Capsule Movie Reviews (Sept 11): 'Instructions Not Included' and six more
Instructions Not Included
PG-13, 1 HR., 55 MINS.
Eugenio Derbez stars as a womanizer forced to (mostly) change his ways – and become a Hollywood stuntman — after an ex-lover dumps their baby daughter on him in this preposterous but still pretty enjoyable comedy. References to Derbez’s Jack and Jill costar Adam Sandler (whose film Big Daddy this resembles) are included. B —Clark Collis
R, 1 HR., 33 MINS.
Make no mistake: Alexandre Moors’ hauntingly intimate portrait of the 2002 Beltway snipers, which largely manages to avoid the pitfalls of speculation and exploitation, is a genuine horror movie. Isaiah Washington is as cold and inexorable as a glacier in the role of primary shooter John Allen Muhammad, and Tequan Richmond gives an equally commanding performance as the boy he recruited for his murderous mission. (Also available on VOD and iTunes) A- —Keith Staskiewicz
R, 1 HR., 28 MINS.
David Sedaris’ hangdog wit is sorely missed in the first-ever adaptation of one of his autobiographical stories, a dull but well-acted dramedy in which our preppy, fussbudgety hero (Glee‘s Jonathan Groff) seeks out a taste of real life on an apple farm. (Also available on VOD and iTunes) C- —Adam Markovitz
Fire in the Blood
NOT RATED, 1 HR., 27 MINS.
Where last year’s How to Survive a Plague probed the cultural scar left on the U.S. by the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, this advocacy documentary focuses on a wound that’s still open. Narrated solemnly by William Hurt, and constructed in a straightforward (if slightly too tendentious) manner, the film powerfully examines the astronomical drug prices that have prevented many AIDS patients in the developing world from receiving the treatment they need, pitting human lives against the profit motive. B+ —Keith Staskiewicz
Jayne Mansfield’s Car
R, 2 HRS., 2 MINS.
Conflicts both intergenerational and intercontinental abound when a Southern patriarch (Robert Duvall) is visited by his late ex-wife’s new family from England. Set in 1969, Billy Bob Thornton’s latest directorial effort casually incorporates the period’s counterculture and is as sultry and desultory as a dog day of summer. It feels about as long, too. (Also available on VOD and iTunes) B- —Keith Staskiewicz
NOT RATED, 1 HR., 30 MINS.
Carine Roitfeld was the formidable editor of French Vogue for 10 years. But don’t expect to find another devil in Prada, the next September Issue, or anything of interest, really, in this absurdly fawning documentary-cum-PR reel about the launch of her new magazine. Sample hard-hitting question to Roitfeld: “Do you know that you are a muse to so many people?” D- —Adam Markovitz
PG, 1 HR., 38 MINS.
Wadjda‘s pedigree is undeniably heavy: It’s the first movie shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first directed by a woman in a country that bans cinemas outright. But the film, a deceptively modest story about a young girl (the outstanding Waad Mohammed) and a bicycle, is told with so much charm and emotional honesty that it imparts way more about Saudi culture than any ponderous agitprop ever could. A- —Leah Greenblatt