The Damned UnitedBiopic about a legendary British soccer coach. At Lincoln Square and Union Square 14 (1:38). R: Language.
Just as a great player can take an average team to surprising heights, Michael Sheen turns an ordinary sports movie into an unexpected winner.
Sheen — so unfairly taken for granted in “Frost/Nixon” and “The Queen” — gets an overdue spotlight playing Brian Clough, one of England‘s best-known soccer coaches in the 1960s and ’70s. The story of his rise and fall as the manager of Leeds United is portrayed with evident affection by director Tom Hooper and co-stars Colm Meaney and Timothy Spall. But ultimately it’s Sheen, finding new facets of his character in every scene, who shoots and scores.
Good HairDocumentary about African-American hairstyles. At area theaters (1:35). PG-13: Language, including sex and drug references.
Whether you have good hair or not, there’s plenty to appreciate in Chris Rock‘s rollicking documentary about what goes on when African-American women hit the salon.
Rock turns his premise into an exploration of race, gender and culture, asking why women (and the occasional man) agree to put damaging chemicals on their heads, spend thousands to weave in someone else’s hair, and pay global corporations for the privilege. He never wades too deep into tough subjects, but he and his interviewees — including Maya Angelou and Al Sharpton — consistently keep things both entertaining and enlightening.
Paranormal Activity Two people are haunted by a demon. At area theaters (1:21). R: Language.
A “Blair Witch”-y creepshow that owes a lot to Japanese horror, this bare-bones flick has become a mini-phenom thanks to sold-out midnight shows across the country. “Found” video footage shows a couple trying to catch the demon that’s been haunting Katie (Katie Featherston) since childhood. What does it want? Not a date, that’s for sure. Some wild moments make it all worth it.
Adventures of PowerComedy about an air-drumming geek. At the Village 7 (1:29). PG-13: Language.
It’s hard to say why Adrian Grenier would have signed on for Ari Gold‘s aggressively quirky indie comedy. (Perhaps because his “Entourage” agent coincidentally shares Gold’s name?) As the egotistical superstar who challenges our pathetic hero (Gold) on his quest for air-drum glory, Grenier brings some much-needed professionalism. But it’s not the rough edges that bother here; it’s the desperate attempt to capture “Napoleon Dynamite‘s” success by relying on oddball characters and off-the-wall scenarios.
Gold does put some heart into his character’s single-minded mission. Mostly, though, you’ll appreciate Grenier, who approaches this minor project with hilarious and generous abandon.
TruckerA woman’s trucking life changes when she’s reintroduced to her son. At the Village East (1:33). R: Sexuality, language.Michelle Monaghan‘s glam-less turn as Diane, a female truck driver, and Nathan Fillion‘s honest portrayal of amiable American guy-ness. When Diane’s 11-year-old son returns to her life, the script goes nowhere new — but Monaghan gets how people with honky-tonk souls move in mysterious ways.
Free StyleA high school grad sets his sights on motocross racing. At the Empire 25 and the Village 7 (1:34). PG: Language.
Most actors have movies like this soggy drama on their résumé, but Corbin Bleu should have chosen a bit more wisely, since it’s his first major movie beyond the “High School Musical” universe. Still, he handles himself well as Cale, a teen who dreams of becoming a motocross pro. Naturally, he’ll face every obstacle imaginable before we get to the all-important finals.
Though the film deserves credit for its depiction of economic hardship, almost everything else is handled clumsily. And why would a movie about motocross spend so little time on the track? Bleu remains one to watch, but only real fans will want to watch this.
St. Trinian’sAn unruly girls’ boarding school faces foreclosure. At area theaters (1:37). PG-13: Drugs and alcohol, sexuality, language.
Anyone with a fondness for the midcentury cartoons and films that inspired this scrappy comedy will appreciate the latest trip to the titular British boarding school.
Though these girls are saints compared with their ’50s counterparts, some parents may be uncomfortable with the mayhem that ensues. They themselves, however, might appreciate campy appearances from Everett, Russell Brand and, especially, Colin Firth, as the fool who falls for Miss Fritton.
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Short film reviews: 'The Damned United,' 'St. Trinian's,' 'Good Hair,' 'Free Style' and more have 866 words, post on www.nydailynews.com at October 9, 2009. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.