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Capsule reviews of recently released films 

 

 

OPENING FRIDAY
BRIGHT STAR 4 stars (PG) See review.

FAME (PG) The High School Musical franchise no doubt inspired this PG-rated "reinvention" of the R-rated Alan Parker film from 1980 about the students and teachers at the New York School of Performing Arts.

PANDORUM (R) Two astronauts (Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster) wake aboard a spacecraft with no memory of who they are. After exploring the ship, they discover other crew members and realize that an event has occurred that could affect the survival of the entire human race.

PARIS (R) Adored director Cédric Klapish (L'Auberge Espangole) and a cast of all-star French actors (including Juliette Binoche, Romain Duris, Melanie Laurent, Fabrice Luchini, Francois Cluzet and Karin Viard) give us a unique and romantic story of Parisian life and love.

SURROGATES (PG-13) Based on a graphic novel by Atlanta's Robert Venditti, this sci-fi adventure stars Bruce Willis as a cop investigating a rash of crimes in a futuristic city where the citizens live their public lives through android "surrogates." Directed by Jonathan Mostow of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

A WOMAN IN BERLIN (NR) See review.


DULY NOTED
FANFARES OF LOVE (NR) (1951) This German farce about two male musicians who dress as women to make a living was the inspiration for Billy Wilder's famous Some Like It Hot (1959). Emory provides a rare opportunity to watch the film - unavailable in any home video format - in 35 mm. Free. 6 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 24. White Hall, Room 205, Emory University. 404-727-6761. www.filmstudies.emory.edu/.

INSIGNIFICANT THINGS (2008) Andrea Martinez's character-driven drama set in Mexico City explores the intricacies of everyday life through the eyes of an elderly child psychiatrist, a young woman who works in a corner cafe, a doctor with a secret, and a kid being treated for cancer. $6-$7. Fri., Sept. 25. High Museum, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-4570. www.high.org.

RODAN 3 stars (NR) (1956) Monster movie fans tend to regard Rodan as Godzilla's flying sidekick, but the mutant pteranodon makes a cheesily entertaining debut in his "solo" adventure. The Japanese kaiju horror flick also features some scary-cool moments with giant pillbug-like insects in a mine tunnel. $7-$10. 1 and 10 p.m. Sat., Sept. 26. Silver Scream Spook Show. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave.  404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.


CONTINUING
9 3 stars (PG-13) In a post-apocalyptic city, robotic ragdolls, including inquisitive 9 (voiced by Elijah Wood), fight off the remnants of the war machines that destroyed humanity. With so many computer-animated cartoon features devoted to pop-savvy kiddie comedies about talking animals, it's refreshing to see a CGI adventure with a unique vision. Director Shane Acker's vision of jerry-rigged, Rube Goldberg-style inventions and landscapes can be fascinating. That said, 9 is PG-13 for a reason, and may be too intense for little kids and too dark for many adults. It's like Pinocchio vs. Terminator. - Curt Holman

A PERFECT GETAWAY (R) Cliff and Cydney (Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich) are an adventurous young couple celebrating their honeymoon by backpacking to one of the most beautiful - and remote - beaches in Hawaii. Hiking the wild, secluded trails, they believe they've found paradise. But when the pair comes across a group of frightened hikers discussing the horrifying murder of another newlywed couple on the islands, they begin to question whether they should turn back.

ALIENS IN THE ATTIC (PG-13) Aliens in the Attic, co-scripted by one of the writers of Madagascar and the Academy Award-winning Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbits, is an adventure/comedy about kids on a family vacation who must fight off an attack by knee-high alien invaders with world-destroying ambitions - while the youngsters' parents remain clueless about the battle.

ART AND COPY (NR) Fans of "Mad Men" will want to check out the Plaza Theatre's run of this documentary about the recent history of the advertising industry and it's relationship between art and commerce.

BIG FAN 4 stars (R) "Paul from Long Island" (Patton Oswalt), a parking lot attendant and obsessed fan of the New York Giants, has a life-changing encounter with a star linebacker (Jonathan Hamm). Writer/director Robert D. Siegel also wrote the screenplay for The Wrestler and shows a similar insight to the subcultures and rituals of sports culture. Oswalt gives Paul a compulsiveness comparable to his voice performance in Ratatouille and offers a grim character study of an individual who can't imagine a better life. - Holman

THE BURNING PLAIN (R) Oscar-nominated screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga makes his directorial debut with this drama starring Charlize Theron as a restaurant manager whose life becomes connected to other women in America and Mexico, including Kim Basinger.

CARRIERS (PG-13) Star Trek's Chris Pine, Piper Perabo and Christopher Meloni star in this horror film about four friends attempting to flee from a viral pandemic.

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS
3 stars (PG) Young crackpot inventor Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) accidentally revitalizes his struggling hometown with a gizmo that causes "food weather" to fall from the sky. When greed and pride cause ginormous menu items to wreak havoc, it's like a Roland Emmerich disaster film combined with an all-you-can eat buffet. The sight gags, splendid animation and effective use of 3-D make up for the thin characterizations, and the metaphors for excess consumption make the film comparable to a Happy Meal version of Super Size Me. - Holman

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