Short subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Page 3 of 6

ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU (1957) (NR) Zombies guard a sunken treasure in this shlocky feature starring Allison Hayes of Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman fame. Mondo Movie Nite, July 21 at dusk, Starlight Six Drive-In Theatre, 2000 Moreland Ave. $6.

ABOUT A BOY (PG-13) The adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel lacks the character insight and pop savvy of the film of Hornby's High Fidelity, but still charms. The title refers to both thirtysomething Will (Hugh Grant) and 12 year-old Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), whose unlikely friendship gives both lessons in how to grow up. At times manipulative and overly jokey, it makes a few unconventional twists, including its pragmatic theme of the virtue of conformity. --CH

BAD COMPANY (PG-13) Taking an explosive comic actor like Chris Rock sticking him in an action film this dull is like buying a ridiculously expensive sports car and solely using it to drive to the grocery store down the block. This studio-generated claptrap features a street-smart small-timer (Rock) who poses as his own twin brother, a murdered CIA agent tracking (what else?) a nuclear weapon making the rounds on the international black market. Anthony Hopkins co-stars. -- MB

THE BOURNE IDENTITY (PG-13) Go director Doug Liman's spy thriller starts well, with amnesiac Matt Damon discovering learning that he's got spy skills and hitmen on his trail. But the film forgets the best plot twists of Robert Ludlum's original novel and falls into a repetitious cycle: Chris Cooper's nasty CIA man yells at underlings, Damon hesitantly romances love interest Franka Potente, and action scenes unfold in a workmanlike manner.--CH

CINEMA PARADISO (R) Director Giuseppe Tornatore has re-released his beloved nostalgia piece in its original format, an epic 170 minutes. Digressing from the film's central, and most charming element -- the relationship between a projectionist in a small Italian village and a movie-crazed eight-year-old boy -- this Paradiiiso wanders off into the muck of a traditional love story and in the process ties a hunk of lead around Tornatore's helium balloon. --FF

THE CROCODILE HUNTER: COLLISION COURSE (PG) Giving Animal Planet's nature host Steve Irwin his own movie seems as misguided as giving the Food Network's Emeril his own sitcom. Here Irwin plays his excitable self as he tries to protect a croc that has swallowed a chunk of a spy satellite coveted by secret agents.

DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD (PG-13) Thelma & Louise screenwriter Callie Khouri makes her directorial debut with an equally zeitgeisty melodrama about the dark secret of motherhood in her adaptation of Rebecca Wells' popular novel. The Ya-Yas (Fionnula Flanagan, Maggie Smith, Shirley Knight) are priceless as a trio of salty Southern broads who try to mend the damaged mother-daughter relationship acted out by a typically dull Sandra Bullock and a luminous Ellen Burstyn as her mother. --FF

THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES (PG) This "What if?" treatment of history suggests that Napoleon (Ian Holm) escaped exile on St. Helena, but found his plans to seize power distracted by middle-class pleasures, particularly the charms of a young widow (High Fidelity's) Iben Hjejle. Holm and the filmmakers have fun with its pastry-light conceit, as when Napoleon returns to Waterloo -- as a common tourist. --CH

HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION (R) Michael Meyers -- the killer in the white mask, not the Austin Powers stars -- returns in a sequel partially inspired by MTV's scare-thhe-slackers reality show "Fear." Featuring Busta Rhymes, Tyra Banks and Jamie Lee Curtis, returning for yet another "final battle."

HEY ARNOLD! THE MOVIE (PG) The flat-headed hero of the Nickelodeon cartoon series takes the big screen to fight a real estate developer who wants to build a shopping mall on Arnold's neighborhood. Sounds like a hard sell in Atlanta.

IMAX Australia: Land Beyond Time (NR) Check out the kangaroos, koalas and other denizens of Down Under in this travelogue of the world's biggest island. Through July 31. Fires of Kuwait (NR) This IMAX film captures truly infernal footage of Kuwaiti oil fires, as well as the heroic efforts to extinguish them. Fridays Through July 31. Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa (Not Rated) Everest director David Breashears' latest IMAX documentary follows an expedition through five distinct climate zones to the top of Africa's highest point. Through September 20. Fernbank Museum of Natural History IMAX Theater, 767 Clifton Road.

INSOMNIA (R) Memento director Christopher Nolan switches from memory loss to sleep deprivation in this smart police thriller about a celebrated detective (Al Pacino) becoming increasingly complicit with a dispassionate murderer (Robin Williams). Pacino and Williams each effectively turn down the volume for their cat-and-mouse games. While most noir films act under cover of darkness, Insomnia takes place in an Alaskan town where the sun literally never sets, providing a supple metaphor for the pangs of conscience.--CH


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  • Re: Fresh air

    • Local band Manchester Orchestra, who provided the soundtrack, probably would have appreciated a shout-out.

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