Short Subjectives 

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· SOMETHING NEW - 2 Stars (PG-13) Following in the footsteps of films like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and Jungle Fever, Something New seeks to explore the complexities of interracial love. Unfortunately, this predictable tale of a black professional female (Sanaa Lathan) falling for a white landscaper (Simon Baker) -- filled with a host of one-demensional characters -- only provides a surface-level view of race and romance in America. -- Carlton Hargro

· SYRIANA - 4 Stars (R) Brutally intelligent and often profoundly difficult to follow, Academy Award-winning screenwriter (Traffic) Stephen Gaghan's second directing effort replaces Traffic's drug war with the contemporary battle for oil. This engrossing, closely observed thriller concerns the interconnected lives of people touched by the international oil trade, including a CIA operative in the Middle East (George Clooney), a Geneva-based American energy analyst (Matt Damon), and a rising D.C. lawyer (Jeffrey Wright) who all have something to gain or lose from events in the oil-rich Middle East. -- Feaster

· TRANSAMERICA - 2 Stars (R) Felicity Huffman ("Desperate Housewives") deserves praise for her well-observed performance as Bree Osbourne, a pre-op male-to-female transsexual anxiously awaiting her sex change operation. A hitch is thrown in her plan when an adult son (Kevin Zegers) she didn't know she had turns up and the pair drive from New York to California, meeting various kooks along the way. For a road movie about a trannie trying to keep her true gender a secret from her male prostitute son, Transamerica is a weirdly conventional film which ends up making Bree's prissy she-male ways the butt of too many jokes. -- Feaster

· UNDERWORLD EVOLUTION (R) The sequel to Underworld features Kate Beckinsale reprising her role as a gun-toting, leather-clad blood-drinker caught it a centuries-old grudge match between vampires and werewolves. Respectable thespians Bill Nighy and Derek Jacobi turn up to lend a little class.

· WALK THE LINE - 3 Stars (PG-13) This biopic of legendary but troubled country music star Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) focuses on his decades-long relationship with singer and muse June Carter (Reese Witherspoon). Witherspoon offers a fresh, original portrayal of a weary celebrity in a vastly different era of pop culture from our own, but James Mangold's film reveals little of Cash's inner life beyond his drug problems and crush on June, so Phoenix often comes across as merely sullen. The cast impressively sings their own songs, and the early rockabilly tours (with Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis) convey the excitement of rock's early days. -- Holman

· WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (PG-13) Increasingly ominous phone calls terrorize a baby sitter in this remake of the 1979 thriller (inspired by a famous urban legend). If it's a hit, they can remake the 1993 sequel: the brilliantly titled When a Stranger Calls Back.

· THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN - 2 Stars (PG-13) Middle-of-nowhere New Zealander Burt Munro (a feisty Anthony Hopkins) aspires to set a land-speed record on his antique, jerry-rigged motorcycle in this heavily clichéd biopic. Once Munro reaches the competition at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats, the film finds some sharp conflicts: Burt's relentless, follow-your-dream platitudes begin to sound genuinely suicidal. Up until that point, though, Indian putters along with its tame portrait of a small-town eccentric, followed by a drowsy "What a country!" American road trip. -- Holman

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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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