Short List 

Opening Friday

· ELLIE PARKER HH (NR) See review on page 46.

Duly Noted

· 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 Lefont Plaza Theatre and Sat. at Peachtree Cinema & Games, Norcross.

· SPARE PARTS (2003) (NR) This grim Slovenian film dramatizes the plight of illegal immigrants smuggled across Croatia into Italy. Sat., Dec. 30, 1 p.m. Covington Library, 3500 Covington Highway, Decatur. Free. 404-508-7180.

Continuing

· AEON FLUX (PG-13) Oscar-winner Charlize Theron fleshes out (and how) MTV's ass-kicking animated commando Aeon Flux in this incoherently structured, futuristic action flick. Though the film features some clever visual motifs and high-tech gadgets (Flux's explosive marbles, a four-handed sidekick), the bad acting and confused themes evoke such hippy-dippy sci-fi throwbacks as Zardoz and Barbarella. -- Curt Holman

· BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN HHHHH (R) Ang Lee's heart-wrenching Western one-ups the male tenderness and isolation of the traditional oater by basing his film on Annie Proulx's short story of two cowboys (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) who fall in love in 1963 Wyoming. Lee's film is lovely to look at and profoundly moving, touching on both the economic and spiritual isolation of the ranch hand's life and also the more universal alienation of being a man. Ledger is superb as an archetype of male interiority, an emotionally contained man who finds his slim fragments of happiness in short, infrequent meetings with Jack, who dreams of an impossible future for their doomed love affair. -- Felicia Feaster

· CAPOTE HHHHH (R) It's hard to take your eyes off Philip Seymour Hoffman as the vain, brilliant, manipulative and also haunted writer Truman Capote. Shrugging off the limitations of the usual biopic story arc, Bennett Miller's absorbing, thought-provoking, extremely well-crafted first fiction film (he directed the documentary The Cruise) focuses on a small but significant portion of Capote's life during the researching of his groundbreaking work of true crime nonfiction In Cold Blood, and the unhealthy mutual dependency that develops between the writer and one of the killers (Clifton Collins Jr.) of a Kansas farm family. -- Feaster

· CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN 2 (PG) This sequel to the Steve Martin vehicle about a family teeming with 12 kids involves a rivalry between a similarly crowded brood led by Eugene Levy.

· CHICKEN LITTLE H (G) In this computer-animated catastrophe, Chicken Little (Zach Braff) of nursery-rhyme fame warns the cuddly critters of Oaky Oaks of an imminent alien invasion. Disney Animation flailingly emulates the pop references of the Shrek movies and, after about five minutes, stomps all over its promising jokes. In the spirit of such monickers as Foxy Loxy and Turkey Lurkey, Chicken Little would be better named Sucky Clucky. -- Holman

· THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE HH (PG) Four plucky English youngsters step through an enchanted wardrobe and take sides in a magical kingdom's war between good and evil. Initially charming, the lavish adaptation of the C.S. Lewis book struggles to balance the source material's blend of English whimsy, epic violence and Christian allegory (complete with a cameo appearance from Father Christmas). Despite plenty of elaborately memorable images, Narnia feels more sterile than spiritual. -- Holman

· THE FAMILY STONE HHH (PG-13) Entertaining though uneven, this home-for-the-holidays trauma fest has uptight New York City executive Sarah Jessica Parker accompanying fiancé Dermot Mulroney home to Connecticut to meet his family. The WASPy, bohemian Stones take an immediate, often incomprehensible dislike to Meredith and spend the duration of the film raking her over the coals until the tale suddenly switches direction and becomes a celebration rather than an indictment of familial togetherness. -- Feaster

· FUN WITH DICK AND JANE HH .See review above.

· GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK HHHHH (PG) In the early 1950s, Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) used his CBS show "See It Now" to take on U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy's "witch hunt" tactics. Every creative decision pays off in George Clooney's second film, a black-and-white homage to the "greatest generation" of broadcast journalists, whose courage in the face of enormous pressures makes the Bush administration press corps look timid by comparison. The film succeeds enormously well at getting you under the skin of Murrow's reporters and anticipating the increasing influence of entertainment on broadcast news. See it now. -- Holman

· HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE HHHH (PG-13) Love and death are in the air at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the fourth Harry Potter film. Director Mike Newell presents the grandest, scariest spectacle in the franchise so far, featuring an exciting dragon chase and the worth-the-wait appearance of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). In bringing a novel of more than 700 pages to the screen, Newell can resemble a frantic vaudeville plate-spinner: He revs up one subplot, and the others slow down. But Goblet proves an exciting and mature chapter in a (seemingly) never-ending story. -- Holman

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  • Re: Fresh air

    • Local band Manchester Orchestra, who provided the soundtrack, probably would have appreciated a shout-out.

    • on June 29, 2016
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