Capsule reviews of recently released movies 

Apocalypto, Blood Dimond, Driving Lessons, others

Opening Friday

APOCALYPTO 2 stars (R) See review.

BLOOD DIAMOND 3 stars (R) See review.

DRIVING LESSONS (PG-13) Most famous as carrot-topped Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films, Rupert Grint stars in this coming-of-age story about a boy who begins moving out of the shadow of his domineering mother (Laura Linney) when he meets a retired actress (Julie Walters, who plays Mrs. Weasley in the films). Written and directed by Jeremy Brock (The Last King of Scotland).

EATING OUT 2: SLOPPY SECONDS (NR) Phillip J. Bartel directed this sequel to the indie gay comedy Eating Out, with more bedroom comedy that turns sexual orientation upside down -- so to speak.

THE HOLIDAY (PG-13) In this season's romantic comedy from Nancy Meyers (Something's Gotta Give), Yankee Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Brit Iris (Kate Winslet) switch residences for a vacation and fall in love with, respectively, Jude Law and Jack Black.

UNACCOMPANIED MINORS (PG) A group of young people snowed in at a Chicago airport find unexpected fun in a bad situation. It sounds sort of like Home Alone meets The Terminal. Directed by Paul Feig.

Duly Noted

IDLEWILD 3 stars (R) The Cotton Club meets Purple Rain in first-time director Bryan Barber's Prohibition-era musical featuring OutKast's André "3000" Benjamin, and Antwan "Big Boi" Patton. Percival (Benjamin) is the straight-laced piano player in the raucous, gin-soaked Church nightclub where his childhood friend Rooster (Patton) entertains the crowd with his lewd musical numbers and tries to wrest control of the club away from gangsters led by Hustle & Flow's Terrence Howard. Barber is an acrobatic, visually sophisticated director who blends newfangled animation and an old Hollywood sensibility. His blend of everything's-new-again gangster attitude with hip-hop style is canny as well, though a hackneyed script keeps standing in the way of a film that only truly flies when the musical numbers are on. Dec. 8-14. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. 404-651-3565. -- Felicia Feaster

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) (R) The cult classic of cult classics, the musical horror spoof follows an all-American couple (Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick) to the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a drag-queen/mad scientist from another galaxy. It's all fun and games until Meat Loaf gets killed. Dress as your favorite character and participate in this musical on acid. Midnight Fri. at Plaza Theatre and Sat. at Peachtree Cinema & Games, Norcross.

TALES OF THE RAT FINK (NR) This heavily animated documentary biopic (with the voices of John Goodman, Ann-Margret and Jay Leno) profiles Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, who specialized in customized cars, "monster" T-shirts and the 1960s' rodent Rat Fink. Thurs., Dec. 7. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. 404-651-3565.

TWISTED (NR) In this documentary, filmmaker Laurel Chiten charts her 20-year struggle with dystonia, a neurological disorder that forces muscles to involuntarily contract and twist. Free. Tues., Dec. 12, 7 p.m. Decatur Public Library, 215 Sycamore St.


BABEL 4 stars (R) A freak mishap has far-reaching repercussions that effect the lives of a pair of American tourists (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett), two young Moroccan shepherds, a Mexican nanny (Adriana Barraza) and a deaf Japanese teenager (Rinku Kikuchi). Amores Perros director Alejandro González Iñárritu presents another gripping, gritty and well-acted set of intersecting narratives that feature raw performances (particularly from Rinku Kikuchi) and moments of nearly unbearable suspense. On reflection, Iñárritu's themes of language, globalization and human connection don't quite come together, but Babel's passion and visceral image give it power that transcends borders. -- Holman

BOBBY 2 stars (R) If the late Robert Altman had been dropped on his head as a toddler, Bobby is the sort of movie he might have ended up making. Writer/director Emilio Estevez has clearly adopted Altman's MO for this ambitious effort that's only tangentially about Robert F. Kennedy -- we get the all-star cast, the overlapping dialogue, the furtive glances at the ever-changing American landscape -- but despite a few scattered scenes worth preserving, the overall picture is shallow, tedious and ultimately insignificant. The film takes place in Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel in the hours leading up to Kennedy's assassination, while soggy melodramas involving employees and guests play out in the site's corridors and rooms. Anthony Hopkins, William H. Macy and Laurence Fishburne are among the wasted thespians. -- Matt Brunson

BORAT: CULTURE LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN 4 stars (R) British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen pranks the United States by traveling the nation in his guise as Borat Sagdiyev, a disarmingly cheerful but sexist, anti-Semitic and colossally ignorant journalist from Kazakhstan. The satiric humor stems partly from Borat's unbelievably filthy and inappropriate behavior, but also from his unsuspecting dupes, whose reactions range from polite horror to apparent agreement at his offensive statements. Briefly touching on such notions as the quality of the national character and what makes for "acceptable" comedy, Borat's silly mockumentary turns out to be more than the sum of its naughty parts. -- Holman


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