Capsule reviews of recently reviewed films 

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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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Recent Comments

  • 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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