Mini Reviews




COP OUT (R): In his first outing as a filmmaker for hire, Kevin Smith directed but did not write this comedy about two New York City cops (Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan) tracking down a thief who has stolen a priceless baseball card. Augusta Exchange, Evans, Aiken

THE CRAZIES (R): George A. Romero's little-seen 1973 cult classic gets a slicker -- and much more gory -- remake. Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson and Danielle Panabaker live in a small Iowa town where residents turn into snarling lunatics after the local water supply is contaminated. Augusta Exchange, Evans, Aiken

AVATAR ( ***1/2, PG-13): Best director Oscar nominee James Cameron's live-action/animation 3-D hybrid centers on a war between blue-skinned aliens. Augusta Exchange, Evans

DEAR JOHN ( **, PG-13): Nicholas Sparks' novel about a soldier (Channing Tatum) who falls in love with a college student (Amanda Seyfried) while home on leave. Augusta Exchange, Evans, Aiken

EDGE OF DARKNESS ( **, R): Mel Gibson plays a detective investigating the death of his daughter. Augusta Exchange, last day Evans and Aiken

FROM PARIS WITH LOVE ( ***, R): An FBI agent (John Travolta) and a member of the U.S. ambassador's staff in Paris (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) race to thwart a terrorist attack. Augusta Exchange, last day Evans

INVICTUS ( ***, PG-13): Morgan Freeman portrays Nelson Mandela. Begins Friday, Masters

IT'S COMPLICATED ( ***, PG-13): Comedy about a divorcee (Meryl Streep) dating an architect (Steve Martin) and her ex (Alec Baldwin). Masters

LEGION (R): After God figures out that mankind is no longer worthy of him and decides to start over, the Archangel Michael (Paul Bettany) helps a group of mortals fend off the apocalypse. Augusta Exchange

NINE ( **, PG-13): Ron Marshall's film inspired by the 1983 Broadway musical in turn based on the 1962 Federico Fellini movie about a director in crisis. Begins Friday, Masters

PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF ( **1/2, PG): A teenager (Logan Lerman) discovers he's the direct descendant of a Greek god. Augusta Exchange, Evans, Aiken

PLANET 51 (PG-13): Little green people of a faraway planet fear they're about to be invaded when an Earthling (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) makes landfall. Masters

SHUTTER ISLAND ( **1/2, R): Bad things are happening at a remote hospital for the mentally ill. Augusta Exchange, Evans, Aiken

THE BLIND SIDE ( **1/2, PG-13): Best picture Oscar nomination for this film about a homeless teen taken in by a wealthy couple (best actress nominee Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw) as part of a college-football recruitment program. Evans, Aiken

THE BOOK OF ELI ( ***, R): Denzel Washington stars as a man wandering a bombed-out planet and carrying the possible key to mankind's future. Augusta Exchange, Evans

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG ( ***1/2, G): The Walt Disney Co. gets back to old-school, pen-and-ink animation. Masters

THE ROAD ( ***, R): Adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, with Viggo Mortensen and newcomer Kodi Smit-McPhee as a father and son trudging across a post-apocalyptic America. Begins Friday, Masters

THE TOOTH FAIRY ( *1/2, PG): A minor-league hockey player (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) is sentenced to serve as a real-life tooth fairy. Augusta Exchange, Evans, Aiken

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON ( ***, PG-13): After vampire Edward leaves, Bella finds comfort with a werewolf. Masters

THE WOLFMAN ( *1/2, R): Lawrence Talbot, a haunted nobleman, is lured back to his family estate after his brother vanishes. He discovers his horrifying destiny. Augusta Exchange, Evans, Aiken

TO SAVE A LIFE: (PG-13) Popular teen reaches out to social misfits. Evans

VALENTINE'S DAY ( ***, PG-13): The stories of a group of Angelenos as they find their way through romance over the course of one Valentine's Day. Augusta Exchange, Evans, Aiken

WHEN IN ROME ( *, PG-13): Kristen Bell plays a New Yorker who steals some coins from a fountain during a visit to Rome and finds herself pursued by a never-ending chain of Romeos. Evans

Fox/Associated Press

CRAZY HEART ( ****, R): A broken-down country singer, Bad Blake, becomes involved with a journalist and takes stock of his career and his life. Oscar nominations for best actor (Jeff Bridges), best supporting actress (Maggie Gyllenhall) and best song. Augusta Exchange, Evans



Pop Rocks: Augusta, my Christmas wish list has one thing

My family often accuses me of being a difficult person to Christmas shop for. While it is true that my tastes run toward the particular and tend to lean heavily on easy-to-wrap standards such as books and records, I believe that as I get older, I’m less concerned with the item than the idea. Give me something I believe you have thought about and carefully considered, and I’m happy. The present clearly purchased at the drug store the day before is met with considerably less enthusiasm.

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