THE CONCERT 3 stars (PG-13) In this post-Soviet comedy, a disgraced Russian conductor (Aleksei Guskov) hatches a crazy scheme to replace the Bolshoi orchestra with his blackballed fellow musicians for a redemptive concert in Paris. Romanian-born director Radu Mihăileanu nimbly conveys the con-man comedy as the conductor “gets the band back together,” but the film pivots to more serious subject matter when the characters arrive in Paris. The focused performances from Guskov and Inglourious Basterds’ Mélanie Laurent helps sell The Concert’s idea that professionalism doesn’t matter next to passion. — Holman
THE EXTRA MAN Louis Ives (Paul Dano) is a lonely dreamer who takes interest in Henry Harrison (Kevin Kline), a penniless, but brilliant playwright moonlighting as an "extra man" or escort to wealthy widows. Ives takes Harrison under his wing and so begins their volatile relationship that leads to a series of adventures and an unbreakable bond. The movie also stars Katie Holms.
GET LOW 3 stars (PG-13) In the Depression-era mountains of Tennessee, hostile hermit Felix Bush (Robert Duvall) hires a small-town funeral parlor (run by Bill Murray and Lucas Black) to throw him a “funeral party” so everyone in the region can pay their respects while Felix is still alive. Apart from the build-up to Felix’s big revelation, there’s not a lot of dramatic interest, but Duvall, Murray and Sissy Spacek give moving, soft-spoken performances. Director Aaron Schneider conveys the tall-tale qualities of the Southern story without succumbing to regional stereotypes. — Holman
LIFE DURING WARTIME (R ) Director Todd Solondz presents an off-beat sequel to his disturbing 1998 family dramedy Happiness by recasting all the characters with different actors. In the follow-up, happiness seems even more elusive to the three sisters at story’s center, played by Allison Janney, Shirley Henderson and Ally Sheedy, with Paul Reubens in a supporting role.
LOTTERY TICKET When Kevin Carson (Bow Wow) wins $370 million in the lottery, he tries to keep a lid on it until he can collect three days later. But as he becomes the talk of the town, the boy from the projects discovers another side to the life and people he's known. The comedy has an all-star cast including Ice Cube, Loretta Devine, Charlie Murphy, Mike Epps, Bill Belamy, T-Pain, etc.
NANNY MCPHEE RETURNS 2 stars (PG) Emma Thompson disappears once more behind the moles, putty nose and producing teeth as Nanny McPhee, the tough-love Mary Poppins who helps some squabbling young cousins learn to cooperate and save the family farm from a conniving brother-in-law (Rafe Spall). Apart from a surprisingly dark vignette about the English military bureaucracy (featuring a meaty Ralph Fiennes cameo), Nanny McPhee returns adds few ideas to previous film, but ramps up the outhouse humor enormously, terrible looking effects. Keep an eye on young actor xx, hilarious as scene-stealing young snob. — Holman
PIRANHA 3D (R ) Director Alexandre Aja joins the impressive list of filmmakers who’ve dabbled in the Piranha franchise, including James Cameron, Joe Dante and John Sayles. In this version of the story, rapacious prehistoric fish feast on the unsuspecting bathers at a lakeside spring break destination.
THE SWITCH (PG-13) Some of the filmmakers behind this Blades of Glory present this 21st century parenting rom-com in which a single mom (Jennifer Aniston) discovers that the turkey baster-sample doesn’t come from the source she’d been led to believe. Jason Bateman plays her neurotic best friend.
DALI: THE FILMMAKER (NR) The High Museum’s series of films related to Salvador Dali including the groundbreaking An Andalusian Dog and the restored version of his Disney short, “Destino.” Dali: A Passion for Film. Aug. 21. Free-$7. Sat., 8 p.m. Rich Theatre, High Museum, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-5000. www.high.org.
DOCUFEST ATLANTA (NR) The fifth annual showcase of non-fiction film presents approximately 40 features as well as a shorts program. Films include The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls about two lesbian singers from Australia; Roll Out, Cowboy, about Sandman, the rapping cowboy; and director Rod Murphy’s Being the Diablo, about one man’s spiritual quest. Aug. 17-22, The Carter Center and the Woodruff Arts Center. www.docufest.com
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY 5 stars (1953) Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Ernest Borgnine, Frank Sinatra, Montgomery Clift and Donna Reed star in this old-school Hollywood classic about conflicts in and around the barracks of Pearl Harbor on the eve of the Japanese sneak attack. The kiss in the surf is undoubtedly iconic, but every aspect of the film is top-notch, and will make you even madder you ever saw Pearl Harbor. Aug. 19-21, 9:30 p.m. $8. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.
REPO: THE GENETIC OPERA (R ) A Rocky Horror Show-style live “shadow cast” accompanies the screening of this bizarre sci-fi rock opera about black market organ transplants in a dystopian future. Featuring Anthony Stewart Head and Paris Hilton. Aug. 21, 10 p.m. $8. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.
RIFFTRAX LIVE: REEFER MADNESS (NR) Alumni from “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” return for another live cinematic simulcast that finds them mocking the notorious 1938 film Reefer Madness about the psychosis-inducing properties of — gasp! — marijuana. The evening will include three short films, which tend to be reliably hilarious. 8 p.m. Thu., Aug. 19, at area theaters. www.rifftrax.com/
EAT PRAY LOVE 2 stars (PG-13) Freshly-divorced travel writer Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) tries to get her groove back by spending a year in Italy, India and Bali. Based on Gilbert’s bestselling middlebrow memoir, Eat Pray Love casts an innately self-conscious movie star as a self-absorbed woman, so it’s like 140 minutes of “But enough about me — what do you think of me?” Roberts gives an appealing performance and “Glee” co-creator Ryan Murphy helms a beautifully-photographed, at times sensuous film that nevertheless holds almost no dramatic interest. Maybe Blink Yawn Doze would be a better title. — Holman
THE EXPENDABLES A throwback action flick on roids, The Expendables showcases an All-Star cast led by Sylvestor Stallone who might be weathered and old but still sports a young heart. The bad boys work with the Feds to try to usurp an evil dictator. In the process, they get fucked over at least twice, battle- and kill- an entire army, and save the girls (without so much as a kiss). Though this might not be the best date movie, the Rambo and friends feature is straight jacked.
PATRICK, AGE 1.5 (NR) In this Swedish comedy, a gay couple reacts with surprise when their adopted 1.5 year old baby turns out to be a sullen 15 year-old with homophobic attitudes.
SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD 4 stars (PG-13) In Edgar Wright’s adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novles, slacker bassist Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) must battle and defeat “seven evil exes” to win the girl of his dreams (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Satirizing the indie-rock scene and showcasing comic book and video game effects, Scott Pilgrim’s stylish hyperactivity can make the film feel cluttered, overpopulated and exhausting. Between the delightfully crazy fight scenes, Scott Pilgrim takes a surprisingly close and complex look at dating, relationships and personal integrity, sort of like Woody Allen’s Manhattan meets Mortal Kombat.— Holman
VAMPIRES SUCK Had enough of vampires? Didn't think so. From "the guys that couldn't sit through another vampire movie" comes this comedy about teen angst- and necrophilia- to the max. Becca is torn between two guys who have deadly secrets that are easily overshadowed by their sex appeal. And their battle for Becca's love leads to a final showdown prom night where the claws (and fangs) are coming out.
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