Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Page 3 of 5

DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR HH (PG-13) The last David Spade film, Joe Dirt, was an irreverent throwaway with a few hilarious moments, but here he dips his toes in the dangerous waters of family-oriented, heartwarming comedy. He plays a waning child star who hires a "normal" family to experience the childhood he never had. The film's only wit comes from Spade's trademark sarcasm and from cameos by actual former child stars like Emmanuel Lewis and Leif Garrett. Everything else faintly reeks of pandering and misguided ambition. --Andrew Stewart

DIRTY PRETTY THINGS (R) This is not the finest moment for director Stephen Frears (High Fidelity, Dangerous Liaisons). Based on an interesting premise about a kidneys-for-passports black market operated from a seedy London hotel, this Hollywood-style thriller centers on a principled African immigrant determined to expose the ring. A bland romance between the principled former doctor (Chiwetel Ejiofar) and a Turkish immigrant (Audrey Tautou) weighs the film down. Frears emphasizes thriller cliches over a sustained examination of the feelings of immigrants. --FF

THE FIGHTING TEMPTATIONS (PG-13) Some soaring Gospel numbers and mildly amusing small-town gags can't absolve Cuba Gooding Jr.'s acting sins in this "underdog" comedy about a small-town choir's bid for excellence. The divinely beautiful Beyonce Knowles sings "Fever" and Gospel greats like the Reverend Shirley Caesar make joyful noise, but Gooding merely adds bland desperation to the hackneyed plot about a hustler learning to be honest with himself and others. It's like getting the chance to see terrific musicians, only to find that the cover charge is too high. --CH

FREAKY FRIDAY (PG) Teenage Anna (Lindsay Lohan) and her mother Tess (Jamie Lee Curtis) learn it's not easy to be each other when they trade bodies for a day in this unnecessary remake of 1976's grandmother of body-switch movies. Only Curtis' performance raises the production values -- barely -- above the level of a movie made for the Disney Channel. Big remains the champion of the genre. --SW

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. Through Dec. 6. Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey (NR) This world music sampler with the emphasis on percussion was filmed on five continents by the creators of the stage musical Stomp. The Stomp cast is augmented by a dozen acts representing the sounds that have influenced them, performing for about two minutes each. For all the time, money and effort involved the result should have been better. Through Feb. 6. Fernbank Museum of Natural History IMAX Theater, 767 Clifton Road. 404-929-6300. www.fernbank.edu. --SW

JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 (R) Far superior to the original installment, this flick is basically a grab bag of crazy. And therein lies its success. In the first 10 minutes alone, the tone meanders through Americana, loss, teen angst, homoeroticism, and racial tension before crash landing into a truly enjoyable creature feature. Ostensibly, the leads are some bland teen models portraying average High School students, but The Creeper, rendered by actor Jonathan Breck and some nifty CGI, is the real body-part-swallowing star of the show. It's a mess, but a fun and exciting mess that unabashedly delivers scares, laughs and serious harpooning action. --Steve Yockey

LE DIVORCE (PG-13) A shrewd, tasty little comedy about the 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, Hermees handbags and haute cuisine. --FF

LOST IN TRANSLATION (R) Director Sofia Coppola's (The Virgin Suicides) much-anticipated second film brings together Bill Murray and indie flick ingenue Scarlett Johansson as accidental tourists in Tokyo. Both insomniacs, and both at crisis points in their marriages, the two start a unique friendship that takes through from karaoke clubs to titty bars in a soft-focus search for connection and meaning. Coppola strings together enough tiny brilliant moments to overcome the film's nearly absent plot and produces a sophomore effort almost as sparkling as her first. --TB

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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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