Short subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Page 4 of 4

THE SCORPION KING (PG-13) In the ripe-cheese tradition of those grade-Z sword-and- sorcery epics that play on late-night cable, we now get this prequel to The Mummy Returns which casts The Rock as a monolith of a leading man whose undeniable screen presence constantly wages war against his wooden line delivery. Thanks to its awareness of its own limitations, this is watchable enough, but you'll be satisfied after an hour.--MB

SPIDER-MAN (PG-13) The long-awaited adaptation of the Marvel comic book works because director Sam Raimi and scripter David Koepp turn their movie into a successful tightrope act between soap opera and spectacle, retaining the personal elements that made the comic book so popular while also providing special effects that thankfully never overwhelm the story. As Peter Parker, the boy who becomes a superhero, Tobey Maguire is wonderfully appealing.--MB

SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON (G) The title character in this old-school animated feature may be a horse, but the movie automatically wins points for not anthropomorphizing it (the most we hear are its inner thoughts, provided by Matt Damon). The cuteness quotient is remarkably low in this engaging if not particularly distinguished tale about a magnificent stallion that befriends a Lakota lad in the Old West. The songs by Bryan Adams are the musical equivalent of live leeches being driven into the ear drums, but this is still worth a look.--MB

STAR WARS: ATTACK OF THE CLONES (PG-13) The Force returns to George Lucas for the second installment of his Star Wars prequel trilogy. Though the star-crossed love story of Senator Amidala (Natalie Portman) and Jedi apprentice Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) falls flat, a mystery subplot connecting bounty hunters and clone armies plays like a delicious wedding of Star Wars and James Bond, building to a final half-hour so spectacular you'll be reluctant to blink for fear of missing something.--Curt Holman

STOLEN SUMMER (PG) When a Jewish boy suffers from a terminal illness, his Catholic friend thinks he must convert to Christianity to get into heaven. This family tearjerker from untested writer-director Pete Jones is notorious for HBO's "Project Greenlight" portrait of the desperation behind the scenes.

THE SUM OF ALL FEARS (PG-13) A well-crafted throwback to the thrillers of Cold War era, this Tom Clancy adaptation brings back our fears of potential nuclear conflict. At first Ben Affleck seems over his head as CIA analyst Jack Ryan (a role played by Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford), but he ingratiates himself while trying to unravel a terrorist conspiracy against America. The transcontinental plotting can be murky, but the third act features spectacular disasters and the chilling sensation of events spinning out of control.--CH

ULTIMATE X (PG) See extreme sports on the Mall of Georgia's extremely large IMAX screen in this documentary of ESPN's Summer X games, which includes skateboarders, BMX riders, motocrossers, and street lugers. Rated PG "for daredevil sports action and mild language." Mall of Georgia IMAX Theater, I-85 at Buford Drive, Buford.

UNDERCOVER BROTHER (PG-13) Can you dig it? Beating the Austin Powers films at their own game, this highly amusing blaxploitation spoof casts Eddie Griffin as the title character, "a Soul Train reject with a Robin Hood complex" who joins up with the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. to take down The Man. Even at a mere 88 minutes, this slight film tempts fate, but the big laughs are tumultuous enough to barrel right over the slow patches.--MB

UNFAITHFUL (R) For much of his career, director Adrian Lyne has had sex on the brain, turning out huff'n'puff features both good and bad. This one derives most of its power from Diane Lane's standout performance as a content housewife who risks everything for a fling with a hunky Frenchman (Olivier Martinez). As the suspicious husband, Richard Gere does some of his best work, and this cautionary tale about the illusion of eternal bliss ends with a wonderfully ambiguous final shot.--MB

Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN (NR) A heartbroken woman takes off on a road trip with two randy teenage boys and the trio talk, laugh, bicker and have sex. How director Alfonso Cuaron turns this seemingly trite scenario into a metaphysical meditation on life, fate, death, the sublime and torturous aspects of sex, and the class divisions of modern Mexico is a thing of beauty.--FF

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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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