Short Takes: Pet Peeves

Negligent animal owners are duly served in Mine

Mine ***

A documentary about what happened to all the pets left behind in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Mine offers a sobering look at the attempts to rescue pets and the custody battles that ensued when they ended up with foster families and their original owners tried to get them back. Because neither hotels nor shelters would take pets, many owners left their animals behind when they evacuated the city, locking them indoors with food and water. When the flood hit, the pets that survived wound up homeless. Volunteers tried to find their owners and, if they were unable to do that, they placed the animals in foster homes. Mine provides a balanced look at a situation complicated by the fact that many of the abandoned pets were pit bulls that were used for dog fighting and raised by owners who mistreated them. In the end, some kind of justice gets doled out as many loving owners get their pets back while the negligent ones don't. (Jeff Niesel)

Cleveland Museum of Art Lecture Hall

At 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12

and 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14

Uncertainty **

The fourth feature film by the once promising writing-directing team of Scott McGehee and David Siegel (Suture, The Deep End) is a fussy, needlessly convoluted head-scratcher that strands two good young actors (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lynn Collins) in virtually unplayable roles. A coin toss on the Brooklyn Bridge helps Bobby and Kate decide which path to follow when she learns she's pregnant. One scenario involving a missing cell phone and a relentless gunman who chases them through the streets of Manhattan seems like it was spliced in from another movie. The scenes with Kate's Argentinean family in Queens aren't appreciably better. This quasi-metaphysical mishmash about fate, chance and destiny never settles down long enough to be emotionally gripping or even semi-coherent. Trying to make sense out of the artsy confusion is an exasperating and ultimately pointless experience in narrative dysfunction. (Milan Paurich)

Capitol Theatre

At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17

The Yes Men Fix the World ***

The too few who saw Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story last year heard the him declare that even in the wake of 2008's economic collapse, he was too old for more media pranks against unregulated, amoral, monstrous multinationals. Fortunately, the Yes Men — anti-corporate pranksters Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno — are still on the job. This film follows 2004's The Yes Men, updating audiences on latter-day Yes Men hoaxes, as the pair pretend to be arch-capitalist shills or company spokesmen, issue phony press statements that subvert the plutocracy, launch fake websites and stage tasteless trade-show events (an Exxon plan to turn human bodies into a "Vivoleum" fuel; a Halliburton anti-terrorist survival suit that resembles a giant bloodsucking tick). Yes, corporate toadies are held responsible for Hurricane Katrina — the left beats that into the ground the same way the nutzo right pimps 9/11 — and we learn nothing serious about Bichlbaum/Bonanno. But with Dow, AIG and probably Bernie Madoff at this point having enormous PR divisions and free-market think tanks defending their crimes, it's nice to know these two unfair, unbalanced characters haven't been downsized out yet. (Charles Cassady Jr.)

Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque

At 9:35 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13

and 8:35 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14

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