New Reviews

Another Gay Movie; Cease Fire; Conversations With Other Women; The House of Sand; Pulse; Step Up; Zoom

Thin storytelling married to thin bodies of extreme physical grace, this clunky but moderately charming descendant of Saturday Night Fever and Fame covers the usual territory of boy meets girl from across the tracks and finds love and rapid upward mobility through the arts. Directed with more verve than skill by Anne Fletcher, who can't resist choreographing every scene whether there's dancing in it or not, Step Up has one really good actor, Channing Tatum, who's also a great street dancer and soon to distinguish himself in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. Tatum plays Tyler, a white homeboy who discovers dance and romance (with Jenna Dewan, no actress but a lithe and lovely mover) while doing community service at a high school for the arts headed by Rachel Griffiths (working at half steam). By way of plot, obstacles pop up and are hurdled with clockwork regularity, but notwithstanding a tacked-on foray into gang violence—a quick bone thrown to the lad audience—the movie serves up a pleasant, if unsurprising, confluence of classic ballet with street dance, not to mention a seamless collusion of polite racial integration with savvy niche marketing. (Ella Taylor) (Countywide)

See Film feature. (Countywide)

A sick feeling starts to set in the moment the opening credits announce "Songs by Smash Mouth," and it doesn't ease up much during the sub-superheroic antics that follow. Sky High already used the principal idea from Jason Lethcoe's Zoom's Academy books—a Harry Potter–like school for superheroes located above the clouds—so the movie proceeds to ignore the source material almost completely, relocating the action to a secret military installation known as Area 52 (that's about as funny as it gets, folks). Tim Allen gamely brings some humanity to the role of the retired, powerless hero Captain Zoom, but is thwarted at every turn by bad special effects, slapdash editing, interminable pop-song montages, and a goofy performance by Courteney Cox. Zoom's goal is to train four kids (Spencer Breslin, Kate Mara, Michael Cassidy, and Ryan Newman) to develop their powers in time to fight an oncoming supervillain, but the bad guy doesn't even show up until the very end. Meanwhile, there's product placement so egregious that one of the characters is actually named Mr. Pibb. (Luke Y. Thompson) (Countywide)

Together again for the first time
Together again for the first time
Pound sand
Pound sand


Opens Thurs., Aug. 17, at 10 p.m. and midnight. (Countywide)

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