Plus: "A Haunted House"
If Jim Jarmusch filmed "Out of Africa," it might resemble "Tabu" (★★ 1/2, unrated, in subtitled Portuguese). It unfolds in two chapters, "Paradise Lost," set in present-day Lisbon and filmed in 35mm, and "Paradise," set in early-'60s Africa and filmed in 16mm. The contemporary segment follows Aurora, an elderly woman who has all but squandered her fortune and depends on her Cape Verdean maid and self-sacrificing neighbor to make ends meet. Flash back half a century and we meet Aurora as she was, a game-hunting plantation owner entangled in a passionate affair with a handsome musician. The film's sound design, playful storytelling, and swinging Portuguese covers of Phil Spector chart-busters don't quite compensate for the melodramatic plot and schematic structure. (7:30 p.m. Fri. and Jan. 18, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Sat. and Jan 19, Walker Art Center Cinema, 1750 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., $7-$9, 612-375-7600, or walkerart.org/tickets)
Also opening Friday: The horror spoof "A Haunted House" (rated R), with Marlon Wayans, David Koechner, Cedric the Entertainer and Nick Swardson as ghostbusters in Los Angeles. The film wasn't screened for critics. Look for a review on startribune.com.