Capsule Movie Reviews (Oct. 9): 'CBGB' and four more
R, 1 HR., 41 MINS.
A chintzy dud that trashes its subject. Alan Rickman shambles around as Hilly Kristal, the owner of the Bowery dive-turned-legendary punk club CBGB. Too much of the film is devoted to Kristal’s deadbeat style. It’s fun to see actors like Rupert Grint as Cheetah Chrome (he’s excellent); less fun is Malin Akerman as Debbie Harry (she’s way off). CBGB makes a hash of chronology and never hints at the exciting danger this club possessed. C- —Owen Gleiberman
Argento’s Dracula 3D
NOT RATED, 1 HR., 46 MINS.
Entertaining kitsch. The mood is pure Hammer Films horror: the writhing bosoms, the blood smeared like tomato sauce across the mouth of Dracula, played by Thomas Kretschmann with a benign haircut but lots of zest. In the age of the designer vampire, Dario Argento rekindles the grandeur of Dracula: When he sinks his fangs, you almost taste how good it tastes to him. (Also available on iTunes and VOD) B —Owen Gleiberman
Escape From Tomorrow
NOT RATED, 1 HR., 30 MINS.
Surreptitiously filmed at Disney World and Disneyland, this indie family fable turns the famous rides, characters, and theme-park prefabness into a backdrop of wholesome creepiness. Its message — laid on a bit too thick — is that Jim (Roy Abramsohn), a miserable dad hooked on dreams of escape that devolve into nightmares, first learned to live in fantasy at the Magic Kingdom. Heavy! Yet still worth seeing. (Also available on iTunes and VOD) B —Owen Gleiberman
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete
R, 1 HR., 48 MINS.
A pair of kids are left to fend for themselves in the housing projects of Brooklyn when the police take away one of their addict mothers (Jennifer Hudson). Anchored by two charming lead performances from youngsters Skylan Brooks and Ethan Dizon, the story never over-romanticizes their plight, but neither does it fetishize their misery. There’s joy lurking even in its more harrowing moments. B+ —Keith Staskiewicz
Man of Tai Chi
R, 1 HR., 45 MINS.
The martial-arts fight scenes in Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut are pretty cool, with lots of acrobatic high-kicking and graceful camera work that would fit right into The Matrix. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie is more like the Matrix sequels: a pretentious mix of Asian action clichés revolving around a tai chi student (Tiger Chen) who joins an underground fight club run by a satanic crime boss (a risibly straight-faced Reeves). (Available on iTunes and VOD; in theaters 11/1) C- —Adam Markovitz