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Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler August 26-September 1: Best Diary of a Teenage Girl — and Some Other Stuff

In Theaters. If it wasn’t for a couple of art titles, I’d frankly suggest you skip the movies altogether this week. There’s only one full-blown mainstream title (which looks pretty chancey) and two not-quite-wide releases (both of which look worse than chancey). Well, let’s go among them anyway. It is increasingly apparent that August is […]

New Movie Releases

Meru Expedition, Garwhal, India
Starring: Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, Renan Ozturk, Jon Krakauer, Grace Chin, Jennifer Lowe-Anker

Meru

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The Story: Documentary about three men climbing Meru Peak in the Himalayas. The Lowdown: Good looking, sometimes incredibly tense mountain climbing documentary with effective use of biographical material.
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Starring: Owen Wilson, Lake Bell, Pierce Brosnan, Sterling Jerins, Claire Geare, Sahajak Boonthanakit

No Escape

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The Story: A family of guileless Americans find themselves in the midst of a bloody revolution in an unidentified Asian country. The Lowdown: Yes, it's appallingly xenophobic and casually racist, but this action picture is so dumb that it clearly has no agenda. A miscast Owen Wilson and Lake Bell run around looking menaced, while…
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Starring: Steve Jobs (archive footage), Michael S. Malone, Chrisann Brennan, Regis McKenna, Michael Moritz, Sherry Turkle, Bob Belleville, Daniel Kottke, Joe Nocera, Jon Rubinstein

Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine

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The Story: Documentary on the life and works of Steve Jobs. The Lowdown: While Alex Gibney's film is far too long and sheds very little new light on Jobs' failings as a human being, the questions it raises about his cult status and the way he helped change the world make it worthwhile.
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Starring: Priscilla C. Shirer, T.C. Stallings, Karen Abercrombie, Beth Moore, Michael Jr.

War Room

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The Story: With the help of a new friend, a woman attempts to save her marriage through the power of prayer. The Lowdown: A treacly, unrealistic and mawkish Christian melodrama.
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Starring: Zac Efron, Wes Bentley, Emily Ratajkowski, Jonny Weston, Shiloh Fernandez

We Are Your Friends

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The Story: A young, hungry-for-fame DJ becomes entangled with an established musician — and his girlfriend. The Lowdown: A generally watchable, sometimes adventurous coming-of-age tale that can’t quite rise above mediocrity.

Special Screenings This Week

bliss
Starring: Barry Otto, Lynette Curran, Helen Jones, Gia Carides, Jeff Truman, Tim Robertson

Bliss

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In Brief: Back in 1985, Ray Lawrence’s Bliss was the art house sensation. It had created quite a stir at Cannes — as much for the fact that about 400 viewers walked out of the movie in disgust (mostly at the same moment: the film’s notorious “sardine scene”) as from the accolades it drew. No Australian film had ever…
going3
Starring: George Burns, Art Carney, Lee Strasberg, Charles Hallahan

Going in Style

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In Brief: Martin Brest’s Going in Style (1979) is one of those inoffensive, but not particularly distinguished, little movies that come and go without leaving much of a mark. It’s very much a product of its time in that it was clearly spawned by George Burns’ renaissance after The Sunshine Boys (1975) and Oh, God! (1977). It’s also a surprisingly serious…
inferno
Starring: Leigh McCloskey, Irene Miracle, Eleonora Giorgi, Daria Nicolodi, Sacha Pitoëff, Alida Valli

Inferno

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In Brief: Inferno has beautiful production design and is an almost endless stream of striking images. But because it's a Dario Argento picture, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. How much of its look is due to Argento and how much is due to an uncredited Mario Bava is hard to tell —…
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Starring: Nanni Moretti, Laura Morante, Jasmine Trinca, Giuseppe Sanfelice

The Son’s Room

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In Brief: There’s nothing really wrong with writer/director/star Nanni Moretti’s The Son’s Room (2002), but neither is there anything all that special about it. It’s a small, well-intentioned study of a family coping with — and not coping with — the drowning death of the son. I enjoyed it well enough while it was onscreen. I even…