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Quarantine. (Screen Gems/Sony; 89 minutes; R; 2008). Released several months after the success of Cloverfield, this real-time horror thriller uses a similar first-person camera narrative in a bid to suck audiences into vicariously sharing the shocks alongside the movie’s characters. Los Angeles TV reporter Angela Vidal (The Exorcism of Emily Rose’s Jennifer Carpenter) and her mostly unseen-to-viewers cameraman Scott (Steve Harris) chronicle the nocturnal doings at a fire department for the lighter-side news series Night Shift. After about 11 minutes of on-camera goofing around with the firemen, with the expected entendres concerning hoses and a romp with the station’s Dalmatian, a brigade is summoned to investigate a call at a small apartment complex—and you are there!
Fast-paced action dominates Quantum of Solace, the 22nd James Bond flick
At the climax of Casino Royale, the triumphant 2006 “reboot” of the 007 spy-movie franchise that introduced audiences to actor Daniel Craig as the new Bond, James Bond, it looked like the hopeful beginning of a new series that would take the durable secret agent into the 21st century with a renewed sense of stylish sizzle. Well, hold that thought: Bond has lots of unfinished business to wrap up in the lean and still mean Quantum of Solace (Columbia/MGM/United Artists; 106 minutes; PG-13; widescreen; 2008).
The annual Cinefest playbill has for many years listed Mike Schlesinger as a contributor, and his day job as an executive consultant at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment means heís all about restoring the glories of Columbiaís film library. Schlesingerís supervision of several recent DVD ventures have been movie manna from heaven for film buffs, such as the Icons of Horror double-disc compilations that have thus far included a 2007 issue of a quartet of 1950s drive-in monster flicks from producer Sam Katzman and a 2008 batch of a frightening foursome from Britainís Hammer Films.
Wendy and Lucy. (Oscilloscope; 81 minutes; R; 2008). Director Kelly Reichardt’s minimalist movie doesn’t have much of a story, and that’s perfectly OK. It’s a selection of heightened moments in the seeming everyday existence of a strapped-for-cash loner and her dog while en route to a hopeful financial makeover at an Alaskan fish cannery.
Repo! The Genetic Opera. (Lions Gate; 98 minutes; R; 2008). Theatrical rock operas aren’t the easiest critters to adapt for movie-house consumption, as fans quickly learned in the 1970s when the uneven translations of Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar were brought to the screen. Still, there will always be fervent cults springing up for these cinematic quasi-musicals, like the dedicated following for Repo! The Genetic Opera, an unholy marriage of Sweeney Todd-styled Grand Guignol, Hedwig and the Angry Inch outrageousness and driving industrial-punk sounds.
Taken. (20th Century Fox; 91 minutes; PG-13; widescreen; 2009). One of the new year’s most surprising box-office smashes thus far, Taken employs the 1970s-era this-time-it’s-personal formula found in works as diverse as Charles Bronson’s Death Wish and George C. Scott’s Hard Core and updates it to our current high-tech, paranoid world-view.
Th-th-that’s not all, folks!: The annual winter-break cartoon cavalcade returns to Rome’s Capitol Theatre, 220 W. Dominick St., with a dozen Warner Brothers 35mm classics from the 1950s. Tweety and Sylvester star in one short, with three Bugs Bunny outings, two with the Road Runner and more characters than you can shake an ACME stick at. Showtimes are Monday, Feb. 16, through Saturday, Feb. 21, 3 p.m., with a bonus Saturday evening show at 7 p.m. Admission is $3.50 for adults, $2 for children age 12 and under. For information, call 337-6453.