Short subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

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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. --FF

DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE 1/2 (PG-13). Schematically so similar to thrillers like Unlawful Entry that the only thing missing is the family golden retriever who saves the hero from the bad guy at the last minute. John Travolta is appealing as a divorced dad who believes his son Matt O'Leary's fears that his new stepdad (Vince Vaughn) is up to no good. But the climax is simply ludicrous, and at 88 minutes, the film feels like it was deemed by the studio to be such a lost cause, it was butchered in the editing room and dumped into the marketplace to fend for itself.-- MB

FAT GIRL (NR). Controversial director Catherine Breillat hits sensational pay dirt yet again in this disturbing but meaning-rich tale of two teenage sisters, one fat and one beautiful, and their very different experiences of sex. With one of the most shocking endings ever imagined in film history. --FF

FROM HELL (R) Menace II Society's Hughes Brothers have mixed success adapting Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's epic comic book examination of the Ripper murders. Johnny Depp and Heather Graham can't shake their movie-star glamour as an opium-addict police inspector and a streetwalker targeted for murder, but the directors provide an unnervingly memorable and feverish vision of the London slums and the savage killings as the stuff of hell itself. --CH

HEIST (R) David Mamet wrote and directed this disappointing caper yarn, the cast of which includes the Get Shorty trio of Gene Hackman, Delroy Lindo and Danny DeVito. But for a movie that's obsessed with double-crosses, triple-crosses and even a couple of right-crosses, this is as easy to patch together as a 6-piece puzzle. Even without having read the script, we know as much as the actors do about how this yarn about a seasoned thief (Hackman) pulling off One Last Job will unfold. --MB

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE (PG). The big screen version of J.K. Rowling's first hit Harry Potter book mostly enchants. Following the title character (Daniel Radcliffe) in his first year at a Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the film has so many clever details and visual delights that they dwarf the supposed plot about sinister goings-on surrounding the titular stone. John Williams overdoes the "magical" music and Radcliffe underplays Harry's emotions, but the film has more than enough charms to make the already-planned sequels feel welcome. --CH

HOW HIGH (R) If you're a fan of rappers Redman and Method Man, or are simply nostalgic for the cinema of Cheech & Chong, you might want to sample this comedy about two stoners who get into Harvard thanks to an IQ-boosting supply of marijuana -- which quickly runs out. With Fred Willard as the chancellor.

IMAX Lost Worlds: Life in the Balance (Not Rated) Harrison Ford narrates an IMAX film exploration of the world's biological diversity, from the Poles to the Tropics, with an in-depth focus on the lush, remote plateaus of Venezuela.Through March 22. Majestic White Horses (NR) The pomp, history and legend of the famous Lipizzan horses of Austria and the Spanish Riding School of Vienna gets the really big screen treatment. Through May 23. Ocean Oasis (NR) Though indifferently structured, this portrait of the ecology of Baja California and the Sea of Cortez captures undersea life as never before and surfaces briefly to check out the desert and the mountains. With incredible cinematography, even by Imax standards, the images are so sharp you can look tiny fish in the eye and read personalities into their facial expressions.Through Jan. 1, 2002. Fernbank Museum of Natural History IMAX Theater, 767 Clifton Road. -- Steve Warren

JIMMY NEUTRON: BOY GENIUS (G) An accident-prone boy inventor comes to the rescue when aliens kidnap his parents in a computer-animated, big-screen version of the Nickelodeon cartoon. Voice actors include Martin Short, Andrea Martin and Patrick Stewart.

JOE SOMEBODY (PG) An office drudge (Tim Allen) beaten up by a bullying co-worker (Patrick "The Tick" Warburton) on "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day" vows to get even and becomes an unlikely hero to his peers. Director John Pasquin also helmed the Tim Allen vehicles The Santa Clause and Jungle 2 Jungle. The presence of Jim Belushi is not promising.


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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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