Capsule reviews of films playing the week of August 18 | Film Clips | Creative Loafing Charlotte

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Capsule reviews of films playing the week of August 18

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WINTER'S BONE Memorable movie characters often pop out at us from the most unlikely of places, and this understated indie effort surprises by serving up such a figure in Ree Dolly. Ree, played by Jennifer Lawrence in a breakthrough performance, is 17 years old, smarter than everyone around her, sports a lip that sometimes gets her into trouble, and takes a screen beating as impressively as anyone since Brando's Terry Malloy got clobbered in On the Waterfront. But Ree won't back down. Living in poverty somewhere in Missouri's Ozark terrain, she learns that her dad has skipped bail after putting up their house for collateral. Not thrilled by the prospect of being homeless, she sets out to locate her wayward pop, running into resistance from all manner of dangerous and ignorant people. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize (as well as a screenwriting award) at this year's Sundance Film Festival, Winter's Bone, adapted by writer-director Debra Granik and co-scripter Anne Rosellini from Daniel Woodrell's novel, is suffused with pungent backwoods flavor (the film was shot on location), which adds an unsettling authenticity to Ree's quest. An assured directorial effort from Granik, the picture offers a rare look at a region that will seem as foreign to most moviegoers as the forest moon of Endor. ***1/2


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