Friday movie roundup – Aug. 22

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Movie reviews! Behold them in their splendor!

First, if you happen to live in the Portland area, you should check out “Kabluey,” which opens at the Living Room Theaters today. This was the opening-night film at the Oxford Film Festival, which I attended back in February. The director/writer/star, Scott Prendergast, a Portland native, will be at this weekend’s evening screenings for a Q&A, so that’s cool, and it’s a pretty good movie anyway.

“The Rocker,” which opened Wednesday, is a so-so starring vehicle for Rainn Wilson, in a role seemingly originally meant for Jack Black or Will Ferrell. My review is at Cinematical.

“Hamlet 2” is one of the year’s oddest comedies, and also one of the funniest. It stars Steve Coogan as a loser high-school drama teacher who stages a controversial play that upsets the community. It opens in about 90 theaters today and will go wide next week.

“The House Bunny” stars the brilliant Anna Faris — I’m not kidding, she really does have a great gift for comedy — as an exiled Playboy bunny who becomes house mother to a sorority of misfit college girls. It’s from the writers of “Legally Blonde,” and it shows, but it’s a surprisingly funny movie.

“Death Race” is dumb, obviously, but it’s not even the fun, self-aware kind. Just the dumb kind. And the races — the film’s only real chance to be entertaining — are dull. My review is at Film.com.

“Man on Wire” is a terrific documentary about a French guy who walked on a tightrope between the Twin Towers back in 1974. The film plays out like a bank-heist movie, very exciting and entertaining.

And I caught up with the unscreened “Mirrors” last weekend and declared it meh.

Finally, “The Longshots” opens today without being screened (at least not in this region), which makes it one of Hollywood’s Shameful Secrets®. It’s a family-friendly drama about an 11-year-old girl who wants to play Pop Warner football. Somehow, it managed to be directed by Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst, and to star Ice Cube.

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