TINY FURNITURE 3 stars (R) Debut filmmaker Lena Dunham not only wrote, directed and stars in this semi-autobiographical comedy, she cast her mother, sister and friend in roles comparable to their real selves. As a depressed college graduate named Aura, Dunham offers a sympathetic portrayal of a young woman stuck in a psychological rut. The film’s confrontational scenes feel unintentionally awkward, but Dunham’s script draws inspiration from the post-collegiate anomie of The Graduate with the romantic dilemmas of various Jane Austen stories updated as rom-coms. — Holman
THE WARRIOR’S WAY (R) A guy named Sngmoo Lee directs this super-stylish, special-effects heavy martial arts film about an Asian warrior (Korea’s Dong-gun Jang) who hides out in an American Western town with the likes of Geoffrey Rush, Kate Bosworth and Danny Huston.
BEST WORST MOVIE 3 stars (NR) A documentary about the grassroots cult following for the astonishingly lousy horror-fantasy Troll 2, directed by one of the child actors who starred in it. Best Worst Movie amusingly tracks the mix of condescension and genuine affection fans bestow on bad movies, and builds narrative tension through two personalities: the small-town dentist who starred in the film and finds short-lived celebrity with Troll 2’s notoriety, and the Italian director convinced of his film’s (dubious) value and clearly loathes that people laugh at it. Showing on a double bill with Troll 2. Nov. 29-Dec. 5, 11 a.m., 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m. Free-$5. Cinefest Film Theatre, Georgia State University, Suite 240 University Center. 404-413-1798. www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcft. — Holman
BURLESQUE 3 stars (PG-13) Little orphan Ali (Christina Aguilera), leaves her sleepy hometown in Iowa to pursue her Hollywood dreams. Down on her luck, Ali discovers the seductive art of burlesque at Burl's owner, Tess (Cher) fights with the banks to keep the doors open. The silver lining to Burlesque that is missing from recent musical offerings is that its not just entertaining, but fun. Director Steve Antin's story is as campy and one dimensional as you can get, but his motley cast of veteran performers, including Aguilera (she was a Mouseketeer with Brittney Spears and Justin Timberlake after all) deliver big time, well beyond the confines of their laughable script. — Edward Adams
DUE DATE 3 stars (R) After being put on a No-Fly list, a hot-headed expectant dad (Robert Downey Jr.) reluctantly drives from Atlanta to Los Angeles with a blithering would-be actor (Zach Galifianakis) to get to the birth on time. Galifianakis reunites with his Hangover director Todd Phillips and savors some ingeniously dippy one-liners, although the script’s undercooked themes of parenthood and maturity don’t always live up to the leading twosome’s performances. Plus, Due Date delivers so many marijuana gags, it’s like an unusually well-acted Harold and Kumar comedy. — Curt Holman
ENTER THE VOID (R) Boardwalk Empire’s oft-naked Paz de la Huerta stars in this film as a young woman literally haunted by the ghost of her brother. French provocateur Gaspar Noe returns to the restless camerawork of his earlier film Irreversible, but hopefully will avoid that films relentless brutality and misanthropy.
FAIR GAME 3 stars (PG-13) CIA operative Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts) sees her cover blown after her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, publicly disputes the Bush Administration’s claim that Iraq purchased yellowcake uranium. For the film’s first two-thirds, Bourne Identity director Doug Liman conveys the Catch-22s of gathering reality-based intelligence when the White House demands a war. The post-outing third act diminishes the stakes by focusing on the strains in the Plame-Wilson marriage, however, and Sean Penn makes Wilson almost unbearably self-righteous. — Holman
FASTER (R) Former wrestler Dwayne Johnson plays an ex-con out for revenge against the dirty rats who killed his brother, while pursued by a cop (Billy Bob Thornton) and a hitman named “Killer” (Oliver Jackson-Cohen).
FOR COLORED GIRLS 2 stars (R) An intersecting group of African-American women, including Janet Jackson, Loretta Devine and Whoopi experiences tragedies and triumphs in New York City. Tyler Perry assembles a wonderful cast (particularly Thandie Newton and Kimberly Elise) and could’ve performed a terrific straight-up adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s theatrical “choreopoem.” As it is, though, the film awkwardly segues between poetic recitations and Perry’s trademark melodrama, the least convincing of which is Jackson’s icy fashion editrix with a secretive husband. — Holman
THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST 2 stars (R) Sleuthing hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), hospitalized after nearly dying in the last film, faces criminal charges and a hush-hush government conspiracy from her hospital room and prison cell. The third and most convoluted of Steig Larsson’s bestselling trilogy of thrillers receives a tedious adaptation from Daniel Alfredson. The plot puts sexy Rapace on the sidelines and focuses on uncharismatic heroes and doddering bad guys. You might as well wait for next year’s David Fincher film. — Holman
HEREAFTER 1 star (PG-13) Death touches the lives of three strangers — successful French newswoman Marie LeLay (Cécile de France), poor English schoolboy Marcus (played by twins Frankie and George McLaren), and George (Matt Damon), a factory worker/psychic — prompting them all to wonder, “What really happens when we die?” A feeble, Crash-esque attempt at intertwining the three lives and pondering the great beyond follows. Nobody expects director Clint Eastwood or writer Peter Morgan to actually answer the question, “What happens when we die?” But we’d at least like to feel engaged in an interesting discussion about the subject. — Debbie Michaud
LOVE & OTHER DRUGS (R) 2 stars In this insufferable rom-dram that’s as taxing and time-consuming as mono, Jake Gyllenhaal plays smarmy, womanizing Pfizer sales rep Jamie who falls for fuck-buddy/Parkinson’s patient Maggie (Anne Hathaway). It’s the ’90s — the golden era of grunge and Internet startups — and the pharmaceutical giant is embarking on its crusade for world domination thanks to a little thing called Viagra. Director Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond) sets up a nice contrast between the rise of the totalitarian healthcare Industry and the deterioration of Maggie’s condition (she escorts busloads of senior citizens north of the border to score cheap meds). For her part, Hathaway presents a devastating physical and emotional portrait of someone vying with a debilitating chronic condition. Jamie and Maggie’s relationship, however, has all the makings of a sappy John Hughes-style match-up, without any of the charm. At nearly two hours, the film ends up feeling like one of those interminable waits at the doctor’s office. — Debbie Michaud
MEGAMIND 3 stars (PG) Once again Dreamworks gives us another creepy and dark underdog to fall for. The beloved guardian of Metro City, Mega Man (Brad Pitt) is fatally thwarted by his longtime nemesis, the blue-domed brainiac Megamind (Will Farrell). Quickly bored from his conquests, Megamind devises a plan to create a new hero, Titan (Jonah Hill) to add the fun back to his villainous ways. With so much to take from a cliché story of aliens sent to Earth to become do-gooders and do-badders (yeah, I made it up), this satirical pop culture slugfest has heart, jokes and some clever 3D action to have you laughing and ultimately cheering in the end. — Edward Adams
MORNING GLORY A newly hired TV producer struggles to revitalize a national morning show due to the constant feuding between the high-profile anchors (Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford), while trying to keep control over her personal and love life as well.
SECRETARIAT 2 stars (PG) In this Seabiscuit wannabe, Diane Lane plays Penny Chenery Tweedy, an impeccable, Better Draper-ish homemaker who literally bets the farm on the prospects of a well-bred, untested race horse, Secretariat. The details of thoroughbred business prove surprisingly interesting, and the big Belmont Stakes competition can set pulses racing, but movie’s treatment of feminism and underdog (underhorse) longshots are numbingly preditable. — Holman
THE SOCIAL NETWORK 4 stars (R) A handful of computer savvy Harvard students (notably Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield) launch a social networking website that annoys the schools privileged snobs — and eventually becomes a global sensation. Fight Club and Zodiac director David Fincher and “The West Wing” scripter/creator Aaron Sorkin combine their flair for conveying dense amounts of information with this highly entertaining study of how Facebook’s founders fell out after the site took off. The ending feels arbitrary and inconclusive, but The Social Network captures the seedy underbelly of past decade’s on-line bubble, while providing an amusing riff on the Revenge of the Nerds genre. — Holman
TAMARA DREWE 3 stars (R) The tranquility of a writer’s colony in rural England gets shaken up by the return of the eponymous knockout journalist (Gemma Arterton) and various other melodramas. This faithful adaptation of xx’s graphic novel (which was loosely inspired by Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd) does a lovely job of capturing the foibles of the literary life, with touching performances by Bill Camp and Tamsin Greig. The Queen director fares less well with subplots involving a sullen indie drummer and his crazed fans, which strain for laughs. — Holman
TANGLED 3 stars (G) A swashbuckling thief (voiced by Zachary Levi) helps magic-haired Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) to discover the world outside the tower that imprisons her. Disney’s latest animated “princess” feature delivers lovely 3-D animation and some great comic relief, particularly from a macho horse called Maximus. Unfortunately the bland songs by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater only invite unflattering comparisons with classics like Beauty and the Beast. — Curt Holman
UNSTOPPABLE Based on a true story, a freshman conductor, Will Colson (Chris Pine) and a veteran engineer, Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) attempt to stop a runaway train — the 777, carrying flammable, toxic materials from potentially derailing and destroying a Pennsylvania town. Leave it to director Tony Scott to turn something as mundane as a train that went for a two-hour joyride and turn it into a nail-biting, hold-on-to-your-seats thriller. What works is Scott's technique of getting the character development out of the way as quickly as possible, leaving the bulk of the story brimmed with high-speed chases and moments that leave you gasping at every near miss and fingers crossed for the two lone heroes. With a seemingly simple premise and a cast that are totally on board for the ride, Unstoppable goes full steam ahead, delivering high-speed action and thrills along the way. — Edward Adams
My girlfriend is a vet, and in school she learned that no-kill shelters can be…
Yes, it was announced a few months ago. But Burns' piece gives some new information,…
Yes it is true that 72 shelters around the country have managed to pull off…
Day late and a dollar short on this story CL, this is not new news…
@J to the G -- I agree with Jesse Phillips. I'm over in the West…
i know it's supposed to be looking in that direction, it's just that the buildings…