A BLOODY ARIA Half as amusing as that viral video of a sheep scaring its peeps while wearing a Halloween mask, A Bloody Aria is also less incisive. Director Won Shin-Yun uses Deliverance, The Hills Have Eyes and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a jumping-off point for a more-of-the-same rumination on herd mentality, treating animals badly and people worse, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Under a bridge, a sloppy-kissing, red-light-running music professor, Yeong-Sun (Lee Byuong-Jun), and his student, In-Jeong (Cha Ye-Ryun), are tormented by thugs who keep a schoolboy tucked inside a sack. Just when you thought the film's only question to audiences was whether Yeong-Sun or his rat-eating captors are the bigger freaks, a traffic cop arrives on the scene and a social message floats to the surface. Employing arbitrary hand-held camerawork and using the titular aria to intermittently (and insincerely) convey a sense of seriousness, Won intends the film as a commentary about authority and violence in Korean society, which partly boils down to “Getting a hand job from a man in the military will make you crazy!” An unlikely theory, but then again, A Bloody Aria serves largely as an example of the inanity of so much genre filmmaking. (ImaginAsian Center) (Ed Gonzalez)

THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN A Sicko for the birthing industry, The Business of Being Born is less a documentary than a convincing advertisement for home births and midwives. The film's director, Abby Epstein, and executive producer, Ricki Lake, are unapologetically biased against hospitals, and the film builds its case with an overwhelming succession of statistics, personal and professional testimonials, and home-video evidence. In the footage of home births, a dulcet soundtrack accompanies a serene process that could easily pass for a yoga session. Hospitals, meanwhile, are represented by reels of creepy black-and-white archival footage and current interviews with obstetricians that portray maternity professionals as cold technicians immune to the emotional miracle of childbirth. In a few deft and horrific sequences, the routine births you've seen on the Learning Channel suddenly become Guantánamo-worthy acts of claustrophobic torture. In its vivid construction of an Axis of Evil in which hospitals, lawyers and insurance companies collaborate to forfeit women's rights for profit, Epstein's film is conveniently short on interviews with the millions of mothers who have had positive experiences delivering in hospitals. In an attempt to substantiate its convictions, the film tracks Epstein's own pregnancy, culminating in an unexpected visit to the hospital that complicates the film's pro-home birth stance and saves the movie from becoming a reiteration of Michael Moore's monomaniacal polemics. (Sunset 5) (Sam Sweet)

IN THE NAME OF THE KING: A DUNGEON SIEGE TALE“Wisdom is our hammer… prudence will be our nail,” intones a wise old medieval king as only Burt Reynolds could play him. So take the hammer of wisdom and pound the nail of prudence through your forehead before paying to see this dogpile of tax-shelter sword-and-sorcery, which pits Jason Statham, as a brawny farmer (cleverly named “Farmer”), against wicked sorcerer Ray Liotta (sadly, not a misprint) and his lumpily latexed, digitally Xeroxed hordes. “You want to accelerate things!” Liotta bellows, perhaps offscreen to his agent before the check bounces. “Fine! We will accelerate!” Alas, the instruction didn't reach director Uwe Boll, Germany's master of creatively financed video-game cinema, who slogs this interminable saga out to more than two hours of muddy battle sequences, smudgy effects work and just-shoot-me performances. This being ein film von Boll, it sounds hilarious in description – c'mon, a royal court presided over by Reynolds and Matthew Lillard! – but it's as numbing and depressing to watch as suits hammering out a film-packaging deal one venal clause at a time. (Citywide) (Jim Ridley)

GO THE TASTE OF TEA Katsuhito Ishii's warm and fantastical family portrait opens with a quintessentially idyllic Japanese scene: a cherry tree in full flower, its blossoms drifting to the ground like summer snow. Rather than let that image stand as a lacquered, iconic tableau, Ishii guides us in and among the petals, and it is there that we find the dream lives of the Haruno family. Living in a small mountain town outside of Tokyo, the Harunos (including a hypnotist father, semiretired animator mother, chronically love-struck teen son and deftly pensive 8-year-old daughter) are Ishii's palette for a muralistic treatment of quotidian Japanese life that is at once languid and lively. As with the family dramas of Yasujiro Ozu, plot here is deemed superfluous in the face of big days at work or school and little wonders at home. Ishii's domestic frame is as tightly packed and layered as his horizons are expansive. Like Ozu, he is adept at visually representing the familial realm, hanging on seemingly inconsequential moments of congress several beats too long, until the space – and his subjects – are transformed. (ImaginAsian Center) (Michelle Orange)

GO TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE Staying on the current-events beat after his 2005 Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, filmmaker Alex Gibney aims to make ripped-from-the-headlines j'accusations that are also durable documents with Taxi to the Dark Side. The title refers to the cab driven by an Afghan man named Dilawar. Picked up as a suspect in a rocket attack in 2002, he was placed in the custody of U.S. soldiers at the Bagram “Collection Point.” Within five days, Dilawar was dead from the injuries he sustained from beatings to the legs, complicated by the trauma of being left spread-eagled and handcuffed to the ceiling of his cell. Dilawar's story is used as the entryway into a larger discussion of systems, as his prison cell opens onto a broad study of American interrogation tactics as they've developed in the years following 9/11. Gibney's experts answer the central question – “Does torture ever work?” – with something close to a pat “No.” But maybe Taxi has to cut messy issues clean, so they'll fit as building blocks in its splendid polemic architecture? When you step back, it is something to admire: Without cheapening the suffering of American or Afghan, the film retrieves the torture issue from the realm of the abstract and gives the plain facts of this world right now. (Nuart) (Nick Pinkerton)

TEETH Credit writer-director Mitchell Lichtenstein with making a first feature that every man in America will watch with his legs crossed: a grisly gyno-horror riff on Carrie about an abstinent teen (Jess Weixler) whose chastity belt conceals a dentally augmented vagina. Weixler's sweetly confused Dawn isn't so much saving herself for the right man as ­saving the right man from her. But once her town's horndog males – an impatient boyfriend (Hale Appleman), a skeevy doc (Josh Pais), a creepy half brother (John Hensley) – force the issue, the imperiled virgin quickly learns to clamp down and twist, parting franks from beans and leaving plenty of dismembered members and spurting stumps. (In an interesting twist on the usual double standard of male-female nudity, you see several severed dicks but no toothy vertical smiles.) Weixler's appealing, sympathetic presence removes any misogyny from the premise: Indeed, the movie's best joke is its cock-chomping vengeance upon predatory male sexuality, an inversion of the slasher-movie same old, same old. (If you bet $20 there's a closing-credits shout-out to Camille Paglia, you'll be rewarded.) But veteran actor Lichtenstein, the son of pop artist Roy, rarely finds a workable tone, muffling the splattery mayhem with sluggish pacing and a tendency toward camp. Still, even if the movie's little more than a curio, I love the thought of Lichtenstein at the pitch meeting: “It's Jaws meets The Vagina Monologues!” (Sunset 5; One Colorado) (Jim Ridley)

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