Capsule reviews for March 15


This gritty Serbian character drama has audacity and attitude to spare, yet lacks sufficient emotional resonance beneath its sexually explicit surface. It follows Jasna (newcomer Isidora Simijonovic), a teenager who finds catharsis from a troubled past and volatile home life by recording the events around her on her cell phone. But she finds even more pleasure when she turns the camera on herself, including a series of increasingly dangerous encounters with strange men. Rookie director Maja Milos visually captures the bleakness of working-class Belgrade with a minimalist verite style, but her script is more self-consciously shocking than coherent. The result is more tedious than provocative. (Not rated, 98 minutes).


Ginger and Rosa

A sharp cast brings depth to this coming-of-age character study that marks a more mainstream effort from director Sally Potter (Orlando). It takes place in London during the early 1960s, when precocious teenagers Ginger (Elle Fanning) and Rosa (Alice Englert) blossom into anti-war activists during the Cuban missile crisis, while their friendship starts to crumble after an incident involving Ginger’s fractured family. Without turning sentimental or heavy-handed, Potter strikes a nice balance between the more intimate character moments and the broader political context, and Fanning is terrific as the girl caught in the middle. The supporting cast includes Christina Hendricks, Alessandro Nivola and Annette Bening. (Rated PG-13, 89 minutes).


Upside Down

Style trumps substance in this silly blend of science fiction and romance about Adam (Jim Sturgess) and Eden (Kirsten Dunst) — be sure not to miss the allegorical significance in those names — two lovers who are literally separated by gravity in the parallel worlds that forced them apart as teenagers. Their reunion depends on Adam completing a perilous journey to find Eden. The ambitious film is conceptually imaginative and visually striking, crafting a series of powerful images, and the stars develop a decent chemistry. But the eye-rolling script from Argentinian director Juan Diego Solanas is heavy-handed and emotionally distant, sort of like its intergalactic setting. (Rated PG-13, 101 minutes).

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