Capsule reviews of recently released films 


AFGHAN STAR (NR) A look at how contestants on the musical contest program "Pop Idol" in Afghanistan risk their lives to appear on the show.

ALIENS IN THE ATTIC (PG) When Tom, Jake and friends discover that the aliens' mind control guns do not work on kids, it is up to them to save their parents and the rest of the world from the invasion, all before bedtime.

FUNNY PEOPLE (R) See review.

HUMPDAY 4 stars (R) See review.

SHRINK 2 stars (R) See review.


BARBARELLA (1968) Jane Fonda plays a sexually liberated space adventuress in Roger Vadim’s cult film based on a French comic strip. One of the characters inspired the name of the band Duran Duran. $3-$5. Times vary. July 31-Aug. 2. Comic Book Film Fest. Cinefest Film Theatre, Georgia State University, University Center, 66 Courtland St., Suite 240. 404-413-1798. — Curt Holman


PURPLE RAIN (1984) 3 stars (R) The electrifying performance footage easily makes up for the trite romance and backstage subplots of this loosely autobiographical film from Prince in his musical prime. Songs include “Let’s Go Crazy,” “When Doves Cry” and the title tune, with Morris Day and the Time offering some memorable competition as a mean-spirited rival band. Screening in conjunction with an exhibit of 1980s-inspired art. Art Opening and a Movie. $8. 9:30 p.m. Aug. 4, 7-8. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. — Holman

AWAY WE GO 3 stars (R) "The Office's" John Krasinski and "Saturday Night Live's" Maya Rudolph play an unmarried bohemian couple who travel across the continent to pick out a place where they can raise their unborn child. Written by the husband-and-wife novelist team of Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, the comedy's structure emulates the Ben Stiller comedy Flirting with Disaster as the couple encounter broadly comedic bad parents in other cities, most memorably Maggie Gyllenhaal as a feminist who takes attachment parenting to a kooky new level. Director Sam Mendes takes a change of pace from Revolutionary Road's portrait of a hellish marriage, but the film's scruffy charms barely conceal its lack of substance. — Holman

BRUNO 2 stars (R) Austrian fashion journalist Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen) criss-crosses the world in his quest to become famous and ambush unsuspecting straight guys with dildos and discussions of anal bleaching. In his follow-up to his 2006 uber-hit Borat, Cohen presents essentially the same setup and structure, but comedic lightning fails to strike twice. Bruno elicits just enough laughs to be worth seeing, but the character's not nearly as endearing as Borat, and such hot-button topics as gay marriage, homosexual conversion and "don't ask, don't tell" score fewer political points than you'd expect. — Holman

DRAG ME TO HELL (PG-13) Sam Raimi, director of the Spider-Man trilogy, gets back to his Evil Dead horror roots in this promisingly lurid-looking thriller in which Alison Lohman rejects the mortgage extension of a spooky old woman, only to find herself on the receiving end of a demonic curse. It could be The Omen for an age of home foreclosures

ENLIGHTEN UP!  2 stars (NR) Filmmaker Kate Churchill explores the multibillion dollar yoga industry by sending 29-year-old ex-journalist Nick Rosen on an extensive immersion in various yoga disciplines from Manhattan to India. The film begins as a tongue-in-cheek exposé along the lines of a Morgan Spurlock film, but takes a more reverent turn as Nick connects to sensible "gurus." Intriguing tension develops between the filmmaker and subject when Nick fails to experience a spiritual transformation, but the film goals seem misguided from the outset. — Holman

EVERY LITTLE STEP 3 stars (PG-13) This behind-the-scenes documentary about Broadway's recent revival of A Chorus Line captures the spirit of the hit musical far better than Sir Richard Attenborough's misguided 1985 film version. Life imitates art when would-be Broadway stars dance their hearts out in rehearsal rooms and sing A Chorus Line's signature tunes. The film traces A Chorus Line's origins from a late-night marathon conversation involving choreographer Michael Bennett and other dancers, while generating "American Idol"-type suspense as we wait to see who gets cast. — Holman

FADOS 3 stars Focuses on fado, a type of music that can be traced back to 1820s Portugal. Through a series of musical vignettes, we journey through the history of fado, studying its various styles and permutations as it absorbs Brazilian and African influences.

(500) DAYS OF SUMMER 2 stars (PG-13) Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a hapless would-be architect who falls for free-spirited Summer (Zooey Deschanel), despite her aversion to emotionally committed relationships. Quirky to a fault but nicely acted by Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel, the film offers a fresh substitute for cookie-cutter rom-coms, but Woody Allen brought more insight to scrambled chronology and surreal set-ups in Annie Hall. Summer would be on stronger ground if it offered a strong female perspective to balance Gordon-Levitt’s character. — Holman



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  • Re: Fresh air

    • Local band Manchester Orchestra, who provided the soundtrack, probably would have appreciated a shout-out.

    • on June 29, 2016
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