Friday, February 12, 2010

Film Clips: Tonight’s movie openings and more

Posted By on Fri, Feb 12, 2010 at 6:46 PM

 

click to enlarge Benicio Del Toro stars in The Wolfman
  • Benicio Del Toro stars in The Wolfman

OPENING FRIDAY

44 INCH CHEST 2 stars (R) The writers of Sexy Beast reunite with two of the stars of the 2000 gangster film, Ray Winstone and Ian McShane, for another film that savages innocent civilians and the English language with equivalent violence. Winstone plays a heartbroken mobster who’s been dumped by his wife, while his mates (including Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt and Stephen Dillane) attempt to help him exact vengeance. The cast’s verbal volleys of the cockney dialogue proves highly diverting at first, but the flashy flashbacks, dream scenes and movie clips fail to pad the underdeveloped plot, so 44 Inch Chest leaves viewers feeling deflated. — Curt Holman

HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (R) A baby sitter (Jocelin Donahue) gradually suspects that the creepy parents (character actors Mary Woronov and Tom Noonan) have something sinister in mind. An homage to the horror flicks of the 1980s, this 2009 cult film never saw theatrical release in Atlanta before now.

Feb. 15-21. Cinefest Film Theatre, Georgia State University, 66 Courtland St. S.E., Suite 240. 404-413-1798. www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcft.

THE LAST STATION 4 stars (R) Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren justly earned Oscar nominations for their portrayals of Count Leo and Countess Sofya Tolstoy in this livelier-than-usual literary biopic. Dramatizing the last days of the author of War and Peace, The Last Station offers a surprisingly pertinent critique the media spotlight as reporters hang on every bit of gossip in a power struggle between the Countess and Tolstoy’s literary adviser (Paul Giamatti) over how the author with bequeath his copyright. A romantic subplot starring James McAvoy as a bumbling, adoring Tolstoy fan overplays the film’s themes about the paramount importance of love, but otherwise The Last Station seems relevant to an age of paparazzi and bloggers a century later. — Holman

PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF (PG) A troubled teenager (Logan Lerman) discovers that his father was actually the Greek deity Poseidon (Kevin McKidd) and finds himself in the middle of a conflict between gods, monsters and a summer camp populated with “half-bloods” like himself. Hoping that the Harry Potter lightning will strike twice, Chris Columbus directs this adaptation of a popular American Young Adult novel series. — Holman

REMEMBER ME (PG-13) Twilight hearththrob Robert Pattinson stars in a non-vampiric romantic drama about two lovers who try to sustain their relationship amid family tragedies. The cast includes Emilie de Ravin of “Lost” as well as Chris Cooper, Martha Plimpton, Lena Olin and Pierce Brosnan (who’s in everything these days).

VALENTINE’S DAY (PG-13) Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall helms this depiction of a single Valentine’s Day from the point of view of characters played by the likes of Julia Roberts, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Patrick Dempsey, Bradley Cooper, Jamie Foxx and George Lopez.

THE WOLFMAN 3 stars (R) In this remake of Universal’s iconic 1941 horror film, Benicio del Toro and Anthony Hopkins take over the Lon Chaney Jr. and Claude Rains roles as an ordinary man who transforms into a werewolf, and his horrified father. One can only hope that director Joe Johnston fares better with retro horror than Van Helsing’s Stephen Sommers. — Holman

DULY NOTED

BIZARRO SATURDAY MORNING 5 For those of you who dedicated many a Saturday morning to pajamas, cereal and cartoons, this is the event for you. Come experience your youth again with rarely seen cartoons and old commercials from the 30's to the 80's. Viva la nostalgia! Call for prices. 404-873-1939. Thurs., Feb. 11. 9:30 p.m. The Plaza Theatre. 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave. Encore Sat., Feb. 13. 3 p.m. www.plazaatlanta.com.

COCO BEFORE CHANEL 3 stars (PG-13) Doe-eyed French starlet Audrey Tautou (Amélie, The Da Vinci Code) plays the legendary Gallic designer, whose rags-to-riches story parallels that of another beloved femme, Edith Piaf. Both were poor little orphan girls, literally forced to sing for their suppers, who ultimately hit it big thanks to some help from their wealthy man-friends. Feb. 8-14, on a double bill with The September Issue. Showtimes vary. Cinefest Film Theatre, Georgia State University, 66 Courtland St. S.E., Suite 240. 404-413-1798. www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcft. — Debbie Michaud

THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE (NR) This documentary, directed by R.J. Cutler, tracks the development of what the movie’s tagline calls “the Bible” of the fashion religion: Vogue’s September issue, which coincides with fashion week. Cutler offers an inside look into the tremendous amount of work it takes to put together the mother of all fashion magazines.  Feb. 8-14. Showtimes vary. Cinefest Film Theatre, Georgia State University, 66 Courtland St. S.E., Suite 240. 404-413-1798. www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcft. Salina Cranor

SUMMER HOURS (2009) 4 stars (NR) In one of the most acclaimed foreign-language films of last year, three adult siblings (Juliette Binoche, Jérémie Renier and Charles Berling) disagree over what to do with their parents’ household full of Art Nouveau artwork and furniture. Director Olivier Assayas explores the tension between preserving one’s past and living for today. $7. 8 p.m. Feb. 13. High Museum, Rich Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. www.high.org. — Holman

WILD OCEAN Viewers can start with the coast of South Africa and then go under the sea to understand various relationships on and off the shore, as well as understand how people are working to prevent the beauty that is the ocean. Now through March 11. $8-$13. Showtimes vary. Fernbank Museum of Natural History, 767 Clifton Road. 404-929-6400. www.fernbankmuseum.org.

VAN GOGH: BRUSH WITH GENIUS Come any old “starry night” and have a martini while you watch and learn things you never knew about the man behind the artist. I hear they even let you keep both ears. Double Feature with The Old Man and the Sea. Showing exclusively during Martinis & IMAX®.Through March 26. $10-$13. Fri., 8 and 10:15 p.m. Fernbank Museum of Natural History, 767 Clifton Road. 404-929-6400. www.fernbankmuseum.org.

THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA Come view one of Hemingway’s greatest works the way he would want you to, with a drink in one hand. Or come enjoy it just the way he would, with a drink in both hands. Double Feature with Van Gogh: Brush of Genius. Showing exclusively during Martinis & IMAX®.Through March 26. $8-$13. Fri., 8 and 10:15 p.m. Fernbank Museum of Natural History, 767 Clifton Road. 404-929-6400. www.fernbankmuseum.org.

RECENTLY REVIEWED

DEAR JOHN 2 stars (PG-13) Can John (Channing Tatum), a clean-cut Army special forces guy, and Savannah (Amanda Seyfried), an altruistic college student, sustain their romance through love letters, even after the dislocations of Sept. 11? Nicholas Sparks’ bestselling romance novels tend to become tame, overly chaste movies, but under Lasse Hallström’s logy direction, Dear John makes Nights in Rodanthe look like Antichrist. With 20/20 hindsight, the script would have jerked more tears had it followed one of the other roles, especially since Tatum’s acting suggests a less expressive, mush-mouthed Brendan Fraser. — Holman

FROM PARIS WITH LOVE (R) Perhaps the most misleadingly titled film of the year, this shoot-em-up teams John Travolta’s bald, goateed spy with Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ straight-laced embassy employee as they attempt to avert a Parisian terrorist attack. Director Pierre Morel helmed such recent flashy action flicks as the parkour showcase District B13 and Liam Neeson’s hit Taken.

M. HULOT’S HOLIDAY (1953) 4 stars (NR) M. Hulot has impeccable manners for an agent of chaos. The creation and alter ego of beloved French director Jacques Tati, Hulot resembles a cross between an ostrich and a young Stephen Fry. Or perhaps a vintage New Yorker cartoon come to life, with angular elbows, oversized feet and an outthrust pipe perpetually intruding on other people. — Holman

DISTRICT B-13: ULTIMATUM 4 stars (NR) For the sequel, District 13: Ultimatum, Patrick Alessandrin replaces some of the street-level grit with show-offy flash, as if the follow-up has more money to burn. Where the predecessor never took itself too seriously, Ultimatum sticks its tongue so far in its cheek, it seems to be mocking itself, or maybe the audience for watching it. — Holman

(Photo Courtesy Universal)

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