Capsule blurbs of recently reviewed movies 

Opening Friday

· THE BAXTER (PG-13) Comedian Michael Showalter writes, directs and stars in this romantic comedy about a nerdy control freak worried that his upcoming wedding plans will go wrong. Featuring Elizabeth Banks, Justin Theroux and Michelle Williams.

· CRY_WOLF (PG-13) A group of nasty prep-schoolers try to prank the campus with rumors of a serial killer -- only to see their story start to come true. It's one of those PG-13 thrillers, so don't expect much sex or violence, just a radio-friendly soundtrack.



· Short Cut to Nirvana 2 stars (PG-13) See review. Director Maurizio Benazzo will answer questions after the evening performances Sat., Sept. 17. Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive. 678-495-1424.

· LORD OF WAR (R) Nicolas Cage plays an international arms dealer pursued by Ethan Hawke's Interpol agent in this thriller from writer/director Andrew Niccol, who specializes in paranoid fantasies like The Truman Show and Gattaca.

· NOVEMBER 2 stars (R)

Duly Noted

· "THE APPALACHIANS" (NR) This excerpt from a television history about the fabled mountain range reportedly features the last recorded interview with Johnny Cash, as well as commentary from Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs and Marty Stuart. Sierra Club Fall Film Series. Thurs., Sept. 15, 7:30 p.m. Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive. $10 suggested contribution. 404-607-1262.

· THE BLUE LIGHT (1932) (NR) Renowned director Leni Riefenstahl made her feature film debut with the portrayal of a young woman in a mountain community and her strange relationship to mysterious blue lights that lead young men to their deaths. Film Retrospective: Leni Riefenstahl. Wed., Sept. 21, 7 p.m. Goethe Institut Inter Nationes, 1197 Peachtree St., Colony Square. $4. 404-892-2388.

· BRIDE & PREJUDICE 2 stars (2004) (PG-13) Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha presents this splashy, Bollywood-style adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice starring Aishwarya Rai, reputedly the most beautiful woman in world cinema. Thurs., Sept. 15, call for times. Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565.

· COMMON GROUND (2002) (NR) Actor Federico Luppi collaborates with director Adolfo Aristarain in this portrait of a loving marriage amid Argentina's economic crisis. Latin American Film Festival. Sat., Sept. 17, 8 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Auditorium, 1280 Peachtree St.; Wed., Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m. Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive. $5. 404-733-4570.

· LOST EMBRACE (2004) (NR) Argentina's nominee for the 2004 Academy Awards, this scruffy comedy set at a low-rent Buenos Aires shopping mall follows a young descendent of Eastern European Jews as he works at his mother's lingerie shop. Latin American Film Festival. Fri., Sept. 16, 8 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 18, 4 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Auditorium. 1280 Peachtree St. $5. 404-733-4570.

· SIN CITY 2 stars (R) Based on Frank Miller's hard-boiled cult comic books of the same name, Sin City wallows unapologetically in violence, T&A and other preoccupations of adolescent boys of all ages. Co-directors Miller and Robert Rodriguez leer over interlocking tales of chivalrous antiheroes (led by a hulkingly charismatic Mickey Rourke) who take on a corrupt city's sadistic power brokers. Though the film's black-and-white images can sear your retinas, its repetitive plots, grisly slapstick and predictable misogyny can leave you embarrassed to be a geek. Thurs., Sept. 15, call for times. Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. -- Curt Holman

· UNLEASHED 3 stars After being treated like a dog his entire life by a Glasgow mobster (Bob Hoskins), a henchman (Jet Li) finds comfort in his friendships with a blind piano tuner (Morgan Freeman) and his stepdaughter (Kerry Condon). While the thrilling set pieces goose the proceedings, it's the acting that dominates: Freeman packs his usual authority, Condon is an absolute delight, and Hoskins clearly relishes the return to the U.K. underworld milieu of The Long Good Friday. And then there's Jet Li, whose puppy-dog demeanor adds some tears to the expected blood and sweat. Sept. 16-22, call for times. Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. -- Matt Brunson


· THE ARISTOCRATS 4 stars (NR) George Carlin, Gilbert Gottfried, Sarah Silverman, John Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg and scores of other comedians take turns telling -- or commenting on -- an old, notoriously offensive joke usually reserved for other comedians, instead of their audiences. Depending on your tolerance for humor based on every imaginable human depravity, you might not always find "The Aristocrats" a very funny gag, but this documentary (from Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette) earns some honest laughs while offering fascinating -- and uncomfortable -- insights into the minds of professional jokemeisters. -- Holman


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