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 Bhoot
Directed by Ram Gopal Varma
Spark Media, at the Loews State

In this Indian spooker, Vishal (Ajay Devgan) moves into a not-so-creepy high-rise apartment (the endlessly recycled establishing shot will tell you otherwise) and watches in horror as his wife is possessed by the ghost of a previous tenant. What begins as a familiar supernatural thriller of the I-see-dead-people kind quickly descends into ludicrous revenge fantasy. Bhoot has a difficult time exorcising the specter of horror films past (witness the Exorcist-reloaded score). Varma is indebted to Dario Argento—the elaborate staircase in Vishal's duplex may be an homage to a fabulous tableau mort from Tenebre—but his mise-en-scène lacks architectural dread. There's a dopey charm to the latter half, wherein a barrage of film-school tics humorously evokes scenes-from-the-next-Bhoot. But like the iron bars that stop short of impaling one of the characters, the movie itself suffers from penetration anxiety. —Ed Gonzalez


Garmento
Written and directed by Michele Maher
Spanish Moss, opens June 6, at Village East

This unfocused fashion-world satire begins with a touch of fairy-tale, as grown-up Grindy (Katie MacNichol) snags a dream job at Poncho Ramirez's flagging house of couture. Once responsible for the coveted designer jeans of Grindy's youth (motto: "Peel off my Ponchos"), Poncho is now failing to hit it big with anatomically augmented underwear. Amid a welter of complications (merger, impending IPO, self-counterfeiting scheme), the mood turns unexpectedly acid. Maher shows how commercial buzz gives way to infectious, free-floating greed, but the story has too many characters, about whom we know too little. Gretchen Cleevely (electric in Adam Rapp's stage play Stone Cold Dead Serious) is spot-on as a grim little fashionista, but what casting director vetted Geoffrey Cantor as a sweatshop owner, delivering a haphazard Indian accent from under a mask of greasepaint? —Ed Park

 
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