Terminator 2: Judgment Day

With Avatar opening Dec. 18, and Titanic 12 years behind him, it's fair to say that James Cameron doesn't make enough movies these days. An excellent action flick, the 1991 Terminator 2 represents Cameron during his hot streak, which began with the 1984 Terminator, the film that also elevated star Arnold Schwarzenegger to the A-list. T2 takes that iconic role and flips it: Schwarzenegger's time-traveling robot becomes the good guy battling the newer, scarier, more advanced model (Robert Patrick, when in human form) and defending future resistance leader John Connor (Edward Furlong). And though the famous quicksilver CG effects behind the puddling, morphing, unkillable T-1000 cyborg helped make the movie a huge hit, it's Linda Hamilton, as Furlong's well-muscled mother, who gives it soul. She starts the film in a nut house and behaves like a madwoman in her determination to protect her only child. Her maternal instinct is manifested in paranoia and violence. But then, as the Terminator tells young John in a father-son chat, "It's in your nature to destroy yourselves." (R) BRIAN MILLER

Sun., Nov. 15, noon; Nov. 16-17, 8 p.m.; Dec. 1-2, 8 p.m., 2009

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