Capsule reviews of recently released movies 

The Good German, The Good Shepherd, Volver and more

Opening Friday

THE GOOD GERMAN 3 stars. (R) See review.

THE GOOD SHEPHERD 2 stars. (R) See review.

THE HISTORY BOYS 2 stars. (R) See review.

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM (PG) In this comedy with fantastical elements, Ben Stiller plays a hapless museum security guard who discovers that the exhibits -- from dinosaur skeletons to the tiny cowboys on Wild West dioramas -- come to life after closing time.

VOLVER 5 stars. (R) See review.

WE ARE MARSHALL (PG) Matthew McConaughey stars in this inspirational sports drama about the Marshall University football team's death in a plane crash and a coach's efforts to keep the program together. This tale, based on a true story, marks a change of pace for Charlie's Angels director McG.

Opening Monday

BLACK CHRISTMAS (R) Michelle Trachtenberg and Lacey Chabert star in this remake of the 1975 thriller (also known as Silent Night, Evil Night) about a slasher stalking a sorority house.

CHILDREN OF MEN 5 stars. (R) In England of 2041, following a global epidemic of infertility, a cynical Englishman (Clive Owen) becomes caught up in a revolutionary group's plan, hinging on the miraculous secret of a young woman (Claire-Hope Ashitey). Alfonso Cuaron, director of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, retains the premise but departs from the spirit of P.D. James' novel to focus on xenophobia, homeland security and urban unrest. Trading high-tech sci-fi trappings for gritty, present-day concerns, Children of Men practically shimmers with tense scenes and rich themes, culminating with a breathless, wordless extended sequence that pleas for peace and the recognition of our shared humanity. -- Curt Holman

DREAMGIRLS 4 stars. (PG-13) See review.

Duly Noted

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) (R) The cult classic of cult classics, the musical horror spoof follows an all-American couple (Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick) to the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a drag-queen/mad scientist from another galaxy. It's all fun and games until Meat Loaf gets killed. Dress as your favorite character and participate in this musical on acid. Midnight Fri. at Lefont Plaza Theatre and Sat. at Peachtree Cinema & Games, Norcross.

Continuing

APOCALYPTO 2 stars. (R) A young Mayan villager (Rudy Youngblood) faces unspeakable horrors after being captured and marked for ritual sacrifice. Mel Gibson's all-subtitled historical action film generates enough momentum to distract from speculation about the movie star's apparent anti-Semitism, but renews questions about his sadomasochistic tendencies as a filmmaker. Despite some lose themes about the decline and fall of civilizations, Apocalypto proves mostly an exercise in violence and torture, although admittedly the final act's extended chase scene is well executed. ­-- Holman

BABEL 4 stars. (R) A freak mishap has far-reaching repercussions that effect the lives of a pair of American tourists (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett), two young Moroccan shepherds, a Mexican nanny (Adriana Barraza) and a deaf Japanese teenager (Rinku Kikuchi). Amores Perros director Alejandro González Iñárritu presents another gripping, gritty and well-acted set of intersecting narratives that feature raw performances (particularly from Rinku Kikuchi) and moments of nearly unbearable suspense. On reflection, Iñárritu's themes of language, globalization and human connection don't quite come together, but Babel's passion and visceral image give it power that transcends borders. -- Holman

BLOOD DIAMOND 3 stars. (R) A white soldier-turned smuggler (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a black fisherman (Djimon Hounsou) become unwilling partners in the effort to recover a huge, uncut diamond amid the chaos of a civil war in Sierra Leone. Glory's Edward Zwick directs a crisply paced, superbly photographed film, replete with magnificent vistas and harrowing action scenes. Despite the film's justified indignation over "conflict diamonds," however, the plot proves utterly familiar and the horrific black-on-black violence will more probably stick with the audience more than contempt for the Western corporations that profit from it. -- Holman

BOBBY 2 stars. (R) If the late Robert Altman had been dropped on his head as a toddler, Bobby is the sort of movie he might have ended up making. Writer-director Emilio Estevez has clearly adopted Altman's MO for this ambitious effort that's only tangentially about Robert F. Kennedy -- we get the all-star cast, the overlapping dialogue, the furtive glances at the ever-changing American landscape -- but despite a few scattered scenes worth preserving, the overall picture is shallow, tedious and ultimately insignificant. -- Matt Brunson

BORAT: CULTURE LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN 4 stars. (R) British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen pranks the United States by traveling the nation in his guise as Borat Sagdiyev, a disarmingly cheerful but sexist, anti-Semitic and colossally ignorant journalist from Kazakhstan. -- Holman

THE BRIDESMAID 3 stars. (NR) Claude Chabrol's latest clammy chamber piece shows a murder disrupt ordinary French life. The Piano Teacher's splendid Benoît Magimel plays as a decent, hardworking salesman who falls hard for a creepy, mystery-shrouded bridesmaid (Laura Smet) at his sister's wedding. Taut and layered, Chabrol proves when it comes to crafting satisfying, low-key thrillers, he still has it. -- Felicia Feaster

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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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