Short subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

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SPIRITED AWAY (PG) When her parents are turned into pigs, a Japanese girl enters the realm of spirits and deities to save them and herself. An Alice in Wonderland for the 21st century, this animated treasure finds director Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke) at the height of his powers, offering mature characterizations, sharp conflicts without violence and one of the strangest, least predictable coming-of-age stories you've ever set eyes on.--CH

STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN (PG) The Funk Brothers -- the unsung session musicians on the Motown label -- finally get their due for providing pop music with more hits than any other combo in history. The respectful but spirited documentary delivers earthy interviews with the surviving musicians as well as exuberant performances from a 2000 reunion concert, with the likes of Joan Osborne and Chaka Khan singing classics like "Heat Wave" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." At Lefont Plaza.--CH

STAR WARS: ATTACK OF THE CLONES (PG-13) The second installment of George Lucas' Star Wars prequel trilogy get the IMAX treatment. 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. Regal Cinemas Mall Of Georgia IMAX, 3379 Buford Drive, Buford.--CH

SWEET HOME ALABAMA (PG-13) You get a more accurate depiction of the South in that movie about the Country Bears than this lazy, laugh-deficient romantic comedy. Reese Witherspoon plays a hotshot designer engaged to the son of New York's mayor, who she must get a divorce from the laid-back husband (Josh Lucas) she abandoned in her sleepy Alabama home town. Witherspoon's controlled performance gives a few grace notes to a predictable parade of both Southern and wedding movie cliches.--CH

THE TRANSPORTER (PG-13) Snatch's Jason Statham plays a buff, hard-boiled courier who rebels against his evil bosses upon learning that his latest "package" is a kidnapped young woman (Shu Qi). Directed by Hong Kong fight choreographer Cory Yuen.

TREASURE PLANET (PG) Disney's heart is in the right place for this animated, space-faring version of the Robert Louis Stevenson adventure, which boasts spectacular set pieces and a nice relationship between cabin boy Jim Hawkins and a cybernetic pirate named Silver. But unnecessary ballast comes from such shameless, pandering touches as a wisecracking robot (voiced by Martin Short), a pop power ballad, a cutesy alien sidekick and interludes for extreme sports.--CH

THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE (PG-13) Daft remake of deft 1963 comedy-caper Charade puts Thandie Newton in Audrey Hepburn's place as a woman pursued all over Paris by bad guys convinced that her murdered hubby gave her their missing loot. Mark Wahlberg sleepwalks through it as a suitor who might know more than he admits about the money and the murder.--Eddy Von Mueller

THE TUXEDO (PG-13) The best special effect in a Jackie Chan movie is always Chan himself, which makes the affable performer's latest American vehicle an especially ill-fitting and ill-conceived affair. Chan plays a bumbling, insecure chauffeur who dons a top-of-the-line government issue suit that turns him into a superspy of sorts. Dressed to thrill, he teams up with a rookie agent (Jennifer Love Hewitt, enjoyably awful) to stop a power-mad bottled-water magnate (dull Ritchie Coster). It's always a rush to witness Chan kick and chop his way across the screen, but the film forces him to play second fiddle to the dull effects that allow the suit to come to life. -- MB

WES CRAVEN PRESENTS THEY (PG-13) Robert Harmon, director of the cult suspense film The Hitcher, presents this horror flick about hotties who fear that their "night terrors" suggest that bona fide boogeymen are stalking them.


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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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