See & Do 

Better than digital cable

Film CinepleX-mas
After unwrapping your presents and gorging yourself on holiday grub, catching a movie is a fine pastime for Christmas Day -- you can spend time with your family without having to actually talk to them. And if you can't get tickets for a certain Ring-based film, these new releases should appeal to every member of your household.

For older kids: two remakes, P.J. Hogan's stylish Peter Pan or Steve Martin's slapstick Cheaper by the Dozen -- though they may inspire kids to try to fly or learn new ways to break stuff.

For bloodthirsty teenage boys: Ben Affleck's Paycheck, directed by action wizard John Woo.

For dating couples of all ages: Big Fish (pictured), which combines wild laugh-out-loud images from director Tim Burton and a sweet view of romance worthy of a chick flick.

For the liberal arts major home for the holidays: The Barbarian Invasions, a superb French film.

For older audiences and Oprah Book Club members eager for some long, lavish Oscar-bait: Cold Mountain, starring Jude Law and Nicole Kidman and directed by The English Patient's Anthony Minghella.-- Curt Holman

Holiday Events Resolution to party
What exciting activity will you be participating in come DEC. 31? What harrowing adventures await on your journey into 2004? Here are a few suggestions that can be amended to incorporate alcohol and fireworks (should you choose to break state law and zoning regulations regarding public consumption and the use of recreational incendiary materials).

For a true Georgia tradition, head out to the 15th ANNUAL PEACH DROP -- NEW YEAR'S EVE COUNTDOWN (pictured) to celebrate along with 100,000 of your closest friends. Evening performances include the TEMPTATIONS, the DRIFTERS, local R&B group CHERISH and alterna-rockers PRINCESS. Then, at midnight, the 800-pound peach miraculously drops, and the fireworks and confetti are unleashed. Watching it on television just isn't the same. Free. Noon; music begins at 6 p.m. 404-523-2311. www.underatl.com.

A slightly younger tradition happens across town when WIDESPREAD PANIC performs DEC. 30-31. Partake of whatever party favors happen to pass your way while indulging in this neo-hippie touring machine. $48.50. Tues. 6:30 p.m. (doors); Wed. 7:30 p.m. (doors). Philips Arena, One Philips Drive. 404.249.6400. www.philipsarena.com.

For the hip, young/disenfranchised theater crowd, the city offers two solid selections: PushPush Theater introduces audiences to its new Decatur home with George F. Walker's indie-filmesque stage comedies SUBURBAN MOTEL. Meanwhile, Dad's Garage presents BALL DROP 2003: COUNTDOWN TO ECSTASY, which includes the finale of the 2003 High School Improv tournament and a New Year's Eve performance of Baby New Year's Comedy Cruise. Suburban Motel: $25; 8 p.m.; PushPush, East Decatur Station, 121 New Street; 404-892-7876; www.pushpushtheater.com. High School Improv tournament: $5; 6 p.m. Countdown to Ecstasy: $15; 8 p.m.; Dad's Garage, 280 Elizabeth St.; 404-523-3141. www.dadsgarage.com.

And finally, for the black-tie and tales set, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's NEW YEAR'S EVE CONCERT is the place to be seen. This year's Johann Strauss concert will be conducted by musical-mainstay Yoel Levi. After the complimentary champagne and a high-society-must balloon drop at midnight, you may mingle until daybreak -- or an appropriately appointed hour -- to the jazzy tunes of the Dave Bass Quartet. $60-$90. 9:30 p.m. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1293 Peachtree St.; 404-733-5000; www.atlantasymphony.org. -- Steve Yockey

The Short List

Dec 25 - Thursday
Children like to sing and dance -- or at least, that's the kind of thing adults drag them to see. Family-oriented ROBBO sings silly songs and introduces kids to crazy characters like superhero Blanket Kid and the Giant in My Closet. $9-$15. 10:30 a.m. Morris & Rae Frank Theatre, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. (Heather Kuldell)Dec26FridayAtlanta Ballet presents THE NUTTY NUTCRACKER, its quirky version of the holiday classic. Previous shows included appearances by Scooby-Doo, Shaggy and Austin Powers, and earned a racy PG-13 rating. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Atlanta Ballet Dancer's Resource Fund. $22-$63. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. 404-881-2100. www.foxtheatre.org. (HK)

Dec 27 - Saturday
Edutainment is the word of the day as Apex Museum hosts the KWANZAA FESTIVAL, featuring performances by the Sweet Auburn Theater Company Youth Ensemble and activities in Children's Corner. Visitors can peruse the African market for an assortment of food, books and other imported items. $2.50-$3.50 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; free after 5 p.m. 135 Auburn Ave. 404-523-2739. www.apexmuseum.org. (HK)

Dec 28 - Sunday
The melodic waves of the TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA crash upon the shores of Atlanta tonight. How to describe this instrumental force of nature? It's kinda like Manheim Steamroller -- only not like that at all. $38.50-$48.50. 8 p.m. The Arena at Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway. 404-241-6400. www.gwinnettcenter.com. (SY)

Dec 29 - Monday
Time to chill with SOULED OUT MONDAYS and host Corey Whitehead. The evening begins with open-mic poetry at 7 p.m. and musical performances by the Hot Dog Sauce Band at 9 p.m. $4-$6. Mondays. Blues in the Alley, 155 Kenny's Alley. 404-584-7557. www.bluesinthealley.net. (HK)

Dec 30 - Tuesday
Before you fill your blood stream with all sorts of nasty toxins, how about performing a relatively painless good deed? The American Red Cross blood supply desperately needs blood types O positive and O negative. But they're not really that choosy, so they'll take whatever flows through you. To find a donation center near you, call 1-800-GIVE LIFE or visit www.givelife.org. (HK)

Dec 31 - Wednesday
New Year's Eve needs a new theme song. Prince's "1999" worked beautifully until the year 2000, but nothing has stepped up to fill the void. To seek out this new turn-of-the-year vibe, see Nightshift (p. 76) for a plethora of party options. (HK)

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