Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Opening Friday
DRACULA: PAGES FROM A VIRGIN'S DIARY (NR) Audiences terrified of ballet need have no fear of Guy Maddin's screen version of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Dracula. Instead of a PBS-style documentary, Maddin turns the dance piece into a surreal homage to silent movies, especially Nosferatu. Ballet purists may not approve as Maddin creates a hypnotic rhythm of editing and camera movement, in counterpoint to the dancers, while offering a subtly comic, Freudian take on the vampire mythos. At Madstone Theaters Parkside. --Curt Holman

DON'T TEMPT ME (NR) This captivating Spanish film shifts gears roughly four times in its first 20 minutes. Heaven appears as a lush film-noir fantasyland run by the French, while the British-operated Hell is a stark and claustrophobic prison camp. On earth devilish Penélope Cruz spars with angelic Victoria Abril to claim the soul of a weather-beaten boxer (Demiàn Bichir), but eventually the two spirits must team up to fulfill their missions. --Tray Butler

MADAME SATA (NR) This uneven biopic centers on the sordid beginnings in Rio de Janeiro's slums of one of the Brazilian Carnival's stars, drag queen JoAo Francisco dos Santos (Lzaro Ramos). Brazilian-born, New York University-educated director Karim Aïnouz puts a hip, gay-cinema gloss on Joo Francisco's life, but fails to address more essential matters of creating an engaging story and a hero worth caring about. The film unfortunately also does little to convey JoAo Francisco's particular appeal as a performer, especially considering Aïnouz's editing style, which often relies on fragmented close-ups to convey the emotional texture of events rather than their realistic qualities. At Midtown Art Cinema. --Felicia Feaster

MAMBO ITALIANO (R) Paul Sorvino and Ginette Reno anchor a stereotypical Italian-Canadian family in a gay rewrite of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Their 27-year-old son Angelo (Luke Kirby) moves out and sets up housekeeping with Nino (Peter Miller), a cop who's not as ready to be out as Angelo is. This formulaic feel-good movie relies too heavily on stereotypes, but has more going for it than that. All pasta sauces use the same ingredients but some cooks combine them better than others. At Midtown Art Cinema. --Steve Warren

MILLENNIUM ACTRESS (PG) Anime auteur Satoshi Kon revisits the themes of his cult hit Perfect Blue, including the tension between media celebrity and reality, with this story of a film crew interviewing a septuagenarian film actress and finding themselves reliving past experiences along with her. At Midtown Art Cinema.

OUT OF TIME (R) Denzel Washington re-teams with Devil in a Blue Dress director Carl Franklin for another detective thriller, this time playing a small-town Florida police chief accused of homicide.

THE SCHOOL OF ROCK (PG-13) As fraudulent substitute teacher Dewey Finn, Jack Black offers an endlessly hilarious, PG-13 version of his Tenacious D persona, a posturing, legend-in-his-own-mind rock star. When Dewey teaches his class of private school fifth-graders how to be head-bangers, School of Rock takes the mush-mouthed clichés of a zillion "underdog" movies and cranks them up to 11. With Slacker director Richard Linklater and Chuck & Buck actor/scripter Mike White, Black offers the kind of formula film that gives the formula a good name. --CH

Duly Noted
BANGKOK DANGEROUS (R) The Pang Brothers, directors of The Eye, pay homage to John Woo and Wong Kar-Wai in this stylish action flick about a deaf-mute hit-man working in the title city. Oct. 3-9, Cinefest, GSU Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565.

THE ESCAPE (2001) (NR) Argentine director Eduardo Mignogna adapts his own novel, a tale of seven prisoners' daring getaway from Buenos Aires' National Penitentiary in 1928. Latin American Film Festival. Oct. 3, 7 p.m., Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Auditorium. $5. 404-733-4570., and Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m., Madstone Theaters Parkside, 920 Roswell Rd., 404-252-2000

THE EYE (R) More supernatural drama than horror flick, the Pang Brothers' film is a second-rate, Chinese rehash of The Sixth Sense. Young Mun (Lee Sin-Je), who's been blind since infancy, has her sight restored surgically and starts seeing ghosts. The search for the donor leads to Bangkok, where The Eye finally becomes its own movie -- and a damn good one. It will be too little too late for some viewers while others leave happy, remembering only the final 20 minutes. Oct. 3-9, Cinefest, GSU Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. --SW

FILM SLAM IMAGE Film & Video Center's freewheeling evening of short films takes inspiration from "The Gong Show," as a panel of judges, egged on by the audience, will dictate whether films will run to the end or will get "gonged" in progress. Awards will be given for the best and worst efforts of the evening. Oct. 8 at 8 p.m., The Echo Lounge, 551 Flat Shoals Ave. $5 (free for IMAGE members). 404-352-4225.


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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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