PERSEPOLIS 4 stars (PG-13) Marjane Satrapi co-directs the animated adaptation (now dubbed in English) of her graphic-novel memoir about growing up in Iran and witnessing the shah's tyranny, the war with Iraq and life under Islamic fundamentalists. The simplicity of the primarily black-and-white animation superbly captures her childlike perspective, although the film's second half, chronicling her battles with depression as a young woman, loses some of its political sweep. — Curt Holman
PROM NIGHT (PG-13) A remake of a 1980s film starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Prom Night is the story of a teenage girl stalked by a deranged murderer.
SMART PEOPLE 3 stars (R) See review.
STREET KINGS (R) A veteran LAPD detective attempts to track down his former partner's murderers. Starring Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker, Jay Mohr and John Corbett. See review.
THE YEAR MY PARENTS WENT ON VACATION (PG) Mauro is a 12-year-old soccer fanatic living in Brazil, but when his leftist parents are forced to go into hiding, Mauro must move in with his grandfather in a multiethnic district of São Paulo.
CINEMAMA This new film series shows films every Thursday night and includes popcorn, pillows and drinks. This Thurs., April 10, Persona (1966) will be screened. Free. 8 p.m. New Street Gallery, 2800 Washington St., Avondale Estates. cinemama.org.
KING CORN This documentary chronicles one acre of corn's journey from farm to food production. Two best friends move to the heartland to plant corn but soon discover corn's driving force on today's fast-food economy. April 11-17. Cinéfest, second floor of the University Center at Georgia State University, Suite 240. Visit www.gsu.edu/cinefest for showtimes.
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, Fri. at Plaza Theatre, and Sat. at Peachtree Cinema & Games, Norcross.
21 (PG-13) Based on the best-selling nonfiction book Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions, by Ben Mezrich, 21 tells the story of ambitious students who become card experts. Starring Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne and Kate Bosworth.
27 DRESSES 1 star (PG-13) From the reprehensible subgenre of chick flicks that delight in the humiliation of a stereotypically girly heroine, this dim little comedy stars Knocked Up's Katherine Heigl as Jane, a secretary who is always the bridesmaid and never the bride, and in love with her boss (Edward Burns). She attracts the attention of a newspaper reporter (James Marsden) who wants to blow the lid off of the wedding racket by writing an article about Jane. Not even a guilty pleasure. — Felicia Feaster
10,000 B.C. 2 stars (PG-13) See review. — Holman
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS 3 stars (PG) This fluffy film chronicles the Chipmunks' rise to hyperpitched harmonizing fame and their narrow escape from the pitfalls of child stardom. — Allison C. Keene
THE BANK JOB 2 stars (R) In 1971 London, a dodgy car dealer (Jason Statham, aka The Transporter) and his gang of amateurs plan to rob a bank vault of safety deposit boxes, unaware that their caper is camouflage for a government plot to pilfer some Royal blackmail material. Some crisply edited scenes of safe cracking and escaping fail to rescue The Bank Job's convoluted screenplay, which lunges in too many directions for director Roger Donaldson to control. The poor British man's Bruce Willis, Statham steals the movie, but The Bank Job doesn't get away clean. — Holman
BE KIND REWIND (PG-13) A lovable loser (Jack Black) accidentally erases all the videos at the rental store where his best friend (Mos Def) works. The duo decides to recreate any movie that the loyal customers ask for, filming their own versions of classic films. Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) directs.
BILL (R) A doormat of a man, Bill (Aaron Eckhart) works an unsatisfying job and stays married to his cheating wife. But once he begins mentoring a rebellious and self-confident teen (Logan Lerman), his life starts to turn around.
THE BUCKET LIST 3 stars (PG-13) A high-maintenance zillionaire (Jack Nicholson) and a dignified mechanic (Morgan Freeman) become mismatched buddies as roommates on a cancer ward, then decide to live their last months crossing items off "the bucket list" of things to do before death. Despite both actors' penchant for self-parody, here they play off each other like old pros, and director Rob Reiner, improving significantly from flops such as Rumor Has It..., makes the predictable humor and platitudes go down easy. — Holman
CHICAGO 10 4 stars (R) Part documentary, part animated re-enactment, Brett Morgen's film resembles a fragmented but illuminating mosaic of the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the subsequent trial of anti-war dissidents. Morgen cuts between archival footage of the Vietnam War protests and animated trial sequences (with such actors as Hank Azaria, Mark Ruffalo and the late Roy Scheider reading from the official court transcript) and offers an urgent, compelling account of public dissent and the perils of speaking truth to power. — Holman
CLOVERFIELD 4 stars (PG-13) A Manhattan yuppie's going-away party gets an inconvenient interruption when a giant monster lays waste to New York City. Once the bad stuff starts going down, no one in the theater takes a breath for an hour, and Cloverfield easily lives up to months of online hype and even offers a fairly touching story of callow Manhattanites who find love and meaning in the teeth of disaster. The single-camera POV gimmick works brilliantly at generating terror and immediacy, but if you're prone to motion sickness, sit in the back row. — Holman
COLLEGE ROAD TRIP (G) Melanie (Raven Symone) is excited to spread her wings and travel to prospective universities on a girls-only road trip. But her plans are shattered when her overprotective police-chief father (Martin Lawrence) insists on accompanying her instead.
THE COUNTERFEITERS 4 stars (R) Stefan Ruzowitzky directed and wrote the screenplay (adapted from Adolph Burger's book) for this fact-based account of concentration-camp prisoners forced to participate in the Nazi money-forgery scheme Operation Bernhard. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and rightfully so, with Karl Marcovics as the lead forger who feels trapped between his will to survive and the guilt from helping the enemy. See review online at atlanta.creativeloafing.com. — David Lee Simmons
DIARY OF THE DEAD 2 stars (R) George Romero's zombie franchise (which began in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead) attempts to make a cutting commentary on video voyeurism when a film student obsessively records his friends' efforts to survive the undead. Cloverfield's scarier use of the camera-as-narrator device beat Diary to the punch, while Romero's leaded speeches and cartoonish characters undermine his serious intentions and the film's fitfully exciting bits. It's the Redacted of horror movies, and that's not a compliment. — Holman
DOOMSDAY (R) Authorities are forced to quarantine an entire country after a deadly virus breaks out and kills hundred of thousands of citizens. Three decades later, however, the virus resurfaces in a major city and an elite team of specialists is dispatched to find a cure. Neil Marshall writes and directs.
DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO! 4 stars (G) In this CGI adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic, a kindly elephant (voiced by Jim Carrey) protects microscopic Whoville from hostile nay-sayers led by Carol Burnett's Sour Kangaroo. Horton cleverly doubles the narrative by making the Whoville mayor (Steve Carell) another lonely believer, and generally retains the heart of the book and slapstick worthy of old Bugs Bunny cartoons. It's as if the filmmakers knew exactly how big a desecration was Carrey's How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and did exactly the opposite. — Holman
DRILLBIT TAYLOR 2 stars (PG-13) Persecuted by a psycho bully (Alex Frost), three meek high schoolers (Nate Hartley, Troy Gentile and David Dorfman) hire supersoldier Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson) to be their bodyguard, unaware that he's actually a nonconfrontational homeless panhandler. Overlong and underfunny, Drillbit Taylor wastes the charms of Wilson and his young co-stars. Co-writer Seth Rogen also co-wrote Superbad, which has a similar dynamic between the three kids, but Drillbit is no Superbad. It's just plain bad. — Holman
FLAWLESS (PG-13) Demi Moore and Michael Caine star, respectively, as a frustrated executive hitting her head on the glass ceiling and a nighttime janitor. The duo plans a heist to steal diamonds from the London Diamond Corporation where they are both employed.
FOOL'S GOLD 3 stars (PG-13) Whimsical, tropical farce where a divorcing couple (Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, with great chemistry) are brought back together by the promise of buried treasure. Not many twists in this tale, but you don't need them -- pretty people in pretty places makes the piece fit perfectly with the surroundings -- it's breezy, shallow fun. — Keene
FUNNY GAMES 5 stars (R) Film fans who saw director Michael Haneke's 1997 Austrian metahorror film about a pair of aristocratic sociopaths who torture and terrorize a family of vacationing yuppies may not get as much of a charge on this second go-around. But there's no denying Haneke's Hollywood, virtually shot-for-shot remake (starring Naomi Watts and Tim Roth as the terrorized couple) brings his squirm-inducing commentary on the American thirst for violence-as-entertainment á la Saw, Hostel and Grindhouse to the audience who needs his cautionary tale the most. — Feaster
THE GRAND 2 stars (R) Director Zak Penn follows the model of Christopher Guest comedies such as Best in Show with this irreverent, largely improvised take on high-stakes poker. The Grand conveys Las Vegas's unglamorous underbelly and features a likable cast, including Woody Harrelson, Cheryl Hines, David Cross and Chris Parnell. Penn lacks Guest's gift for turning testy behavior and desperate blather into narrative momentum, though, and the little throwaway gags tend to be more amusing than the central set pieces. — Holman
IN BRUGES 3 stars (R) Two Irish hitmen (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) lay low in Belgium's preserved medieval town of Bruges in this hipster thriller from brash young playwright Martin McDonagh. McDonagh proves that his knack for compelling, profanely funny dialogue can transfer from stage to screen, although at times he traffics in disposable themes that don't quite justify the savage behavior on screen. In Bruges suggests Pulp Fiction's "Royale with Cheese" scene, if we'd followed John Travolta to Europe. — Holman
JUNO 4 stars (PG-13) An insanely funny script by Diablo Cody and bone-dry comic timing provided by Ellen Page make Juno feel like the breakout indie of the year. Page is a knocked-up 16-year-old who decides to hand over her child to a couple (Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner) she thinks are desperate for a baby. Things turn out to be more complicated, and much sweeter than this attitudinal comedy initially suggests. — Feaster
LEATHERHEADS 3 stars (PG-13) In his third directorial outing, George Clooney plays the aging captain of a failing 1920s pro football team who sees his modest star eclipsed by a Princeton sports star/war hero (John Krasinski of "The Office"). Some of the broader slapstick scenes fail to snap in Leatherheads' homage to 1930s screwball comedy, and Renee Zellweger's reporter seems like too much of a stock character, but Clooney shows enough of a self-deprecating sense of humor and ease with male camaraderie to make Leatherheads the equivalent of an enjoyable, forgettable halftime show. — Holman
NIM'S ISLAND (PG) When Nim's father goes missing from the magical island they live on, Nim must find help from the author of her favorite books. Based on the book by Wendy Orr.
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN 4 stars (R) The Coen brothers make a rousing return to form in this Texas crime drama that strips away their trademark irony for brilliant, suspenseful set pieces. Josh Brolin's Vietnam vet, Tommy Lee Jones' aging sheriff and Javier Bardem's ruthless hitman engage in a three-way chase on either side of the Rio Grande. Don't let the anticlimactic ending sour you on the superb filmmaking. — Holman
THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL (PG-13) Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson star as the Boleyn sisters, whose ambitious family drives them to compete for King Henry VIII's affections as a pathway to the throne. The Other Boleyn Girl is based on the novel by Philippa Gregory.
PARANOID PARK 3 stars (R) Director Gus Van Sant's relentless focus on the point of view on teenagers continues in Paranoid Park, a drama about a teenage boy whose foggy equilibrium turns into a nightmare after a stranger at the underground skate park invites him to the freight yard to hop a train. Devastating complications arise and the slo-mo idyll becomes a nightmare. Van Sant aims to capture the floating, random, free-associative pitch of teenage life. In his rhythms he has succeeded, even if the overall impression feels frustratingly unfocused, even inconsequential. — Feaster
PENELOPE 1 star (PG) Christina Ricci is Penelope, a rich girl saddled with a family curse that has endowed her with a pig snout in this badly mangled attempt at fairy-tale whimsy. Her mother's (Catherine O'Hara) efforts to find Penelope a blue-blood husband despite the piggy mug unearth sensitive hunk James McAvoy, but this film's tween-directed message that beauty is in the eye of the beholder is a joyless washout in the end. -- Feaster
THE RUINS (R) Four young tourists wander away from American-friendly Cancun and into a terrifying bloodbath.
RUN, FAT BOY, RUN 2 stars (PG-13) Five years after leaving his pregnant fiancée (Thandie Newton) at the altar, lovable "unfit" loser Dennis (Simon Pegg of Shaun of the Dead) vows to run a London marathon to win her back from her rich American boyfriend Whit (Hank Azaria). Pegg affirms his skills as a humorous, ingratiating lead, but the directorial debut of "Friends'" David Schwimmer looks more like a heavy-handed English rom-com like Bridget Jones' Diary than Pegg's ingenious efforts like Hot Fuzz. — Holman
THE SAVAGES 4 stars (R) Two self-absorbed intellectual siblings (superbly played by Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman) find themselves forced to care for the ailing, demented father (Philip Bosco) who abandoned them years ago. Writer/director Tamara Jenkins' razor-sharp sophomore film (after Slums of Beverly Hills) manages to be at once gentle and merciless, encouraging us to laugh at the characters' childishness while empathizing with their unhappiness. The Savages' mix of comedy, insight and fear of mortality play almost like a subplot to Jonathan Franzen's novel The Corrections. — Holman
SEMI-PRO 3 stars (R) Just how many times can Will Ferrell make the same comedy about a flailing, pasty, self-deluded athlete and/or broadcaster? Following Anchorman et al, this spoof of the 1970s American Basketball Association is Farrell's laziest and most predictable yuck fest. I'm not proud to admit that it provided me with the bare minimum of laughs to be enjoyable, but if the name "Flint Michigan Tropics" or the idea of a team striving for fourth place fail to amuse you, don't even give Semi-Pro a shot. — Holman
SHELTER 3 stars (R) Writer/director Jonah Markowitz bathes this tale of love and surfing in luscious, "golden hour" light. Conflicted, artistic Zach (Trevor Wright) struggles to hold his family together by forfeiting his own dreams, until he unexpectedly finds strength in the arms of his best friend's older brother. Shelter touches on themes of class and commitment, but the palpable chemistry of the film's leads ultimately makes this otherwise sweet summer romance compelling. — Keene
SHINE A LIGHT 3 stars (PG-13) Martin Scorsese's documentary highlights the eternal rock band, the Rolling Stones, who still rock. Their enthusiasm hasn't dwindled, and that in itself is remarkable. A tribute to staying power -- both the Stones' and Scorsese's -- the film is more a fan's-eye view of the band in performance than Scorsese's chance to wow with his auteur chops. — Feaster
SHUTTER (PG-13) After a tragic car accident, photographer Ben (Joshua Jackson) and his new wife, Jane (Rachael Taylor), find disturbing humanlike figures blurring Ben's photos. Jane thinks it could be the spirit of the girl murdered in the car crash, seeking vengeance. From the executive producers of The Grudge and The Ring.
THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES 3 stars (PG) The Grace kids (Sarah Bolger, and Freddie Highmore playing twins) stop worrying about their parents' separation when one of them discovers an ancestor's field guide to magical creatures. Too intense and violent for pretweens, The Spiderwick Chronicles' fast-paced adventure scenes evoke 1980s family adventures such as Gremlins and The Goonies without being quite so obnoxious, and retains the books' more serious themes of broken homes. — Holman
STOP-LOSS 3 stars (R) Kimberly Peirce's film takes its name from the military loophole that orders soldiers back into battle after they've completed their service. Ryan Phillippe stars as a patriotic Texas boy who tries to convince a senator to reverse his stop-loss order. The film cautiously addresses the war, telling its story mostly from the soldier's point of view. It's a film of conciliation that strives to unite its audience in the unquestionable mission of supporting our troops. In that sense, it reflects fairly accurately the neurosis of our times. — Feaster
SUPERHERO MOVIE (PG-13) Writer Craig Mazin (Scary Movie) is back with another spoof on recent films. Superhero Movie pokes fun at flicks such as Spider-Man, X-Men and a multitude of others.
UNDER THE SAME MOON (PG-13) Rosario (Kate del Castillo) works illegally in the United States to provide a better life for her 9-year-old son Carlitos (Adrian Alonso), who lives in Mexico with his grandmother. Both mother and son must journey to find each other again.
VANTAGE POINT 2 stars (PG-13) An assassination attempt on the U.S. president (William Hurt) unfolds from multiple points of view, including a veteran secret service agent (Dennis Quaid), an American tourist with a camcorder (Forest Whitaker) and a cable news producer (Sigourney Weaver). Vantage Point's multiple-eyewitness shtick takes too long to pay off and its minidramas play as painfully hackneyed, including Whitaker protecting a young bystander and the use of improbably identical "doubles." So why did so many Oscar winners and nominees sign on for such a clunky thriller? Maybe it's some kind of conspiracy. — Holman
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