THE GOLDEN BOWL 1/2 (R). The Merchant-Ivory filmmaking team has less success with Henry James' novels than they do with the work of E.M. Forster. Regarding a pair of penniless lovers (Uma Thurman and Jeremy Northam) who marry a wealthy father and daughter (Nick Nolte and Kate Beckinsale), the film's limited performances and heavy-handed symbolism keeps you from empathizing with the characters. --Curt Holman
THE LUZHIN DEFENCE 1/2 (PG-13). Emily Watson finds herself drawn to an eccentric grandmaster (John Turturro) at an Italian chess tournament in an intriguing but unsatisfying adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's novel. Turturro's unpredictability makes the film oddly compelling, but its melodramatic villain and emphasis on mental illness put its thematic ambitions in check. --CH
PANIC (R). William H. Macy plays a hit man seeking therapy and escape from the family business in Henry Bromell's quiet character study that's not really a thriller nor a black comedy. Macy's indelible portrait of mid-life crisis gets fine support from Donald Sutherland, Neve Campbell and especially Tracey Ullman and child actor David Dorfman. --CH
SHREK 1/2 (PG). DreamWorks' fractured fairy tale both soars and suffers from its own subversive humor, as a crude, wisecracking ogre (voiced by Mike Meyers) makes a reluctant knight errant in a quest to rescue an enchanted princess (Cameron Diaz). Shrek's computer-animated charms get hexed by too much outhouse comedy, too many pop references and far too much of Eddie Murphy as a talking donkey. --CH
ADRENALINE DRIVE (PG) Writer/director/editor Shinobu Yaguchi riffs on the teen romances of Japan and the bag-of-money road movies of Hollywood in the story of two meek young people who improbably abscond with a small fortune from the Yakuza. With long takes and few cuts, the film takes a watchful approach to its suspense scenes, but is more concerned with establishing a sweet, amusing romance than a violent action flick. Presented by the Peachtree Film Society. May 20 at 6 p.m. at General Cinema Parkway Pointe. --CH
ATLANTA MOVIE NIGHT AT CARNIVAL Nomad Pictures' co-op film event screens three locally produced movies, including Urban Heat on May 10 and Severed on May 17. Club Carnival, 210 Pharr Road at 8 p.m.
EVEREST The month of May is "Everest Month" at Fernbank, featuring lectures and book signings by Sherpa Jamling Norgay and screenings of the 1996 IMAX film documenting an expedition to the top of Mt. Everest. May 5-6, 12-13, 19-20 at 6 p.m. Fernbank Museum of Natural History.
GEORGE WASHINGTON David Gordon Green's recently released award-winning drama about a working-class kid in a small North Carolina town. May 18 at 8 p.m. at the Rich Auditorium.
IF ... A troubled British high school student revolts against the system, fighting intolerance, abuse and bad food. May 18-24 at GSU's cinéfest.
LA STRADA (NR) Fellini's classic story, of a brutish circus performer (Anthony Quinn) and the simple-minded but saintly village girl (Giulietta Masina) who accompanies him on the road, boasts mesmerizing performances and a simple poetry that make it an enduring film classic. May 11-17 at noon, 4 and 8 p.m. at GSU's cinéfest. --FELICIA FEASTER
"THE MULLET" Previously aired on local cable access station MediaOne, episodes of "The Mullet" will be screened on the first Monday of the month at the Fountainhead Lounge. The TV show features short films like "The Uh-Huh Man," "The Real Life of Jimmy Mullet" and "The Fisherman and the Mullet." April 2-June 4 at 8 p.m. Fountainhead Lounge, East Atlanta.
NIGHTS OF CABIRIA (NR) Fellini's most touching film, about an aging Roman prostitute (Giulietta Masina) who never loses her hopefulness despite some grave life setbacks, this blend of postwar Italian neorealism and traces of the director's fantastical vision is one of the masterpieces of world cinema. May 11-17 at 2, 6 and 10 p.m. at GSU's cinéfest. --FF
OLIVER TWIST The Silent Film Society of Atlanta celebrates the life and artistry of organist John Muri, who provided accompaniment to silent films since 1924. The screening of Twist stars Lon Chaney and features a recorded musical score by Muri. May 18 at 8 p.m. at GSU's cinéfest.
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