by Inlander Staff *** American Splendor -- The real world of ordinary life as seen through the eyes of a cranky Cleveland file clerk who adores jazz and distrusts the modern world. With the adaptation of over 25 years of Harvey Pekar's curmudgeonly comics, married documentary-makers Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini have created a daring, generous, multi-layered portrait of the man and his mind, deftly shifting between reenactments with gifted actors like Paul Giamatti (as Pekar), Hope Davis as his wife Joyce Brabner, and James Urbaniak as a sly R. Crumb. Remarkable stuff. (RP)
*** Cabin Fever -- A spirited, low-budget horror film. It's a "young people in a remote cabin" kind of thing, and there's something very wrong with the water: Drink it and you're kaput. The film is violent and garish and bloody, with a little bit of raunchy sex thrown in. But it's all done in a cartoony, Russ Meyer-like way. A real "B" movie. (ES) Rated R
*** Hangman's Curse -- Maybe this is a wait-for-the-video if you live outside Spokane, but for locals, it's worth checking out. Seems something's amiss at Rogers High School -- yes, our Rogers High School -- and the cops can't figure it out. Who ya gonna call? Call the Veritas Team, stars of two novels by Kellogg, Idaho's Frank Peretti. The Veritas Team is a family affair, reminiscent of the Spy Kids series, with Mom (Mel Harris, thirtysomething) and Dad (David Keith, An Officer and a Gentleman) lurking around school. With no violence or swearing, Curse is designed to fill a niche among younger moviegoers for good, clean fun -- and it delivers, even if the too-sappy epilogue doesn't measure up to what's come before. On Friday, Sept. 12, at 7:45 pm, there will be a special screening at AMC; Peretti and many of the filmmakers will be on hand. Rated: PG-13 (Ted S. McGregor Jr.)
*** Made Up -- A middle-aged divorced former actress gets a makeover from her 18-year-old daughter, who is obsessed with appearances and secretly believes that her dad left because Mom "let herself go." Mom's starving artist sister films the process for her documentary class. We see the documentary footage as it's shot, with the characters and situations slowly revealing themselves. When a new man pays attention, is it only the makeover he sees? And is it reality just because it's on film? Lynne Adams, Brooke Adams and Tony Shalhoub team up for this funny "mockumentary" on beauty, aging, and relationships. (Ann M. Colford) Not Rated
**** MATCHSTICK MEN -- Great performances from Sam Rockwell and Nicolas Cage as a grifter and his veteran mentor partner. Rockwell's Frank is laid back and loose as a goose, while Cage's Roy suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and struggles with suddenly finding out that he has a 14-year-old daughter (Alison Lohman, terrific) who moves in and wants to join the operation. Funny and edgy, with much plot-twisting. (ES) Rated PG-13
** Once Upon a Time in Mexico -- Directed by Robert Rodriguez. After two successful Spy Kids sequels, the grown-up Rodriguez, embellishing the mythology he forged in the no-budget El Mariachi and Desperado, remains a child at heart, indulging in all manner of explosions, blood spatters, cynical repartee and some old-fashioned R-rated trash talk. The blow-'em-ups get repetitive. With a game cast, including Antonio Banderas, Johnny Depp and a silent (if butt-kicking) Salma Hayek. (RP) Rated: R
*** Spellbound -- One of the most touching, heartfelt movies of the year -- more memorable than almost all Hollywood movies -- follows the trials and misspellings of several seventh graders on their road to the national Spelling Bee. It took the filmmakers several drafts to get here, but the little lives on screen are remarkable. Directed by Jeff Blitz. (RP) Rated G (Showing at the Met Cinema Sept. 16-17 and Sept. 19)
**** Don't Miss It *** Worth $8 ** Wait For The Video * Save Your Money
& lt;i & Capsule reviews are written by Ed Symkus (ES) and Ray Pride (RP), unless otherwise noted. & lt;/i &
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The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.