Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of recently released movies

Page 3 of 4

· LA MUJER DE MI HERMANO (R) A restless housewife (Mexican soap opera star Barbara Mori) begins an affair with her husband's brother in this steamy, Spanish-language erotic thriller.

· THE NOTORIOUS BETTIE PAGE 4 stars (R) Mary Harron, director of I Shot Andy Warhol and American Psycho, explores more extremes of gender politics in this deceptively lighthearted biopic of the 1950s' "Pin-Up Queen of the Universe." Gretchen Mol superbly captures the mixed feelings of the devout Christian sex goddess as she becomes an erotic fantasy figure. Though presented (mostly) in sleek black and white comparable to 1950s cautionary films, Bettie Page emphasizes the gray areas in the morality of kinks. -- Holman

· ONE LAST THING ... (R) A young man (Michael Angarano) with a terminal illness has a wish to spend a weekend with a supermodel (Sunny Mabrey) in this dark comedy with Cynthia Nixon and Gina Gershon.

· PHAT GIRLZ (PG-13) Mo'Nique plays an aspiring designer of plus-sized fashions who looks for love and acceptance in this comedy that co-stars Eric Roberts.

· THE PROMISE 2 stars (PG-13) The most expensive film in Chinese history, this mythic, operatic tale of love and fate relies on lavish visuals that manage to be lush and laughable all at once. The knotty love story features a cursed beauty, a proud general, a preening villain and a slave who can run (unconvincingly) like the Flash, but The Promise mostly offers acre upon acre of kitsch. You watch, jaw agape, at such sights as warriors wearing red pompoms or the supersonic man-on-man piggyback rides and marvel how anyone (including some respectable critics) have taken it seriously. -- Holman

· RV 2 stars (PG) In RV, Robin Williams merges his patented humor with a recognizably human character -- it's just a shame the vehicle that carries this engaging performance doesn't offer a smoother ride. Instead of looking at the tug-of-war between career and home, the movie reveals an obsession with labored slapstick and potty humor, meaning we get tiresome scenes in which Williams' character falls down hills or finds himself covered head-to-toe in fecal matter. By the end, the crudity is so excessive, it makes National Lampoon's Vacation look as sophisticated as The Accidental Tourist. -- Matt Brunson

· THE SENTINEL 2 stars (PG-13) Michael Douglas plays Harrison Ford and Kiefer Sutherland costars as Tommy Lee Jones in this slick thriller that tries to put one over on the audience but ends up only fooling itself. An appropriately constipated Douglas plays a Secret Service agent wrongly suspected of attempting to assassinate the U.S. President (David Rasche); it falls to his colleague and former friend (Sutherland) to track him down. The script runs out of steam long before the physically fit actors in the cast, leading to a string of unsatisfactory resolutions and tedious action set-pieces. Director Clark Johnson doubtless planned to deliver a hand-wringing thriller filled with unexpected twists and turns, but even good intentions can find themselves caught in the line of fire. -- Brunson

· SCARY MOVIE 4 2 stars (PG-13) Anna Faris and Regina Hall reprise their roles yet again for this irreverent, but mostly crude, send-up of pop culture, particularly horror movies. Some potentially clever moments of parody fall flat by lampooning material that's long past its expiration date, especially gags involving a certain Scientologist actor and daytime talk show host. Even moments like Dr. Phil (the real one) severing his own foot (the wrong one) in a send-up of Saw II couldn't save this farce. Like an old joke that's been told too many times, the Scary Movie franchise should have been severed after its third installment. -- Keene

· SILENT HILL (R) Despite the protests of her husband (Sean Bean), a frightened mother (Radha Mitchell) takes her gravely ill daughter to the otherworldly ghost town of Silent Hill in search of a cure. This style-drenched horror flick was written by Pulp Fiction co-scripter Roger Avary.

· STICK IT (PG-13) A rebellious young gymnast (Missy Peregrym) throws off-balance an elite gymnastics program run by a legendary trainer (Jeff Bridges).

· SOPHIE SCHOLL: THE FINAL DAYS 3 stars (NR) German national heroine Sophie Scholl (Julia Jentsch) and her brother, Hans (Fabian Hinrichs), were part of a small anti-Nazi resistance group, the White Rose, that defied the authorities by leafletting Munich University with anti-Hitler propaganda, an act of treason that ultimately led to a show trial and a death sentence. The Edukators' Jentsch brings dignity and fortitude to her portrait of Scholl, who refused to let her sex save her from her brother's fate and demanded to be punished for her crime just as a man would, defying stereotypes of female weakness and the Nazi consignment of women to compliant baby factories. -- Feaster

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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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