Short subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Opening Friday
THE BUSINESS OF STRANGERS 1/2 (R) This assured, sleek debut film from Columbia grad Patrick Stettner is far more than just a girlified retread of Neil LaBute's corporate melodrama In the Company of Men. Stockard Channing astonishes as a driven, steely post-menopausal executive who shares her grievances about work and a life sacrificed for the almighty surge of power with an underling (Julia Stiles), who goads her to take violent action. --Felicia Feaster

NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE (R) "If you liked Scary Movie, who gives a shit?" asked this film's R-rated trailer, which pretty much conveys the tone and target audience of this spoof of the current glut of teen cinema, set at John Hughes High School. Reportedly it briefly had the title Ten Things I Hate About Clueless Road Trips When I Can't Hardly Wait to Be Kissed.

VANILLA SKY (R) Penelope Cruz reprises her role in Open Your Eyes (a 1997 Spanish film from the director of The Others) for this American remake that reunites star Tom Cruise with his Jerry Maguire director Cameron Crowe. The twisty, expect-the-unexpected plot supposedly resists simple summarization but includes infidelity, car crashes, reconstructive surgery and Cameron Diaz.

Duly Noted
A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (PG-13) Stephen Spielberg brings to light a long-developed Stanley Kubrick project about an android boy (Haley Joel Osment) who aspires to be human. Spielberg gives the first act a poetic precision evocative of the late filmmaker's cerebral style, but subsequent sections uncomfortably blend elements of Pinocchio and Blade Runner, losing some of its pristine storytelling control. .GSU's cinefest, Dec. 14-20.--Curt Holman

THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE In this 1995 comedy, a bride and groom endure a disastrous wedding in a provincial Bavarian village and decide, "Divorce yes, separation no!"Films of Switzerland, Goethe Institut, Atlanta, 1197 Peachtree St., Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m., $4 for non-members.

BULLY (Not Rated) America hide your children, that "wake up and smell the coffee" chicken hawk Larry Clark has done gone and made himself another movie full of ripe, nekkid teens and a bracing social message about how it's, like, wrong or something to kill your best friend even if he was meaner than a sackful of rattlesnakes. Based on fact. GSU's cinefest, Dec. 14-20. -- FF

LAKEBOAT (R) Hearing colorful character actors chew on David Mamet's trademark tough talk always has its charms. But that's the only selling point to this adaptation of the playwright's first work, in which an Ivy Leaguer (played by Mamet's younger brother Tony) takes a summer job on a Great Lakes steel freighter. The script includes some memorably pungent turns of phrase and Robert Forster stands out as a melancholy roughneck. But first-time director (and Mamet regular) Joe Mantegna can't compensate for the material's total absence of plot or dramatic friction, which leaves Lakeboat dead in the water.GSU's cinefest, Dec. 7-13.--CH

LOCALS ONLY IMAGE and MediaHead present nine short films from Atlanta and around the Southeast, ranging from the Woody Allen-esque "Technical Knockout" to the country music video spoof "Far as I'm Concerned" to the abstract but amusing "Googol." Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. The Fountainhead Lounge, 485 Flat Shoals Ave. Free. 404-352-4225.

LOVE COME DOWN Love Jones' Larenz Tate stars in Clement Virgo's drama about two half-brothers, one black and one white, as they search for love and recover from their childhood in an interracial, dysfunctional family. Black Cinema Cafe Monthly film series, Dec. 17 at 6 p.m., The Shark Bar, 571 Peachtree St. 404-787-0710.

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (R) The cult classic of cult classics, the 1975 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. It's all fun and games until Meatloaf gets killed. Dress as your favorite character and participate in this musical on acid. Fridays at midnight, Lefont Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave., and Saturday at midnight at Blackwell Star Cinema, 3378 Canton Road, Marietta.

AMELIE (R) A popular and critical hit in France, this not-to-be-missed sweet-as-pie, stylistic knockout is a dazzling live-action cartoon for grown-ups. The ultra-cute Audrey Tautou is a do-gooding sprite living in a magical Montmartre who dedicates herself to helping others. From Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the director of The City of Lost Children and Delicatessean. -- FF

BANDITS (PG-13) Director Barry Levinson's latest tries hard to be a quirky comedy (God, does it try), but the team of Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton as "the Sleepover Bandits" fails to stir anything in the audience besides contempt. Thornton's hypochondriac character spends the entire 125-minutes whining about his various ailments, and Cate Blanchett fares no better as the bargain basement screwball heroine in love with both men. Willis, amazingly, comes out on top, providing a respite from all the mannered acting smothering the rest of the picture.--Matt Brunson


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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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