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Capsule reviews of recently reviewed movies 

Opening Friday

MAX PAYNE (PG-13) See review at

MORNING LIGHT (PG) Mark Monroe's documentary about 15 young sailors competing in the daring Transpacific Yacht Race.

THE POOL (NR) See review on this page.

THE PRINCESS OF NEBRASKA (NR) See review on next page.

THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES (PG-13) See review on p. 29.

SEX DRIVE (R) Ian (Josh Zuckerman), an 18-year-old doughnut shop employee, sets out with his friends on a cross-country journey in hopes of losing his virginity with a girl he met on the Internet.

W. (PG-13) Josh Brolin stars as George W. Bush in this biopic about the president's rise to power. Directed by Oliver Stone (JFK).

Duly Noted

DEATH NOTE II: THE LAST NAME (NR) Director Shusuke Kaneko's live-action sequel to Death Note, based on the popular Japanese manga and animated series. Prices and locations vary. Wed.-Thurs., Oct. 15-16, 7:30 p.m.

LATIN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL The High Museum's 23rd annual showcase. Free-$7. Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m., through Nov. 15. High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-HIGH.

LIONESS A documentary look at the war in Iraq through the eyes of women. Directed by Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers. Free-$5. Tues., Oct. 21, 8:30 p.m. Cinefest Film Theatre, University Center, GSU, 66 Courtland St. 404-413-1798.

LUNAFEST FILM FESTIVAL A series of films by, for and about women, presented by LUNA Bar. Ticket sales benefit the Breast Cancer Fund. $15. Thurs., Oct. 16, 7 p.m. Concourse Athletic Club, 8 Concourse Parkway. 404-502-0634.

MODERN TIMES (1936) (NR) A factory worker (Charlie Chaplin) is driven insane by the monotony of his job in Chaplin's last silent film. Free. Wed., Oct. 15, 8 p.m. White Hall, Room 205, Emory University. 404-727-6761.

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. Midnight, Fridays at Plaza Theatre, and Saturdays at Peachtree Cinema & Games, Norcross.

SONGS OF DEVOTION: FILMS BY NATHANIEL DORSKY The highly visual films Alaya, Triste and Variations are screened, in conjunction with Atlanta Celebrates Photography. Wed., Oct. 15, 8 p.m. Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. 404-522-0655.

UNDER THE INFLUENCE A documentary showcase of the terrain and conditions faced by serious skiers and snowboarders around the world. $15-$20. Wed., Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m. Sweetwater Brewing Company, 195 Ottley Drive. 404-691-2537.


ALLAH MADE ME FUNNY (NR) Live stand-up comedy from three Muslim-American comics: Mohammed Amer, Preacher Moss and Azhar Usman.

AN AMERICAN CAROL 1 star (PG-13) A Michael Moore-type documentary filmmaker learns the true meaning of patriotism after being visited by such ghosts as General George S. Patton (Kelsey Grammer). David Zucker, one of the three creators of Airplane! and the Naked Gun films, offers a right-leaning political spoof that mocks war protesters, college professors, ACLU lawyers and actual terrorists. A couple of jokes hit home (a George Clooney-esque movie star receives awards for a film called That McCarthy Sure Was Bad), but overall it's a badly acted shambles that relies on repetitive slapstick and little insight into its targets. — Curt Holman

APPALOOSA 3 stars (R) Two freelance marshals (Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris, who directed and co-wrote the screenplay) bring law and order to Appaloosa in defiance of a powerful, sadistic rancher (Jeremy Irons in full "Uncle Scar" mode). Harris and Mortensen casually banter with each other and the shoot-outs are appropriately loud and sudden, but the film's sexual politics (embodied by Renee Zellweger's free-thinking piano player) border on misogynistic. — Holman

BLINDNESS 3 stars (R) Fernando Meirelles (the Brazillian director of City of God and The Constant Gardener) presents a heavily allegorical thriller in which an epidemic of blindness sweeps an unnamed city. A still-sighted woman (Julianne Moore) joins her blinded husband (Mark Ruffalo) in a crowded quarantine facility, which soons resembles a cross between The Lord of the Flies and the New Orleans Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. Heavy-handed and at times infuriatingly contrived, the film redeems itself with Moore's raw performance and chilling set pieces that affirm Meirelles as a director with, uh, vision. — Holman

BODY OF LIES 3 stars (R) A CIA operative (Leonardo DiCaprio) criss-crosses the Middle East to flush out an Islamist terrorist (Alon Aboutboul), despite the undermining political tactics of his corpulent boss (Russell Crowe). Director Ridley Scott crafts some exciting counter-terrorism scenes, comparable to "24" set in the real world, particularly in the film's second half. But DiCaprio and the Crowe seem miscast and, not unlike DiCaprio's Blood Diamond, Body of Lies emphasizes Hollywood action tropes over real-world complexities. — Holman

BURN AFTER READING 3 stars (R) A pair of dim-witted gym employees (Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt) blackmail a disgruntled CIA analyst (John Malkovich) in this comedy from the Coen brothers. In contrast to their bleak Oscar winner No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading offers a hilarious parody of spy thrillers, replete with sinister music and shadowy figures following the protagonists. The Coens' fondness for anticlimaxes diminishes the film's potential punch, but the hilarious performances alone would make it worth seeing, including Michael Clayton co-stars George Clooney and Tilda Swinton. — Holman

CHOKE 2 stars (R) Character actor Clark Gregg adapted, directed and played a supporting role in this ineffectual version of the novel by Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk. Sam Rockwell plays a "historical interpreter" at an 18th century village who struggles with sex addiction, tries to care for his demented mother (a charismatic Anjelica Huston) and chokes on food at restaurants so he can scam his rescuers. — Holman

THE DUCHESS 3 stars (PG-13) Kiera Knightley plays the glamorous Georgiana Spencer, an 18th century ancestor of Princess Diana, who endured a similar romantic triangle in her marriage to the emotionally remote Duke of Devonshire (Ralph Fiennes). Saul Dibb's adaptation of the acclaimed biography focuses on pre-feminist social predicaments and proves smarter than the average bodice-ripper. If not a particularly deep period piece, it's still a lively, juicy one about domestic power struggles and the public value of having children (a point with echoes in the current presidential campaign). — Holman

EAGLE EYE (PG-13) Two strangers (Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan) are thrown together when they receive calls from a mysterious woman and are forced into dangerous and illegal situations.

THE EXPRESS (PG) Rob Brown stars as real-life football star Ernie Davis, who was diagnosed with leukemia after being drafted into the NFL, in this biopic from director Gary Fleder (Runaway Jury).

THE FAMILY THAT PREYS (PG-13) Two very different families (headed by Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard, respectively) come together to overcome greed and scandal in local Tyler Perry's sixth feature film.

FLASH OF GENIUS (PG-13) The true story of Bob Kearns (Greg Kinnear), the inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper, whose idea was rejected and then stolen by three major car companies, and who sued them for more than $30 million.

FLOW: FOR THE LOVE OF WATER (NR) Irena Salina's award-winning documentary about the world water crisis and the privatization of Earth's most precious resource.

A GIRL CUT IN TWO 3 stars (NR) Young French actress Ludivine Sagnier plays a ladder-climbing weather caster who falls in love with an aging literary lion (François Berléand) while being pursued by the unstable heir (Benoît Magimel) of a chemical fortune. Best known for crime thrillers, French director Claude Chabrol offers a low-key comedy along the lines of recent Woody Allen films that explore the tension between head and heart. — Holman

HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE (R) Shaun of the Dead's Simon Pegg stars as Sidney Young, a British celebrity journalist thrown into the foreign world of high fashion when he's hired by an upscale New York magazine. Based on the memoir by Toby Young.

IGOR (PG) Igor (voiced by John Cusack), a hunchbacked, dime-a-dozen mad scientist's assistant, dreams of one day being a great mad scientist himself in this animated twist on monster movies.

I SERVED THE KING OF ENGLAND 5 stars (R) An elderly Czech ex-con (Oldrich Kaiser) reflects on his past as a waiter, lover and pawn of European history in this superb film from director Jiri Menzel. Ivan Barnev plays the character as a young man and demonstrates the physical humor and sad-sack sympathy of a silent film-era star. In its celebration of both physical comedy and physical beauty, the film presents a feast for the eyes, even as it builds to a stealthy but stinging critique of moral blindness. — Holman

MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA (R) The latest endeavor from Spike Lee tells the story of four soldiers from the all-black 92nd Buffalo Soldier Division stationed in Tuscany in World War II, and how a young boy changed everything.

NICK & NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST 4 stars (PG-13) Michael Cera and Kat Dennings play teenage music fans who meet and might fall in love during a whirlwind night amid Manhattan's rock scene. — Holman

RELIGULOUS 3 stars (R) Comedian/talk show host Bill Maher launches an irreverent attack against organized religion in this documentary from Borat director Larry Charles. — Holman

RIGHTEOUS KILL (R) Al Pacino and Robert De Niro star in this psychological thriller about a serial killer who targets criminals.

TELL NO ONE (NR) Pediatrician Alexandre Beck (François Cluzet) finds out his wife, murdered eight years earlier, might still be alive and is instructed to "tell no one" in this adaptation of Harlan Coben's international best seller.

TROPIC THUNDER 2 stars (R) A Hollywood cast and crew (including Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Brandon T. Jackson and Jay Baruchel) on location for a Vietnam War movie gets plopped into real danger thanks to some studio shenanigans. Stiller's script, co-written with Justin Theroux and Idiocracy screenwriter Etan Cohen, delivers spot-on jokes about Hollywood and war-movie clichés, and with comedic talents such as Downey, Black and surprising scene-stealer Baruchel, there's enough hammy fun to last a while. But Stiller's grating dullard character wears thin fast, and the drawn-out conclusion robs the comedy of its zip. — David Lee Simmons

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