Page 2 of 6
ATONEMENT 4 stars (R) An intelligent but confused adolescent girl (Saoirse Ronan) tells a lie that separates two young lovers (Keira Knightley and James McAvoy). Joe Wright crafts an insightful adaptation of Ian McEwan's acclaimed novel that begins with an intimate look at the passions and frustrations at an English country estate, and expands to include the destruction of World War II. Playing the same character at different ages, Ronan, Romola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave offer a devastating portrayal of guilt and the inability of words to undue their power to harm. -- Holman
THE BANK JOB 2 stars (R) In 1971 London, a dodgy car dealer (Jason Statham, a.k.a. The Transporter) and his gang of amateurs plan to rob a bank vault of safety deposit boxes, unaware that their caper is camouflage for a government plot to pilfer some Royal blackmail material. Some crisply edited scenes of safecracking and escaping fail to rescue The Bank Job's convoluted screenplay, which lunges in too many directions for director Roger Donaldson to control. The poor British man's Bruce Willis, Statham steals the movie, but The Bank Job doesn't get away clean. -- Holman
BE KIND REWIND (PG-13) A lovable loser (Jack Black) accidentally erases all the videos at the rental store where his best friend (Mos Def) works. The duo decides to recreate any movie that the loyal customers ask for, filming their own versions of classic films. Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) directs.
BEE MOVIE 2 stars (PG) After discovering life outside the hive and meeting a human florist (Renee Zellweger), a young bee (Jerry Seinfeld) sues the human race for the honey industry's exploitative practices. The closer Bee Movie hovers to Seinfeld's appealing brand of observational humor, the bigger laughs it finds, but the script flits in so many different directions, we can't help but remember that story wasn't always the strong suit of Seinfeld's eponymous "show about nothing." -- Holman
BONNEVILLE 2 stars (PG) Not inoffensive, just a little on the corny side, this sistahood-is-powerful road movie follows a trio of middle-aged friends (Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Joan Allen) driving to California so Arvilla (Lange) can deliver her dead husband's ashes to his daughter. It's about friendship. It's about saying goodbye. It's about appealing to the Chico's and "Oprah" crowd and getting them into the theater with a kinder, gentler Thelma & Louise. -- Feaster
THE BUCKET LIST 3 stars (PG-13) A high-maintenance zillionaire (Jack Nicholson) and a dignified mechanic (Morgan Freeman) become mismatched buddies as roommates on a cancer ward, then decide to live their last months crossing items off "the bucket list" of things to do before death. Despite both actors' penchant for self-parody, here they play off each other like old pros, and director Rob Reiner, improving significantly from flops such as Rumor Has It..., makes the predictable humor and platitudes go down easy. -- Holman
CHARLIE BARTLETT (R) Anton Yelchin stars as Charlie Bartlett, a rich kid joining the ranks in public school after being kicked out of multiple private schools. Using the advice, and prescription medication, given to him by his own shrink, Charlie becomes the self-appointed school psychiatrist, setting up shop in the boys' bathroom.
CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR 4 stars (R) In the early 1980s, a playboy congressman (Tom Hanks) resolves to fund the Afghan rebels against the Soviet invaders, and finds allies including a former Texas beauty queen (Julia Roberts) and a grumpy CIA operations guy (Philip Seymour Hoffman). If you miss "The West Wing," writer Aaron Sorkin's script will provide you with a bracing cocktail of screwball comedy and policy-wonk detail. The film's American point of view keeps it at arm's length from some of the third-act drama, but its witty, wise perspective on foreign policy shows how good intentions can reap short-term triumphs and subsequent disasters. -- Holman
CITY OF MEN 3 stars (R) Fernando Meirelles, director of the scorching Brazilian crime drama City of God, serves as producer of this film, based on his TV series "City of Men." Where God evoked Goodfellas, Men tamps down the violence to focus on the relationship between two mild-mannered friends (Douglas Silva and Darlan Cunha) wrestling with poverty, father issues and gangland peer pressure. If not an adrenaline shot like God, City of Men still offers a compelling tale of friendship and social hardship in the slums of Rio. (A longer review will run in next week's issue.) -- Holman
CLOVERFIELD 4 stars (PG-13) A Manhattan yuppie's going-away party gets an inconvenient interruption when a giant monster lays waste to New York City. Once the bad stuff starts going down, no one in the theater takes a breath for an hour, and Cloverfield easily lives up to months of online hype and even offers a fairly touching story of callow Manhattanites who find love and meaning in the teeth of disaster. The single-camera POV gimmick works brilliantly at generating terror and immediacy, but if you're prone to motion sickness, sit in the back row. -- Holman
In the latest 'Emory Looks at Hollywood' episode, Judith Evans Grubbs, Emory Professor of Roman…
"In the movies' worst scene..." should be "movie's"
--freelance copy editor, available for hire
I saw this headline before watching the movie yesterday, but this movie was way better…