troupe. Augusta Village and Masters

WALKING TALL (HH, PG-13) The Rock stars in a remake of the 1973 hit inspired by righteous Sheriff Buford Pusser and his big oak club. Augusta Exchange, Big Mo, Pal, Aiken and Evans

ENDS TODAY

MIRACLE (HHH, PG) Kurt Russell plays the real-life Herb Brooks, who coached the 1980 American Olympic championship hockey team. Masters, Augusta Village

NEVER DIE ALONE (HHH1Ž2, R) Introspective morality tale about a mid-level drug dealer played by DMX. Augusta Exchange

SECRET WINDOW (HHH, PG-13) Johnny Depp in another one of those performances of musing eccentricity, as a thriller writer who is living alone in a cabin in the woods after splitting with his wife (Maria Bello). Augusta Exchange

SPARTAN (HHHH, R) David Mamet's thriller is on a large scale; the president's daughter is kidnapped, and the Secret Service, FBI, CIA, Special Ops and White House get involved. Augusta Village

WELCOME TO MOOSEPORT (HHH, PG-13) Gene Hackman plays a former U.S. president who retires to the Maine hamlet of Mooseport and suddenly finds himself running for mayor against the local plumber (Ray Romano). Maura Tierney, the plumber's long-suffering girlfriend, is asked out to dinner by the ex-pres, causing no end of local intrigue. Augusta Village