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Friday, May 28, 2010

Film Clips: This weekend's movie openings and more

click to enlarge Andrew Cooper
  • Andrew Cooper

FILM OPENINGS

SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD (R ) 1 star (George A. Romero brought us the modern version of zombie thrasher movies, but this latest edition is a more of a morbid Romeo and Juliet clash of the clans that just so happens to lead to a struggle for life among the dead.

SEX AND THE CITY 2 (R ) 2 stars Men are from Abu-Dhabi and women are from Venus. The SATC sequel sends the cast to the middle east where they enjoy lavish living after Samantha impresses a rich sheik. All four women peruse the city (and all of its misogyny) amidst their highly individualistic problems — yet again.

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (PG-13) 3 stars From Jerry Bruckheimer comes the action-packed videogame-based movie that has little historic accuracy. Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a street kid-turned-courageous-(and buff)-warrior prince in sixth century Persia. When Dastan, along with his brothers and his uncle (Ben Kingsley) conquer the holy city of Alamut, a struggle ensues within the family for control, not just of the empire, but of a sand-fuelled dagger with the power to turn back time. — Andisheh Nouraee

DULY NOTED

AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973) (PG) this coming of age comedy-drama co-written by George Lucas, might as well have inspired all others. Set in the ’60s, two boys (Ron Howard and Richard Dreyfuss) are about to embark on the next chapter of their lives in college, but they still have one epic night on the last day of summer left. Free. May 28, 9 p.m. High Museum of Art. 1280 Peachtree Street. 404-733-4570. www.high.org

CITY ISLAND (2009) (PG-13) Everyone has something to hide, but sometimes it just doesn’t stay hidden. Secrets are uncovered when a man’s most shameful ambitions entangle him in a web of lies after he brings home his long-lost ex-con son. Fueled by it’s comedy, City Island is a humorous account of a family that vehemently avoids the truth. 5:45 p.m., 7:45 p.m. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave., $8-$12. 404-873-1939

www.plazaatlanta.com

THE ECLIPSE (2009) (R )The phantom world crosses paths with that of the living when a man is haunted by apparitions of his recently deceased wife. 5:30 p.m. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave., $8-$12. 404-873-1939 www.plazaatlanta.com

EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP (R ) A documentary about graffiti artist named Bansky who turns the limelight on the French shopkeeper and the filmmaker who try to expose him. Landmark Midtown Arts Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive North East, 678-495-1424 (www.landmarktheaters.com)

GREENBERG (R ) Roger Greenberg appears to be going nowhere in life. The single, 40ish-year-old goes to L.A .to house-sit for his successful and married brother where he meets his assistant who just happens to be a fellow lost soul. With their connection through music and lifestyle choices Greenberg might finally find something worth chasing. Show times vary. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave., $8-$12. 404-873-1939 www.plazaatlanta.com

PRINCESS KAIULANI (2009) (PG) Set in the late 1800s, the movie is an account of the Hawaiian royals exiled after a civil war. Princess Kaiulani is separated from her family, but must find a way back to America where she can meet President Cleveland and correct misconceptions about her people. Show times vary. Regal Tara Cinemas, 2345 Cheshire Bridge Road N.E. 404-634-6288. www.REGmovies.com

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) (R ) The Plaza Theater brings back the celebration of horror and sexual liberation. The kinky comedy is visually captivating and aurally pleasing and basically an anthem to the rock ’n’ roll sci-fi fusion. May 28, 12 a.m. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave., $8-$12. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.

THE RUNAWAYS (R ) 3 stars Joan Jett famously proclaimed "I don't give a damn about my bad reputation!" in one of her trademark rave-ups. The original riot girl served as a producer on The Runaways, a docudrama about her first band, but the film feels surprisingly like Jett's apology to lead singer Cherie Currie. The Runaways' contrite tone may not have been Jett or writer/director Floria Sigismondi's intention, but a consequence of the (mis)casting of Twilight's Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning as the two leads. 9:45 p.m.Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave., $8-$12. 404-873-1939

www.plazaatlanta.com. — Holman

RECENTLY REVIEWED

MACGRUBER 4 stars (R ) “Saturday Night Live’s” “MacGuyver”-esque man of action explodes onto the big screen when oily arms dealer Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer) steals a Russian nuclear war-head, bringing MacGruber (Will Forte) out of retirement. Director Jorma Taccone helms a nearly pitch-perfect parody of “24” and Stallone-era shoot ‘em-up clichés, with Ryan Phillipe and Kristen Wiig serving as a terrific foils to Forte’s over-the-top idiocy. Violent, silly and occasionally embarrassing to watch, MacGruber’s arsenal of dumb jokes seldom shoots blanks. — Holman

RACING DREAMS 4 stars (PG) With a title that evokes the acclaimed basketball documentary Hoop Dreams, Marshall Curry’s film reveals the NASCAR aspirations of three young champions on the Go-Kart circuit. The racing scenes prove more exciting than you’d expect, but the subjects’ life stories become most compelling, particularly a temperamental competitor with a stormy family life and a girl whose interests broaden to beyond the track as she blossoms to young womanhood. You don’t have to know much about NASCAR for Racing Dreams to rev your motor. — Holman

THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES 3 stars (R) In this Argentinian winner of Best Foreign Language Film, a retired federal investigator (the reliably superb Ricardo Darin) begins writing a novel about a haunting rape and murder from the mid-1970s, drawing attention both to the case’s unsettling loose ends and his own unrequited love for a colleague (Soledad Villamil). Reminiscent of the gritty American crime dramas of the 1980s, The Secret in Their Eyes features some manipulative twists but also explores the ambiguities of memory and fiction. — Holman

SHREK FOREVER AFTER 2 stars (PG) Overwhelmed by the pressures of family life, Shrek (Mike Myers) strikes a bargain with Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dorhn) for one day as an unencumbered single ogre. The It’s a Wonderful Life-style contract imagines a world in which Shrek was never born and is a stranger to his wife (Cameron Diaz) and donkey friend (Eddie Murphy). The fourth Shrek film emphasizes downbeat adventure over funny bodily functions, so it’s less funny than its predecessors. But if you never liked the Shrek brand of humor, you’ll find the film less unfunny, which may be a plus. — Holman

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