Film Clips: Aug. 19

Attack the Block on Fright Night with Conan the Barbarian and the Guard.

ATTACK THE BLOCK 4 stars (R) After a group of English youngsters mug a London nurse (Jodie Whitaker) one night at an impoverished “council estate,” the neighbors must reluctantly band together to fend off a pack of ravenous alien beasties. Writer-director Joe Cornish, a frequent collaborator with Shaun of the Dead’s Edgar Wright, crafts an extremely fun, low-budget sci-fi action comedy that doesn’t let the sharp social commentary slow it down. Acting newcomer John Boyega comes across like a teenage Denzel Washington as a gang leader who learns to take responsibility for his actions. — Curt Holman
CONAN THE BARBARIAN 2 stars (R) In ye olde Hyborian Age, pumped-up warrior Conan (“Game of Thrones’” Jason Mamoa) seeks revenge against a “shadow lord” (Avatar’s Stephen Lang), who plots to conquer the world with a magic mask and the sacrifice of a beautiful monk (Rachel Nichols). For about an hour, you can have fun with Conan the Barbarian as a “good-bad movie” by reveling in the violence, over-the-top behavior, unintelligible dialogue and imaginative production design. After nearly two hours, the lousy writing, incoherent action scenes and fantasy epic clichés will crush your spirits. — Holman
FRIGHT NIGHT 4 stars (R) This new version of the 1985 action-comedy adds a bit of logic and finesse in this franchise reboot. Buffy and Mad Men writing alum Marti Noxon gives distinct voices to each character and director Craig Gillespie crafts a horror movie that has more “umph” than your average scarefest and more nail-biting moments than some recent action flicks. For those new to Fright Night, expect a full-throttled action comedy that bares fangs as a suspenseful horror movie. — Ed Adams
THE GUARD 3 stars (R) A whoring, drug-abusing Irish police officer (Brendan Gleeson) makes a particularly mismatched buddy with an African-American FBI agent (Don Cheadle) trying to thwart a team of drug dealers on Ireland’s coast. Gleeson gives a zesty, Falstaffian performance as “the guard,” an aggressively witty, middle-aged hedonist distracted by his reawakening conscience. Writer-director John Michael McDonagh (brother of In Bruges’ Martin McDonagh) offers all set-up and no follow-through, with a plot that resorts to predictably self-conscious dialogue and redemptive shoot-outs. — Holman
LIFE, ABOVE ALL (PG-13) “A touching mother-daughter relationship reflects modern South Africa” in this drama that was South Africa’s official entry for Best Foreign Language film at the 83rd Academy Awards.
ONE DAY (PG-13) Adapted by David Nicholls from his novel of the same name, this film follows the love and friendship of two 1988 college graduates (Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess) by revisiting them on July 15 for two decades.
SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD (PG) Robert Rodriguez jump-starts his Spy Kids franchise with a new cloak-and-diaper team that must prevent a villain called the Timekeeeper (Jeremy Piven) from wreaking havoc. Not pre-screened for critics, the film takes place in “4D,” which includes 3D glasses and “AromaScope” scratch-and-sniff cards. Hey, the last Spy Kids movie was 3D in 2003, so maybe smelly movies will be the next big thing. — Holman

FINDING ME: TRUTH (NR) This gay (and straight) drama follows the strained relationships of a group of friends in Jersey City. Sat., Aug. 20, 7:30 p.m. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.
GENERAL ORDERS NO. 9 (NR) Director Robert Persons helms an acclaimed meditation on the geographic and cultural identity of the state of Georgia in this documentary linked to the work of Terrence Malik. I>Aug. 12-21. Cinefest Film Theatre, Georgia State University, 66 Courtland St., Suite 240. 404-413-1798. www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcft.
MR. HUSH (NR) A psycho called Mr. Hush and his minion Start terrorize grieving family man Holland Price for reasons unknown in the Atlanta premiere of this horror film. Aug. 19, 6:30 and 8 p.m. Cinefest Film Theatre, Georgia State University, 66 Courtland St., Suite 240. 404-413-1798. www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcft.
TAKEN IN (NR) Filmmaker Chris White presents his self-financed, personal drama about a man and his estranged teenage daughter who spend a weekend alone at a roadside resort. Mon., Aug. 22, 7:30 p.m. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.