Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Page 3 of 4

FREDDY VS. JASON (R) Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) calls on hockey-masked Jason Voorhees to help him terrorize teens. But when Jason's killing spree oversteps Freddy's turf, it's scissors vs. rock in a B-movie boogeymen fantasy match. --Tray Butler

GRIND (PG-13) It's some kind of road comedy about four brash, skateboarding buddies traveling cross-country. Look for appearances by Randy Quaid, Jackass' Bam Margera and "The Kids in the Hall's" Dave Foley.

IMAX THEATER: Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure (NR) The greatest survival story of the 20th century lends itself to IMAX treatment. Kevin Spacey narrates Sir Ernest Shackleton's attempt to cross Antarctica by dogsled without his usual sarcasm but without overselling it either. The visuals combine Frank Hurley's original photographs and film footage, which retain amazing clarity, with recreations of the original expedition. Coral Reef Adventure (NR) A Fijian, concerned that a local reef is dying, hooks up with underwater filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall, who diagnose a combination of ocean warming, overfishing and residue from upriver logging. Through Sept. 1. Fernbank Museum of Natural History IMAX Theater, 767 Clifton Road. 404-929-6300. --SW

L'AUBERGE ESPAGNOLE (R) This utterly charming, hip and modern story follows French graduate student Xavier (Romain Duris) on his chaotic journey from his Parisian home to the warm and sexy embrace of Barcelona. Cedric Klapisch continues to mine the hipster humanism he delivered so beautifully in 1997's When the Cat's Away. At Marietta Star Cinema. --FF

LE DIVORCE (PG-13) A shrewd, tasty little comedy about the shocking cultural divide between America and France, this Merchant/Ivory production concerns Roxy (Naomi Watts), an American poet in Paris, who discovers Old World sexism in the French legal system when her husband deserts her for his mistress. Kate Hudson is her sister, dispatched from Santa Barbara to look after the newly pregnant Roxy. While Roxy stews, Isabel (Hudson) begins an adulterous affair with a right-wing politician and falls in love with French social customs involving lingerie, sex, Hermeès handbags and haute cuisine. --FF

THE LEGEND OF BHAGAT SINGH (2002) (NR) This Bollywood historical musical recounts the life of the famed freedom fighter of the title. At Marietta Star Cinema.

THE MAGDALENE SISTERS (R) Actor/director Peter Mullan's film is hyperbolic and at every turn rigged to inspire outrage. But it is also a highly effective, darkly engrossing condemnation of the checkered history of religious abuses of power. The drama takes place at one of Ireland's "Magdalene Asylums," which operated from the 19th century until 1996 as a virtual prison for girls accused of "moral crimes" ranging from being raped, to out-of-wedlock childbirth to flirtatiousness. Mullan's women-in-prison formula follows three young girls who are nearly destroyed by the sadism of the nuns who oversee their work in the asylum's grueling laundries. --FF

NORTHFORK (PG-13) If Ingmar Bergman made Northfork it would be hailed as a masterpiece, but when a film is in English, Americans expect to understand it (unless David Lynch made it). Written by twins Mark and Michael Polish (Michael directed), it takes place in 1955 during the 48 hours before a hydroelectric dam floods Northfork, Montana. --SW

OPEN RANGE (R) Kevin Costner (who also directed and co-produced) plays a conflicted cattle driver pitted against a greedy land baron. A sleepy opening and sometimes tedious pacing make the first hour drag, but Robert Duvall's fine performance as a fatherly cow poke keeps things moving along until the explosive final gun battle, which is worth the wait. --TB

SEABISCUIT (PG-13) Pleasantville director Gary Ross adapts Laura Hillenbrand's bestselling bio of the famed racehorse by emphasizing "The Biscuit's" owner (Jeff Bridges), trainer (Chris Cooper) and jockey (Tobey Maguire). Initially the film moves as slow as a plow horse -- David McCullough's nostalgic narration could be marketed as anesthesia -- and the big races look too much alike. But the three leads provide letter-perfect performances and the "match race" against War Admiral (the Apollo Creed to Seabiscuit's Rocky Balboa) captures the thrill of the sport for rider and spectator alike. --CH

THE SECRET LIVES OF DENTISTS (R) A cuckold dentist (Campbell Scott) taps his aggressive side at the urging of a patient (Denis Leary). Based upon a Jane Smiley novella. At United Artists Tara Cinemas.

S.W.A.T. (PG-13) Veteran TV director/actor Clark Johnson makes good with his big-screen directing debut with an adaptation of the 1970s cop show that lags in some parts and proves anticlimactic in others. Samuel L. Jackson leads a team of newly-recruited quasi-loose cannons, including Colin Farrell and Michelle Rodriguez, in guarding a vaguely international criminal (Olivier Martinez), who offers $100 million to anyone whom can spring him. Non-stop action ensues when every criminal in L.A. takes him up on the offer. Training Day it ain't, but in a summer full of overblown sequels, S.W.A.T.'s simple cop-flick formula is a nice relief. --AS


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