Capsule reviews of recently reviewed movies 

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· PARADISE NOW 3 stars. (PG-13) The kind of incendiary film that will vindicate some and infuriate others, Hany Abu-Assad's non-sequitur mix of dark comedy and thriller follows two hopeless young Palestinian men (Kais Nashef and Ali Suliman) who have decided to become suicide bombers and travel with bombs strapped to their bodies, from the West Bank to Tel Aviv. Too didactic and structurally rambling to be a great film, Abu-Assad's is instead a smaller, imperfect human drama that dares to humanize people that others would prefer to write off as terrorists. -- Feaster

· PRIDE & PREJUDICE 3 stars. (PG) Director Joe Wright and screenwriter Deborah Moggach have done an exemplary job of making us care all over again about the plight of the Bennet sisters, whose busybody mom (Brenda Blethyn) sets about finding them suitable husbands against the backdrop of 19th-century England. The oldest daughter, Jane (Rosamund Pike), immediately lands a suitor, but the independent Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) finds herself embroiled in a grudge match with the brooding Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen). Romanticists who fell hard for Colin Firth's Darcy in the 1995 BBC miniseries may or may not warm to MacFadyen (who's fine in the role), but there's no quibbling over Knightley's intuitive, note-perfect work as Elizabeth. -- Brunson

· PROTOCOLS OF ZION 2 stars. (NR) Marc Levin's documentary begins with the post-Sept. 11 conspiracy theory that Jewish workers were warned to stay away from the World Trade Center the day of the terrorist attacks, then digs deeper into anti-Semitism in the 21st century, much of it an extension of the fears expressed in a 1905 document, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. That historical hoax concocted by the Czarist secret police decades ago, which claims Jews are planning to takeover the world, still finds true believers today, including many, according to Levin, in the Arab world. Levin finds much depressing evidence that anti-Semitism is among us, though his over-reliance on crackpots and fringe groups, from the hate website Jew Watch to Arab loafers hanging out on the streets of New York, seriously detracts from his message. -- Feaster

· RENT 3 stars. (PG-13) In Chris Columbus' adaptation of the Broadway musical, a group of twentysomething artists (played mostly by the now-thirtysomething original cast) wrestle with AIDS, drug addiction and creative compromise in Manhattan. At best, numbers like "La Vie Boheme" capture the same intoxication of creative urban youth in the film Fame; at worst, the overwrought, operatic romance plays like a long-form Bon Jovi video. Unlike the Oscar-winning Chicago, it seldom finds the right scale to play on the big screen, but it hits enough high notes to justify renting a theater seat for a couple of hours. -- Holman

· SARAH SILVERMAN: JESUS IS MAGIC 3 stars. (NR) In a kind of unofficial follow-up to The Aristocrats, gorgeous -- and outrageously profane -- comedienne Sarah Silverman violates nearly every racial, sexual and religious taboo imaginable in her persona as a ditzy narcissist. There's about 40 minutes of terrific concert footage interspersed with hit-and-miss song satires and sketches, making Jesus Is Magic an imperfect showcase for a hilarious, invaluable talent. -- Holman

· SHOPGIRL 2 stars. (R) With two shallow characters and a blandly gloomy story line, this adaptation of Steve Martin's novella feels like Pretty Woman putting on airs: a wistful, therapy-culture fairy tale for the New Yorker crowd. Martin, who is 60, plays a wealthy man who sweeps a pretty Saks Fifth Avenue clerk (Claire Danes, age 26) off her feet -- a lingering mystery considering Martin's performance as a corpse-like, unctuous moneybags. The only pleasure comes from Jason Schwartzman as a clueless slacker who vies with Mr. Big for the shopgirl's affection. -- Feaster

· THE SQUID AND THE WHALE 3 stars. (R) It's a hard fact of life whether crowed by Tammy Wynette or Park Slope eggheads: Breaking up is hard to do. Filmmaker Noah Baumbach offers a semi-autobiographical remembrance of divorce's toll on the kids. The year is 1986, two bookish Brooklyn intellectuals (Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels) -- based on Baumbach's film critic mother and novelist father -- split, shuttling their two sons (Owen Kline and Jesse Eisenberg) between their homes and unleashing some major anguish and anxieties. Often darkly funny in charting the effects of D-I-V-O-R-C-E for the over-analytical set not supposed to experience such mundane traumas, the film is too emotionally distant and too inconclusive to offer more than that age-old assertion that divorce sucks. -- 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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