Short subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

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Continuing
ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS (R) A tough bounty hunter (Ice Cube, who also co-wrote the film) and a wisecracking bail jumper (Mike Epps) join forces to fleece some diamond thieves in this action comedy named for the P. Diddy song. Featuring Anthony Michael Hall and Lil' Bow Wow.

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 Delicatessen. -- FF

A BEAUTIFUL MIND (PG-13) In an either bold or ignorant move, director Ron Howard may have made the first action-adventure film about schizophrenia. Russell Crowe stars in this story of real life Princeton mathematician John Nash who won the Nobel Prize, but also suffered from mental illness. Howard allows emotional button-pushing to triumph over character development and insight in this earnest but flat entry in Hollywood's disability canon.--FF

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (G) The only animated feature ever to be nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award -- and one of the best classic-style musicals of the past 20 years -- Disney's 1991 animated gem gets a polish to fit the scalle of a really, really big IMAX screen. Mall of Georgia IMAX Theater, I-85 at Buford Drive, Buford. -- CH

BIG FAT LIAR (PG) "Malcolm in the Middle's" Frankie Muniz plays a high schooler who plots revenge against a sleazy movie producer (Paul Giamatti) who hijacks the boy's writing assignment as a plot for a feature film. Do not expect a subtle, soft-spoken comedy of manners.

BLACK HAWK DOWN (R) Ridley Scott directs a harrowing soldier's-eye view of the disastrous mission in Somalia that cost the lives of 19 U.S. troops. With a huge cast and non-stop battle scenes, characterization is nearly absent, and we scarcely get to know the soldiers played by the likes of Josh Hartnett, Eric Bana, Ewan McGregor and Tom Sizemore. But in the global environment following Sept. 11, the film gets credit for showing in frightening detail what could be a worst-case scenario of the War on Terrorism. --CH

BLADE 2 (R) Wesley Snipes returns as Marvel Comics' bloodsucker-snuffing vampire hybrid in a sequel to 1998's modest hit. With this one directed by Guillermo del Toro, late of The Devil's Backbone, there may be some substance underneath the stylin' slaying.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE (R) This Arnold Schwarzenegger action yarn about a firefighter who seeks revenge on the terrorist who killed his family was slated for release in October but yanked following 9/11. For the record, it's not a good movie, but a working-class model of the standard action flick, with little to distinguish it from the other run-of-the-mill "red meat" endeavors that periodically test our theaters' Dolby Digital sound systems. --Matt Brunson

THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (PG-13) Disney's version of Alexandre Dumas' novel is an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser that's refreshingly free of rapid-cut edits, a blaring modern score and Matrix-style action scenes. Jim Caviezel plays a wrongfully imprisoned sailor seeking revenge, while Memento's Guy Pearce is all snaky insouciance as his former friend.-- MB

CROSSROADS (PG-13) Isn't Britney Spears adorable when she mugs for the camera in those Pepsi commercials? Don't you wish she had her own movie? Well now she does, driving from Georgia to L.A. with some teenage pals. She moans and grinds to Joan Jett's "I Love Rock and Roll" in a karaoke bar, but don't expect a camp classic a la Mariah Carey's Glitter.

DRAGONFLY (PG-13) A potentially moving tale about a doctor (Kevin Costner) who believes his recently deceased wife is trying to communicate with him is torpedoed by the oblivious efforts of director Tom Shadyac (Patch Adams). Shadyac moves the film along at a torpid pace and undermines its notions of everlasting love by tossing in cheap scares more suitable to a horror yarn.--MB

E.T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL: THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY (PG) Steven Spielberg's tale of a boy and his alien is no children's movie, but a lovely evocation of the experience of childlike wonder. The anniversary re-release includes spruced-up sound and special effects, a deleted scene or two and some disquieting alterations in the name of political correctness, like the digital replacement of guns with walkie-talkies.--CH

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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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