Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of recently reviewed films


· CRANK (R) A hitman (Jason Statham) must track down who injected him with a poison that will kill him if his heart rate drops below a certain rate. Sort of like Speed, only instead of a fast-moving bus, it's a fast-moving guy.

· CROSSOVER (PG-13) Two friends, both basketball hustlers with different long-term goals, enter an underground street ball game in this sports flick that features Anthony Mackie and Wayne Brady.

· FACTOTUM 4 stars (R) See review.

· IDIOCRACY (R) Office Space director and "Beavis & Butt-Head" creator Mike Judge helms this sci-fi satire about an average man (Luke Wilson) who sleeps for 1,000 years and awakens to discover that society has become so dumbed-down, he's now the smartest man on Earth.

· LASSIE 4 stars (PG) Like a kid's classic imagined by Ken Loach, the screen's favorite plucky collie returns in a socially aware drama. Set in Yorkshire on the eve of World War II, this heart-tugging charmer features Lassie as the beloved pet of a coal miner's son whose unemployed father is forced to sell the family dog to a local aristocrat. A true socialist, Lassie shows her allegiance to the working class by repeatedly running away from the rich folk, even when they move to Scotland. An emotionally pure, occasionally comic film that divides the world into those who are kind to animals and those who are not, this British-made Lassie features countless scenes of Lassie standing majestically on mountaintops or racing through green fields to reunite with her beloved working class moppet. It may be a little long for wee folk, but for the rest of us, this kid's yarn is a cut above the rest.­ -- Felicia Feaster

· MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL 5 stars They're Knights of the Round Table. They dance whene'er they're able. They do routines and chorus scenes with footwork impecc-able. It's a busy life in Camelot. They sing from the diaphragm a lot. (This re-release boasts a whopping "24 seconds" of unseen footage.) -- Curt Holman

· THE PROTECTOR (NR) An international mafia syndicate steals two beloved elephants from Kham (Ong-Bak's Tony Jaa), a Thai martial arts expert, who had planned to present the large animals to the king of Thailand. Kham must travel to foreign lands and take on the mafia to get the elephants back.

· THE QUIET 3 stars (R) But I'm A Cheerleader director Jamie Babbit's film is a moderately icky teen gothic told via the voice over narration of a deaf-mute girl (Camilla Belle). Dot (Belle) is taken in by a wealthy family when her father dies, but it's out of the frying pan and into the fire of this highly dysfunctional family ruled by the merciless law of beautiful, blonde ice queen Nina (Elisha Cuthbert) and her emotionally estranged parents (Edie Falco and Martin Donovan). Babbit's is an unconventional, imperfect but thematically ambitious thriller with something to say about the depths beneath its female characters' surfaces.­ -- Feaster

· QUINCEANERA 4 stars (R) See review.

· TRUST THE MAN 3 stars (R) See review.

· THE WAR TAPES (NR) Deborah Scranton's documentary derives from digital camera footage National Guard soldiers took to capture their perspective on the War in Iraq.

· THE WICKER MAN (R) In the Company of Men director Neil LaBute remakes the classic 1973 Christopher Lee horror flick about a mysterious pagan community. The remake stars Nicolas Cage, Ellen Burstyn, Leelee Sobieski and Molly Parker.


· ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL 1 star (R) Hard to believe the man who brought us the heartfelt alienation of the R. Crumb documentary Crumb and the profound teen misanthropy of Ghost World has veered so badly off course in his blandly cynical adaptation of graphic novelist (and Ghost World collaborator) Daniel Clowes's comic. Ostensibly following the growing disillusionment of an art school freshman (Max Minghella) with his conceptual art-centric NYC art school, the film is, in truth, just a sex-obsessed, wisecracking and out-of-date revisitation of the tone and quality of the crass teen sex comedies of the Eighties. Sep. 8-14. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. 404-651-3565. -- Feaster

· DISTRICT B-13 3 stars (R) In sort of a Euro-Disney version of Escape From New York, a high-jumping underworld Robin Hood (David Belle) and a two-fisted undercover cop (Cyril Raffaelli) break into a walled-off Parisian ghetto to disarm a neutron bomb. Written by La Femme Nikita director Luc Besson, this virtually plotless action flick never slows down enough to worry that it makes no sense. With fights and chases worthy of Jackie Chan, District B-13 turns out to be a deliriously fun guilty pleasure worthy of the drive-in, despite its French pedigree. Through Sep. 7. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. 404-651-3565. -- Holman

· THE DRAGON*CON INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL (NR) The film screening of Atlanta's long-running fantasy convention features documentaries and a short film competition of genre flicks featuring such topics as "monstrous African birds, greedy time travelers, persecuted robots, depressed vampires, ninja store clerks, confused storm troopers, and dead mimes." Sep. 1-4, Hyatt Regency, 265 Peachtree St.

· DRIVE INVASION 2006 (NR) One of the best ways to see movies in the city, this year's annual festival of hot rods, cool bands and cult films features such fare as 2001 Maniacs, Galaxy of Terror, The Car and the remake of Godzilla, the latter no doubt a tie-in with musical guests Blue Oyster Cult. Sep. 2-3, Starlight Six Drive-In, 2000 Moreland Ave. $30 daily passes ($50 weekend). 404-627-5786.

· GILANEH (2005) (NR) This anti-war film takes place in 1988 during the Iraqi bombing of Tehran. $7. Sat. Sep. 9. 8 p.m., Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Theatre. 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-4570.

· IRON ISLAND (2005) (NR) This allegorical drama takes place almost entirely on a huge oil tanker -- which qualifies almost as a floating village -- as it slowly sinks in the Persian Gulf. $7. Fri., Sep. 8, 8 and 10 p.m., Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-4570.

· THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) (R) The cult classic of cult classics, the musical horror spoof follows an all-American couple (Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick) to the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a drag-queen/mad scientist from another galaxy. It's all fun and games until Meat Loaf gets killed. Dress as your favorite character and participate in this musical on acid. Midnight Fri. at Lefont Plaza Theatre and Sat. at Peachtree Cinema & Games, Norcross.


· ACCEPTED (PG-13) A rejected high school grad (Justin Long) and his friends invent and enroll in a fictional university. By glorifying the college experience and removing classes from the equation, this comedy sounds a little like Old School only not so, you know, old.

· ANOTHER GAY MOVIE (Not Rated) This comedy puts a gay spin on the premise of American Pie as four gay high school teens vow to lose their virginity before going to college.

· THE ANT BULLY 4 stars (PG) A bullied kid takes out his aggression on a front yard ant pile until he is magically shrunken down to ant size and forced to learn how the other half lives. -- Feaster

· BARNYARD (PG) In what sounds like a feature-film version of a "Far Side" gag, cows and other farm animals behave like human beings when no one's looking. The question is, since cows are female, why are they being voiced by male actors like Kevin James of "The King of Queens?"

· BEERFEST 3 stars (R) Two American brothers stumble upon -- and badly lose -- an International "beer olympics," and vow to return and win a year later. The Broken Lizard team of actor/filmmakers, creators of such modern-day slob comedies Super Troopers and Club Dread, live up -- or down -- to the film's beery premise and leaves the audience drunk with laughter. -- Noah Gardenswartz

· THE DESCENT 3 stars (R) Six female friends, most of them English, go on a caving expedition and run afoul of sightless, humanoid underground dwellers. Writer-director Neill Marshall does a precise job of setting up the group dynamics, survival details and claustrophic dynamics before the monsters show up. Once they do, The Descent feels a little too much like a knock-off of Aliens or various zombie-film franchises, but the film's intensity and respect for character set it above sadistic shlock like the Saw films. -- Holman

· THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA 3 stars (PG-13) Anne Hathaway plays a recent grad and aspiring journalist who gets a job at the high fashion Runway magazine where she is tortured by boss-from-hell Meryl Streep, whose wondrously snarky performance steals the show. But this film quickly unspools into a tiresomem bottom-of-the-barrel teen film instructing us that fashion is shallow and meaningless and we were silly girls to believe otherwise. -- Feaster

· GABRIELLE (Not Rated) Isabelle Huppert and Pascal Gregory star in this French drama about fraying marriage, based on Joseph Conrad's short story "The Return."

· THE GROOMSMEN (R) Edward Burns, the writer/director/star of The Brothers McMullen and other even less memorable films, fulfills triple duty again as a bridegroom who, along with his four attendants (Donal Logue, Matthew Lillard, John Leguizamo and Jay Mohr), wrestle with masculine maturity issues.

· HOW TO EAT FRIED WORMS (PG) Based on Thomas Rockwell's book, this film depicts an 11-year-old boy (Luke Benwald) who accepts a bully's challenge to eat 10 worms in one day. Tom Cavanaugh and Kimberly Williams co-star.

· IDLEWILD 3 stars (R) The Cotton Club meets Purple Rain in first time director Bryan Barber's Prohibition-era musical featuring Outkast's André "3000" Benjamin and Antwan A. "Big Boi" Patton. Percival (Benjamin) is the straight-laced piano player in the raucous, gin-soaked Church nightclub where his childhood friend Rooster (Patton) entertains the crowd with his lewd musical numbers and tries to wrest control of the club away from gangsters led by Hustle & Flow's Terrence Howard. Barber is an acrobatic, visually sophisticated director who blends newfangled animation and an old Hollywood sensibility and his blend of everything's new again gangster attitude with hip hop style is canny as well, though a hackneyed script keeps standing in the way of a film that only truly flies when the musical numbers are on. -- Feaster

· THE ILLUSIONIST 4 stars (PG-13) In this twisty, arresting drama set in early 20th century Vienna, Edward Norton plays a Houdini-style magician obsessed with the fiance (Jessica Biel) of the sadistic crown prince (Rufus Sewell). Some of the period-piece details prove a little unsteady, but overall writer-director Neil Burger spins a clever, compelling yarn that appreciates the power of stage magic to both seize your attention and confound your expectations. -- Holman

· IMAX THEATER Greece: Secrets of the Past (NR) This documentary explores the archeological secrets of Ancient Greece and features the Parthenon in its original glory as well as the volcanic eruption that buried the island of Santorini. Dolphins (NR): Pierce Brosnan narrates this slick look at dolphins and the bathing-suited scientists who study them. Fernbank Museum of Natural History IMAX Theater, 767 Clifton Road. 404-929-6300.

· INVINCIBLE 3 stars (PG) This film retells the inspiring story of Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg) -- a broke and broken-hearted south-Philly bartender who attended an open tryout for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1976 and ended up making the team. It's not quite Rudy, but it will put a tear in your eye as you root for the underdog. -- Gardenswartz

· LA MOUSTACHE 4 stars (Not Rated) This accomplished and absolutely engrossing film based on Emmanuel Carrere's own novel recalls Michael Haneke and Hitchcock, but has a surreality all its own. In an escalating psychological vortex greatly enhanced by Philip Glass's score, husband (Vincent Lindon) and wife (Emmanuelle Devos) struggle to contend with a profound fracture in their individual versions of reality: Lindon shaves off his mustache but Devos claims he never had one to begin with. -- Feaster

· LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE 2 stars (R) When a bubbly 7-year-old (Abigail Breslin) aspires to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant, her quirky relatives (including Greg Kinnear as a failed motivational speaker and Steve Carell as a suicidal Proust scholar) take a road trip across country. Not since National Lampoon's Vacation has such a Whitman's Sampler of freaks crammed into a car, and this feather-light film only serves to prove the increasing mainstreaming of independent film. -- Feaster

· MATERIAL GIRLS (PG) Hilary Duff and her sister Haylie play rich society girls rendered penniless by a public scandal. If you like the word "celebutante," this could be the film for you.

· MIAMI VICE 2 stars (R) Detectives go under cover as drug smugglers to find an FBI mole in an international drug cartel.

· MONSTER HOUSE 2 stars (PG) Three sleuthing middle-schoolers suspect that the spooky house across the street possesses supernatural powers and a ravenous appetite for unsuspecting visitors. The haunted house looks great and the kid-characters play well with each other, but Monster House feels like a deliberate throwback to the 1980s' shrill, silly suburban adventures like The Goonies. Take that as an endorsement or a warning. -- Holman

· THE OH IN OHIO 2 stars (R) A successful Cleveland ad exec named Priscilla (Parker Posey) sees her marriage to a high school biology teacher (Paul Rudd) disintegrate due to her never having experienced an orgasm. Despite a fine cast and intriguing premise, The Oh in Ohio plays like an all-too conventional Hollywood comedy of embarrassment, particularly when Priscilla attends a masturbation class and, later, gets a little too fond of a battery powered marital aid. The script shows little insight into relationships or the psychology of sex, and generally proves about as realistic as Meg Ryan's "I'll have what she's having" scene from When Harry Met Sally. -- Holman

· PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST 3 stars (PG-13) Like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is to Raiders of the Lost Ark, this follow-up to unexpectedly clever Curse of the Black Pearl waters down the wit of its predecessor with labored slapstick and spectacle. -- Holman

· THE PUFFY CHAIR (R) A would-be rocker (played by Mark Duplass, the film's screenwriter) travels cross-country to deliver his father's reclining chair in this no-budget sleeper comedy.

· SCOOP 2 stars (PG-13) We thought Woody Allen had regained his footing with the nasty thriller Match Point, but the regrettable stodgy comic is back in this essential regurgitation of the Match Point premise with comedy-thriller packaging. Scarlett Johansson is again a promiscuous American abroad in London who hooks up with a handsome aristocrat (Hugh Jackman) who may also be a serial killer. A madly flailing, quipping Allen is the American magician who helps Sondra Pransky (Johansson) solve the murder mystery but endlessly irritates with his same old schtick every step of the way. -- Feaster

· SNAKES ON A PLANE (R) Based on the strength of the preposterous, plot-summariziang title alone, a huge Internet cult has sprung up around Samuel L. Jackson's thriller about a planeload of reptiles on passenger jet. Can the finished production possibly live up to the fan-generated hype?

· STEP UP (PG-13) A privileged ballerina (Jenna Dewan) falls for a rebellious street dancer (Channing Tatum) doing community service at Baltimore's Maryland School of the Arts in this romance with hip-hop dance numbers.

· TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY 3 stars (PG-13) NASCAR racing champ Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) sees his world crumble after a challenge from a gay, French Formula One racer ("Ali G's" Sacha Baron Cohen). Ferrell and Anchorman director wrote the screenplay, which again feels like a pretext for noisy improvising and funny outfits. Still, the film satirizes America's current cultural landscape by confronting the so-called "Red State" Southern mentality with such displays as men kissing, gay marriage and outrageous Frenchness. -- Holman

· WORLD TRADE CENTER 2 stars (PG-13) Oliver Stone's account of two New York Port Authority police officers (played by Nicolas Cage and Michael Pena) and their experiences at Ground Zero on Sep. 11 begins as a genuinely gripping account of a disaster America is still trying to process. When the focus shifts to the officers' worried families awaiting their rescue, World Trade Center sinks into tepid, surprisingly conventional tale of Hollywood uplift. Perhaps trying to distance himself from his liberal reputation, Stone errs in the opposite direction and toes the conservative party line. -- Holman

· ZOOM (PG) Tim Allen plays a former superhero who must train a rag-tag bunch of super-powered kids to save the world. Featuring Courtney Cox, Chevy Chase and Rip Torn.


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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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