Capsule reviews of recently reviewed films 

Opening Friday

ANOTHER GAY SEQUEL: GAYS GONE WILD (NR) In this sequel to Todd Stephens' Another Gay Movie, Andy, Nico, Jarod and Griff go to a resort in Fort Lauderdale and compete to see who can get the most notches in his bedpost over spring break.

BEAUTIFUL LOSERS (NR) A documentary about the emergence of do-it-yourself art in the early '90s, focusing on 10 artists -- self-proclaimed nerds and freaks -- with a unified aesthetic.

CHOKE (R) See review.

THE DUCHESS (PG-13) See review.

EAGLE EYE (PG-13) Two strangers (Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan) are thrown together when they receive calls from a mysterious woman and are forced into dangerous and illegal situations.

I SERVED THE KING OF ENGLAND 5 stars (R) An elderly Czech ex-con (Olrich Kaiser) reflects on his past as a waiter, lover and pawn of European history in this superb film from director Jiri Menzel. Ivan Barnev plays the character as a young man and demonstrates the physical humor and sad-sack sympathy of a silent film-era star. In its celebration of both physical comedy and physical beauty, the film presents a feast for the eyes, even as it builds to a stealthy but stinging critique of moral blindness. -- Holman

THE LUCKY ONES (R) Three Iraq war veterans (Michael Pena, Tim Robbins and Rachel McAdams) embark on a road trip, which turns out longer -- and more meaningful -- than they expected.

MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA (R) This latest endeavor from Spike Lee tells the story of four soldiers from the all-black 92nd Buffalo Soldier Division stationed in Tuscany in World War II, and how a young boy changed everything.

NIGHTS IN RODANTHE (PG-13) See review.

WHAT WE DO IS SECRET (R) Shane West stars in this biopic of Germs' frontman and L.A. punk icon Darby Crash, who committed suicide in 1980.

Duly Noted

BLOW UP: PHOTOGRAPHY, REALITY AND TIME The first of a three-part Film Love series in collaboration with Atlanta Celebrates Photography. Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up (1966) and Michael Snow's Wavelength will be screened. Free. Sat., Sept. 27. 7 p.m. GSU's Cinefest Film Theatre, 66 Courtland St., Suite 240. www.acpinfo.org.

DISCOVERING TURKISH CINEMA A presentation of critically acclaimed Turkish movies, including Bliss, The Edge of Heaven and Times and Winds. Through Oct. 4. $6-$7. Saturdays, 8 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, High Museum of Art, Rich Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St. www.high.org.

IRANIAN FILMS TODAY A showcase of recent Iranian films. Through Sept. 26. $6-$7. Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, High Museum of Art, Rich Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St. www.high.org.

FLOW: FOR THE LOVE OF WATER (NR) Irina Salina's award-winning documentary about the world water crisis and the privatization of the Earth's most precious resource. Free-$5. Sun., Sept. 28. 7 p.m. Paideia School, 1509 Ponce de Leon Ave. www.paideiaschool.org.

QUEEN KELLY (1928) (NR) Erich von Stroheim's classic grim romance, in which a betrothed playboy prince (Walter Byron) falls for a convent girl (Gloria Swanson, who also produced). Free. Wed., Sept. 24. 8 p.m. White Hall, Room 205, Emory University. 404-727-6761. www.filmstudies.emory.edu.

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. Midnight, Fridays at Plaza Theatre, and Saturdays at Peachtree Cinema & Games, Norcross.

Continuing

BABYLON A.D. (PG-13) French director Mathieu Kassovitz (Gothika) oversees this action-packed Vin Diesel vehicle about genetic manipulation. Based on the novel Babylon Babies by Maurice Dantec.

BANGKOK DANGEROUS (R) Nicolas Cage stars in this remake of a film about a hitman in the Thai capital, directed by brothers Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang.

BRIDESHEAD REVISITED 3 stars (PG-13) An Oxford University art student (Matthew Goode) becomes drawn into the circle of an unbelievably old and aristocratic English family, becoming an object of affection for two troubled siblings (Hayley Atwell and Sebastian Whishaw). The 11-part, 1981 miniseries with Jeremy Irons offered a definitive adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's popular novel, but director Julian Jarrold offers a smaller-scale but respectable version for the big screen. If most of the actors lack the charisma of their predecessors, Emma Thompson brings enormous wit and sensitivity to the role of imperious Lady Marchmain, making her both the embodiment of an institution as well as a flesh-and-blood mother. -- Curt Holman

BURN AFTER READING 3 stars (R) A pair of dim-witted gym employees (Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt) blackmail a disgruntled CIA analyst (John Malkovich) in this comedy from the Coen brothers. In contrast to their bleak Oscar winner No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading offers a hilarious parody of spy thrillers, replete with sinister music and shadowy figures following the protagonists. The Coens' fondness for anticlimaxes diminishes the film's potential punch, but the hilarious performances alone would make it worth seeing, including Michael Clayton co-stars George Clooney and Tilda Swinton. -- Holman

CTHULHU 3 stars (R) A gay history professor (Jason Cottle) returns to his hometown for his mother's funeral and discovers occult goings-on. Very loosely based on the short story "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" by H.P. Lovecraft, Dan Gildark's film creates an atmosphere of low-budget menace by keeping the protagonist and the audience in the dark for most of the running time. -- Holman

GHOST TOWN 2 stars (PG-13) A misanthropic dentist ("The Office's" Ricky Gervais) has a near-death experience and discovers he can talk to ghosts, including a pushy jerk (Greg Kinnear) who wants to scuttle the remarriage of his widow (Téa Leoni). David Koepp's supernatural comedy plays less like a spoof of The Sixth Sense than a variation on Groundhog Day's redemption of a jerky guy, but the jokes feel undercooked. -- Holman

HAMLET 2 2 stars (R) Failed actor turned failing high school teacher Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan) faces the closing of the drama department unless his misguided, autobiographical musical sequel to Hamlet turns out to be a hit. Although the comedy offers an overt spoof of inspirational-teacher films like Dangerous Minds, it's more reminiscent of Christopher Guest's portraits of American losers like Waiting for Guffman, only Coogan's overplayed characterization makes the jokes resemble shooting fish in a barrel. The show's opening night, with the musical number "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" is a hoot, but not enough to redeem the rest of the film. -- Holman

HANCOCK 3 stars (PG-13) Will Smith plays hilariously against his slick megastar image as John Hancock, a superhero with Kryptonian powers who's nevertheless a drunken, surly jerk who causes more problems than he alleviates. The first hour or so of Hancock has a great deal of fun with its premise, which satirizes superheroes and misbehaving celebrities, and gives Hancock an amusing foil in Jason Bateman's idealistic publicist (now there's a contradiction in terms). The last section throws logic, humor and audience goodwill out the window, and no one catches the movie when it falls. -- Holman

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL 3 stars (PG-13) The latest Indy flick embraces the franchise's nostalgia for itself, but the sentimental streak seems justifiable given the 19-year interim between chapters. It isn't exactly a fresh film adventure -- an automotive chase through the jungle feels like an undisguised retread of Raiders of the Lost Ark's truck chase. But Crystal Skull comes across not as lazy, but laid-back, as though the filmmakers have too much confidence to panic about trying to top the earlier films, or compete with their younger selves. -- Holman

A JIHAD FOR LOVE 3 stars (PG) This documentary from Parvez Sharma explores the impossible situation of gay people who identify themselves as devout Muslims, even though some Islamic countries define homosexuality as a capital offense. The film follows the difficulties of gay and lesbian people in the Muslim communities of South Africa, Egypt, Turkey, India and other countries and suffers from narrative limitations, spending only a little time with its subjects before going off to follow more. Some of the interviewees recount harrowing tales of persecution, but gay Imam Muhsin Hendricks sets an example that leaves some small hope that attitudes can change over time. -- Holman

JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 3-D 2 stars (PG) Brendan Fraser plays a scientist who uses Jules Verne's novel Journey to the Center of the Earth as a guide to a prehistoric underground realm. The plot resembles those tame family comedies like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, but if you've never seen a 3-D film before, you can enjoy the way the characters and filmmakers shove stuff at the audience. Last fall's Beowulf film had more impressive 3-D, though. -- Holman

KIT KITTREDGE: AN AMERICAN GIRL 3 stars (G) This big-screen extension of the American Girl line of dolls and merchandise depicts a plucky would-be reporter (Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin) and the challenges she faces when her family tries to weather the Great Depression. Parents will appreciate the film's lack of vulgar humor and scary intensity, although it ventures into some unexpectedly grim (and unfortunately timely) themes of the toll of economic downturns on family life. -- Holman

KUNG FU PANDA 4 stars (PG) In fairy-tale, talking-animal China, a fat panda named Po (voiced by Jack Black) is improbably chosen to be the all-powerful "Dragon Warrior." The studio that gave us the Shrek movies downplays the pop references and body-function humor for a satisfying CGI action/comedy that features a splendid visual design and surprisingly exciting fight scenes, including a chopstick fight between Po and his diminutive teacher (voiced by Dustin Hoffman). -- Holman

LAKEVIEW TERRACE (PG-13) Samuel L. Jackson stars as a Los Angeles police officer determined to get rid of his new neighbors, a young interracial couple (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington).

MAMMA MIA! 3 stars (PG-13) The songs of 1970s Swedish supergroup ABBA inspire this musical, which trades sequins and disco for the sun and sand of a gorgeous Greek isle. A bride-to-be (Amanda Seyfried) invites the three men who may be her father (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård) to her wedding, without the knowledge of her single mother (Meryl Streep). The dads can't sing at all, and choreography is practically nonexistent, but the catchy melodies and Streep's upbeat portrayal should give the film plenty of appeal to women of a certain age. Christine Baranski steals the show with a saucy rendition of "Does Your Mother Know." -- Holman

THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR 3 stars (PG-13) In post-WWII China, retired treasure hunters Rick and Evelyn O'Connell (Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello) must stop resurrected Chinese Emperor Han (Jet Li) from finding Shangri-la, becoming immortal and raising an unstoppable army of terra-cotta warriors. -- Holman

MY BEST FRIEND'S GIRL (R) Tank (Dane Cook) takes girls on bad dates to get them back with their ex-boyfriends, but when his best friend (Jason Biggs) makes the same arrangement with his ex (Kate Hudson), it leads to an awkward love triangle.

PINEAPPLE EXPRESS 2 stars (R) A process server (Seth Rogen) witnesses a murder and goes on the run in Los Angeles with his friendly neighborhood pot dealer (James Franco) in this comedy that would only be more clichéd if they fled cross-country with a bag of money. Grumpy Rogen and half-baked Franco make likable comedic foils, but the film's familiar plotting and surprisingly violent action scenes undermine its attempt to charm the audience. Of all the films by producer Judd Apatow (who worked with Rogen on Knocked Up and Superbad), Pineapple Express disappoints the most, sending high expectations up in smoke. -- Holman

RIGHTEOUS KILL (R) Al Pacino and Robert De Niro star in this psychological thriller about a serial killer who targets criminals.

THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2 (PG-13) This sequel finds best friends Tibby, Carmen, Bridget and Lena reunited after a year away at college and struggling to keep in touch against the odds. Based on the series of novels by Ann Bradshare.

STEP BROTHERS 2 stars (R) Two immature fortyish men (Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly) become despised roommates after the wedding of their single parents (Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins). Ferrell and Reilly seem to have had more fun making the movie than the audience has watching it, and though Ferrell's and Reilly's sibling rivalry generates some belly laughs, the familiar premise and thin story make the film perfectly forgettable. On the plus side, it's the least unfunny of this summer's big, star-driven comedies. -- Holman

SWING VOTE (PG-13) Due to a ballot error in the presidential election, the fate of the free world hangs on the vote of one man -- apathetic single father Bud Johnson (Kevin Costner).

TOWELHEAD 3 stars (R) A 13-year-old Lebanese-American girl (Summer Bishil) struggles with problems involving racist classmates, her brow-beating father (Peter Macdissi), an attractive but pervy neighbor (Aaron Eckhart) and her own dawning sexuality. "Six Feet Under" creator Alan Ball presents an uneasy mixture of black comedy and awkward, shame-inducing ordeals, set against the backdrop of the first Gulf War. Despite the film's drastic shifts in tone, Bishil offers a sensitive portrayal of anguished adolescence, while Macdissi delivers a complex performance as the father, who can alternate between being a tyrannical brute and a humorous hypocrite. -- Holman

TRANSSIBERIAN 3 stars (R) A middle-American couple (Emily Mortimer and Woody Harrelson) hope to rekindle their marriage on an "adventurous" trip across Asia on the Transsiberian Railway, but when they meet a mysterious younger pair (Eduardo Noriega and Kate Mara), they find more excitement than they bargained for. Director Brad Anderson proves to be a close student of Alfred Hitchcock thrillers, cultivating a skin-crawling sensation of paranoia amid the former Soviet locations. It's the perfect film for audiences who find the Hostel films too lowbrow, and The Darjeeling Limited too twee. -- Holman

TROPIC THUNDER 2 stars (R) A Hollywood cast and crew (including Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Brandon T. Jackson and Jay Baruchel) on location for a Vietnam War movie gets plopped into real danger thanks to some studio shenanigans. Stiller's script, co-written with Justin Theroux and Idiocracy screenwriter Etan Cohen, delivers spot-on jokes about Hollywood and war-movie clichés, and with comedic talents such as Downey, Black and surprising scene-stealer Baruchel, there's enough hammy fun to last a while. But Stiller's grating dullard character wears thin fast, and the drawn-out conclusion robs the comedy of its zip. -- Simmons

VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA 3 stars (PG-13) During a summer in Spain, two smart American hotties (Scarlett Johansson and the impressive newcomer Rebecca Hall) become romantically involved with a smoldering artist (Oscar-winner Javier Bardem) who has an unbalanced ex-wife (the superb Penelope Cruz). Perhaps the warm weather and flamenco music invigorated 72-year-old writer/director Woody Allen, whose creative juices were clearly flowing with this film's lively, stormy love affairs. Allen still overthinks his dialogue and ideas, but this time they don't muffle the sensuality of the film's locale or the characters. -- Holman

WALL-E 4 stars (G) "WALL-E," a lonely, trash-compacting machine that might be the last entity on Earth, pursues his love for a sleek, feminine robot to the titanic starship that contains the human race. Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton crafts a story with the intelligence and heart that's the trademark of Pixar Studios (creators of the Toy Story movies), as well as the stunning images and visionary ideas of the best science fiction. Some audiences may be put off by the film's sharp-edged satire of consumer culture, but WALL-E, like its robotic namesake, should last another 700 years. -- Holman

THE WOMEN 2 stars (PG-13) Meg Ryan plays a wife and mother whose privileged life crumbles when she discovers her husband is having an affair with a perfume counter clerk (Eva Mendes). "Murphy Brown" creator Diane English mishandles this remake of the classic 1939 screwball comedy with an all-female cast. Annette Bening stands out as a caustic magazine editor who struggles with professional compromises, but otherwise The Women offers conventional you-can-have-it-all uplift while sending mixed messages about label-obsessed materialism. -- Holman

XXY 4 stars (NR) A visit from family friends reveals the secret of a 15 year-old hermaphrodite (Inés Efron) living as a girl in a coastal village in Uruguay. Neither as brutal as Boys Don't Cry nor as didactic as an old-fashioned after-school special, XXY addresses the challenges of being an "intersex" individual as a metaphor for adolescence. Efron and Ricardo Darin, as the teen's loving and conflicted father, deliver superb performances in this impressive debut feature from Lucía Puenzo. -- 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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