Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Opening Friday
CHARLIE'S ANGELS (PG-13) On the theory that velocity is a substitute for quality, music video director McG zips through a series of sketches that were apparently more fun to shoot than they are to watch. Angels Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu find time between costume changes and dance numbers to solve the case of kidnapped techno-mogul Sam Rockwell. As their giggling constitutes a laugh track, I was reminded more of "The Carol Burnett Show" than the original "Charlie's Angels." Bill Murray is good as Bosley, the eunuch in their harem. -- SW

THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE (PG-13) 1/2 A mysterious, Zen-talking caddy (Will Smith) helps a haunted WWI vet (Matt Damon) in a mythic 1930s golf tournament. As prettily shot and self-consciously archetypal as Robert Redford's starring vehicle The Natural, the film strains to make the central golf match into an allegory for life itself but ultimately proves just a tribute to the sport as a pastime for privileged whites. -- CH

RAN (R) Akira Kurosawa's visceral adaptation of King Lear concerns a 16th-century Japanese warlord who has bequeathed his kingdom to his three sons, only to watch them enter into violent combat and deception to gain more power. The film, filled with gorgeously stylized, gory battle scenes and sexual/political intrigue galore confirms auteur Kurosawa's storytelling power and visual finesse, as well as his belief in human frailty and a society that perversely chooses pain and violence over contentment. -- FF

Duly Noted
BIG THIEVES, LITTLE THIEVES Based on the Italian comedy, Big Deal on Madonna Street, the satirical heist flick is about four financially deprived Venezuelans who plan to rob a bank. Once the robbery is put into action, the would-be thieves soon discover that the bank vault has already been cleaned out by robbers. The foursome must now get out of one sticky situation. Director Alejandro Saderman's 1998 film is in Spanish with subtitles. Films at the High, 2000 Latin-American Film Festival, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m., Rich Auditorium.

THE CAMPAIGN A top executive at a powerful advertising agency launches a massive, controversial publicity campaign to find her young son's killer. The campaign takes on a life of its own with dire consequences for innocent people. The real killer might be closer than she thinks. Director Thomas Bohn's thriller is in German with subtitles. Nov. 1 at 7 p.m., Goethe-Institut Atlanta.

CRANE WORLD In this gritty comedy, Rulo, an overweight and unemployed 1970s one-hit wonder, can't escape his lackluster life, which is burdened by his helpless mother, good-for-nothing son and a string of tough breaks. Things start to look up for him when he lands a job as a crane operator in Buenos Aires and meets a woman at a sandwich shop. The 1999 film is in Spanish with subtitles. Films at the High, 2000 Latin-American Film Festival, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m., Rich Auditorium.

DRACULA A.D. 1/2 and FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL 1/2 Celebrate the spooky season and salute the fallen House of Hammer with two of the innovative British girls 'n' gore horror studio's most memorable last gasps. Accidental hilarity results when Dracula comes out of retirement, or rather, out of a retirement home, from the decrepit looks of the creaky leads Lee and Cushing, to terrorize swinging '70s London. The studio burns all it's bridges (and most of its standing sets!) in the Apocalyptic last chapter in it's Frankenstein franchise, railing incandescently against the New Wave in scary movies that made lurid pot-boilers like these tragically obsolete. The Hammer Horror Festival, Oct. 27-Nov. 2 at GSU's cinéfest. -- EM

HAMLET (PG-13) An all-star cast is featured in director Kenneth Branagh's four-hour adaptation of the Shakespearean tragedy. The 1996 film uses the full text of the play but moves the action into 19th century Europe. Branagh plays the tragic hero who is cursed with indecision and hesitation in the face of betrayal. Nov. 1 and 4 at 7:30 p.m., 208 White Hall, 480 Kilgo Circle, Emory.

LES ETOILES SECRETS MULTIMEDIA FESTIVAL The multimedia extravaganza features the works of innovative filmmakers, animators, musicians and photographers. Screenings include a DV short and music video by POP Films' Jacob Gentry and David Bruckner and a rockumentary about the Rent Boys by Maria Locke and Peter Steckel. The showcase also features a live DJ performance and works by photographers. Nov. 7 at 8 p.m., Fountainhead Lounge.

MAD MAX The futuristic action movie stars a young Mel Gibson as a bad-ass police officer rumbling with a group of nasty bikers in the violent, lawless Outback. See the uncut Australian version of this 1979 cult classic. Nov. 3-9 at GSU's cinéfest.

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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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