Movie review capsules

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive


Scrappy Hilary Swank stars in an Amelia Earhart biopic grounded by conventional storytelling and hokey dialogue. Grade: C-

"The Best of the Ottawa Animation Festival"

Those Canadians, they make some damn fine cartoons. (Wexner Center)

"Black Dynamite"

The title doesn't lie with this hilarious, pitch-perfect spoof of classic blaxploitation. Big Afros, busty women and kung-fu treachery aplenty. (Studio 35) Grade: A-

"Blazing Saddles"

After 35 years, Mel Brooks' ridiculous Wild West shtick fest is none the worse for wear. (Studio 35) Grade: A

"Bright Star"

The first love of poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) is a little cold in director Jane Campion's hands, but co-star Abbie Cornish warms things up. (Drexel) Grade: B

"Capitalism: A Love Story"

Michael Moore shares a little more of himself in this doc about America's skewed way of doing business, and in doing so both strengthens his message and quiets his critics. Grade: B

"Coco Before Chanel"

See the quiet, intimate story behind Coco Chanel's early years, with Audrey Tautou radiating easy glamour in the lead. Grade: B+

"Couples Retreat"

The co-stars of Swingers slum it in a remarkably lame relationship comedy. At least the Bora Bora locales are nice. Grade: C-

"The Fourth Kind"

The story of alien abduction is supposed to be true, with the "actual video footage" to prove it, but it's really all fake, and better suited for basic cable. Grade: C-

"Good Hair"

As a documentary frontman humorously exposing the multibillion-dollar African-American hair industry, Chris Rock may have finally found his big-screen calling. Grade: B+

"Paranormal Activity"

News-making, no-budget thriller with enough scares to warrant the attention, but a male protagonist you'll want to smack before it's over. Grade: B-

"The Room"

This cult hit from low-budget auteur Tommy Wiseau is so uniquely, passionately awful, you really have to experience it for yourself. (Drexel) Grade: B+

"A Serious Man"

The Coen brothers revisit the time and place of their youth to make a dark, memorable joke out of the concept that no one really has any idea what the hell's going on. Grade: A

"This is It"

If Michael Jackson's unexpected death is a "where were you when?" cultural moment, then Kenny Ortega's documentary of his final concert rehearsals is that moment's oddly upbeat Zapruder film. Grade: B-

"Where the Wild Things Are"

Like the source book, Spike Jonze's Maurice Sendak interpretation can be dark and scary. It's also uniquely enchanting. Grade: B+

"Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg"

Aviva Kempner's reliance on documentary standbys like stock footage is a poor choice for portraying a fascinating, groundbreaking force in early television. (Drexel) Grade: C+


A source of new pleasures in a genre so undead that even the parodies were starting to seem stale, it's just too good to resist. Grade: A-