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· THE GOSPEL HH (PG-13) Atlanta filmmaker Rob Hardy wrote and directed this heavy-handed tale of an R&B star who returns to his estranged father's church seeking redemption. Some soaring numbers from some of gospel music's biggest stars and a charismatic performance from "The Wire's" Idris Elba as an ambitious, media-savvy pastor provide the brightest spots in this unsubtle retelling of the prodigal son parable. -- Holman

· IMAX THEATER Mystery of the Nile (NR): This IMAX adventure follows a small group of reporters and filmmakers as they travel 3,000 miles up the Nile River. Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets (NR): This exploration of one of America's greatest natural wonders retraces the canyon's history, from Native Americans to modern-day whitewater rafters. Fernbank Museum of Natural History IMAX Theater, 767 Clifton Road. 404-929-6300.

· JARHEAD HHH (R) In Sam Mendes‚ adaptation of Anthony Swofford's memoir, a Marine sniper (Jake Gyllenhaal) fllirts with madness as he awaits combat in the Persian Gulf War. Jarhead presents snappy bits of barracks humor and some haunting images (Kuwait‚s burning oil fields look like hell itself), but inevitably feels anticlimactic: the "jarheads" suffer a kind of existential dilemma as they long to kill but never see combat. Admirably sympathetic to the pressures brought upon the modern military, Jarhead still proves disappointingly evasive in its lack of opinion on the current Iraq War. -- Holman

· KINGS AND QUEEN HHHH (NR) In this rich, erudite melodrama, French filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin cuts between two parallel stories: Emmanuelle Devos' single mother faces her father's terminal illness, while Mathieu Amalric's tempestuous violinist finds himself committed to a mental hospital. The two plots roughly divide between drama and comedy, but Kings and Queen never fits into neat genre categories, and Desplechin, directing like a man told he'll never make another film again, seems to cram his every life lesson and aesthetic idea into a fast-paced two-and-a-half hours. -- Holman

· KISS KISS, BANG BANG HHH (R) Scripter Shane Black, best known for penning Lethal Weapon, makes his directorial debut with this fast and furious yarn that isn't a buddy/action movie as much as a send-up of a buddy/action movie. Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer are both in top form, respectively playing a none-too-bright thief who gets mistaken for an actor and the gay private eye assigned to prepare him for his screen test. The murder-mystery plot becomes needlessly complicated and doesn't hang together, causing the picture to move forward in fits and starts. But, as scathing indictments of Tinseltown go, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang may not be The Player, but it's a player nonetheless. -- Brunson

· THE LEGEND OF ZORRO HH (PG) Mr. and Mrs. Zorro (Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones) divorce after 10 years of marital smoldering and squabbling, but can their oh-so-cute son (Adrian Alonso) -- and a lot of obvious computerized special effects -- help them thwart a conspiracy that threatens the future of America? Despite reuniting the director and stars of 1998's rousing The Mask of Zorro, this belated sequel proves so sloppy, silly and overacted, it contaminates your memories of the prior film. -- Holman

· NINE LIVES HHHH (R) An Altmanesque anthology loaded with famous faces from Sissy Spacek to Glenn Close, director Rodrigo Garcia's film about the turbulent events in nine different Los Angeles women's lives has the feel of a collection of well-crafted short stories. (Garcia's father is novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez.) Each story is shot in one continuous take, and if they're not all great, the film offers enough food for thought and stellar performances to elevate the lesser material. -- Feaster

· NORTH COUNTRY HHHH (R) Charlize Theron is a mother of two who escapes an abusive marriage only to find more brutality when she takes a job at a mine where women are viewed as unwanted intruders in a male domain. Though the film comes with a conventional stand-up-and-cheer courtroom denouement, its portrait of the pervasive cruelty of both men and women who conspire to keep women in their place should inspire some soul-searching about both the good and the bad that society supports. -- Feaster

· PARADISE NOW HHH (PG-13) The kind of incendiary film that will vindicate some and infuriate others, Hany Abu-Assad's non-sequitur mix of dark comedy and thriller follows two hopeless young Palestinian men (Kais Nashef and Ali Suliman) who have decided to become suicide bombers and travel with bombs strapped to their bodies, from the West Bank to Tel Aviv. Too didactic and structurally rambling to be a great film, Abu-Assad's is instead a smaller, imperfect human drama that dares to humanize people others would prefer to write off as terrorists. -- 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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