Originally created 05/06/04

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 augustachronicle.com/movies.

COMING FRIDAY

NEW YORK MINUTE: (H, PG) Designed as a vehicle to edge the Olsen twins into adolescence, but without any other appreciable qualities except their tireless cheerfulness. Augusta Exchange, Evans and Aiken

VAN HELSING (PG-13) Hugh Jackman stars as the monster-hunting Dr. Van Helsing, in pursuit of Dracula and the Wolfman, with an encounter with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thrown in. Augusta Exchange, Big Mo, Evans and Aiken

ONGOING

13 GOING ON 30 (HH, PG-13) Yet another comedy in which a child occupies an adult body, but without the charm and ingenuity of Big, Vice Versa and Freaky Friday. Jenna, 13, wishes herself an adult and becomes a 30-year-old Manhattan magazine editor (Jennifer Garner). Lonely and scared, she looks up her best childhood friend (now played by Mark Ruffalo), only to find she was mean to him and they haven't spoken in 17 years. Augusta Exchange, Evans and Aiken

AGENT CODY BANKS: DESTINATION LONDON (HH, PG) Another summer, another assignment for the CIA's ace teenage James Bond. Frankie Muniz teams up with Anthony Anderson in London to foil a plot to implant mind-control devices in people's teeth. Masters

BOBBY JONES: A STROKE OF GENIUS (HHH, PG) Bobby Jones may have been the greatest golfer of all time, winning a grand slam of four major tournaments before retiring in 1930 when he was only 28. He was an amateur defeating professionals, a man who had to earn a living and played mostly in major tournaments with gaps in between. Jim Caviezel stars in a respectful biopic that shows Jones as a tortured man who seems to find little joy in golf, and is often in pain. Augusta Exchange and Evans

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

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

DAWN OF THE DEAD (R) Zombies attack victims in a shopping mall. Augusta Village and Masters, opens Friday at Big Mo

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

ENVY (HH, PG-13) Jack Black becomes a zillionaire by inventing Vapoorize, a product that vaporizes dog poo. His neighbor Ben Stiller is consumed with envy, especially since Black remains loyal to the old neighborhood and builds a palatial mansion across the street. Augusta Exchange, Evans, and Aiken

EUROTRIP: (R) Raunchy teen road-trip comedy. Augusta Village, ends today at Masters

GODSEND (HH, PG-13) Greg Kinnear and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos star as parents whose only son is killed in an accident; Robert De Niro plays a scientist who offers them the opportunity to clone him. The grieving mother bears a child genetically identical to the dead boy, but he is haunted by terrifying images, and begins to act weirdly. Evans and Augusta Exchange

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

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

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

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. 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. Augusta Exchange, Evans, ends today at Aiken

LAWS OF ATTRACTION (HH, PG-13) Allegedly a comedy about opposites who attract, but Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore play divorce lawyers who aren't opposites, and who are immediately attracted. They do what they can, but the movie undermines the comic tension by making their romance a foregone conclusion. Augusta Exchange, Evans and Aiken

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

MAN ON FIRE (HH, R) Denzel Washington is a former terrorism expert, now depressed and an alcoholic, who gets a job as the bodyguard for a Mexican industrialist's family. He begins to love their little girl (Dakota Fanning), and when she's kidnapped and he is almost killed, he seeks revenge. Augusta Exchange, Evans and Aiken

MEAN GIRLS (HHH, PG-13) Lindsay Lohan is home-schooled in Africa by her parents, who are anthropologists, and so is a fish out of water when she lands in Evanston High School. She makes friends with two smart geeks (Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Franzese), who egg her on to become close to the most popular girl in school (Rachel McAdams) so they can sabotage her. Augusta Exchange, Evans and Aiken

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

SCOOBY DOO: MONSTERS UNLEASHED (HH, PG) A silly machine that whirls goofy antics before the eyes of easily distracted audiences. Aiken, Evans and 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). A gaunt, threatening stranger (John Turturro) appears at the door and accuses him of stealing one of his stories. Augusta Village and Masters

TAKING LIVES: (HHH, R) Angelina Jolie plays an FBI agent called in to assist the Montreal police in solving a baffling series of serial killings. She uses intuition to pick up the killer's vibes, creates a profile, figures out his pattern, and is helped when an art dealer (Ethan Hawke) is able to supply a sketch of a suspect. With Gena Rowlands as the suspect's mother, Olivier Martinez and Tcheky Karyo as local cops, and Kiefer Sutherland as a lurker. The ending is preposterous but not boring, and logic fails during other scenes, but the tone works and the actors go the distance. Opens Friday at Augusta Village

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

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

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. But the acting, especially by Thomas Jane as the Punisher, John Travolta as his enemy and Will Patton as the henchman, is compelling. Augusta Exchange and Evans

THE LAST SAMURAI (HHH, 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

TWISTED (H, R) Ashley Judd plays a homicide detective who drinks too much, blacks out, and finds herself investigating the murders of guys she has slept with. Augusta Village, ends today at Masters

YOU GOT SERVED (PG-13) Rarely do you encounter a movie without a shred of originality, but this is such a cinematic vacuum. Teen poster boys and brothers Omari Grandberry and Marques "Batman" Houston star as David and Elgin, the leaders of a street dance troupe. Masters and Augusta Village

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

ENDS TODAY

CONNIE AND CARLA (H, PG-13) Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) 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. Augusta Exchange

HIDALGO: (HHH, PG-13) Bold, exuberant and swashbuckling, like something Douglas Fairbanks or Errol Flynn might have bounded through. Viggo Mortensen stars as Frank Hopkins, a half-Indian cowboy bored by working in Buffalo Bill's show; he and his beloved mustang enter the Ocean of Fire, a deadly Saudi desert race with a $10,000 prize. Big Mo

NEVER DIE ALONE (HHH, R) Introspective morality tale about a midlevel drug dealer played by DMX. Augusta Village

THE ALAMO (HHH, 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

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. Evans, Augusta Exchange and Aiken

THE PRINCE AND ME (HH, 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. Evans, Augusta Exchange and Aiken