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Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Opening Wednesday
JOE DIRT (PG-13) 1/2 David Spade, amusing in small doses, wears out his welcome many times over as the mullet-headed title character who's out of touch, out of style and out to find the parents who deserted him at the Grand Canyon 25 years ago. Los Angeles shock jock Dennis Miller makes Joe a 15-minute celebrity by giving him a forum to tell his story. The majority of laughs involve Joe being hurt and humiliated. Spade might have been able to keep Joe interesting for an eight-minute sketch, but a feature? No way, Dude. -- STEVE WARREN

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS (PG-13) 1/2 The titular trio reaches the big screen via a '60s comic book and a '70s animated TV series. Only Tara Reid, as the standard dumb blonde, has a personality as she, Rachael Leigh Cook and Rosario Dawson play punk without attitude. The easy listening hard-rockers become overnight sensations, then realize their records contain subliminal advertising, a "conspiracy to brainwash the youth of America with pop music." As a satire on consumerism it's hardly a teenage Fight Club -- and you wouldn't call the product placement subliminal -- but this mild diversion has its moments. -- SW

KINGDOM COME (PG) Soul Food was just an appetizer for this African-American family comedy that brings a dysfunctional brood together to bury their patriarch. Whoopi Goldberg plays it almost straight as the widow while Loretta Devine takes comic honors as her ever-praying sister-in-law. Goldberg's sons, LL Cool J and Anthony Anderson, are in troubled marriages (to Vivica A. Fox and Jada Pinkett Smith) but no problems are too big to be resolved neatly for a feel-good ending. The actors and most of the script make up for technical shortcomings in the funniest funeral since Chuckles bit the dust. -- SW

Opening Friday
AMORES PERROS 1/2 (R) A trio of stories set in a dystopian Mexico City revolve around a life-altering car crash in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's gripping first feature more indebted to the indie free-styling of Tarantino than the art film legacy of Bunuel. --FELICIA FEASTER

BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY 1/2 (R) Renee Zellweger manages a convincing British accent and remains defiantly appealing as the loveable loser "singleton" Miss Jones despite this bland, conventional, American-targeted re-working of Helen Fielding's witty, rude best-selling diaries to the screen. -- FF

Duly Noted
AMERICAN NIGHTMARE: 1/2 Horror fans will delight in this cultural history of contemporary horror, as seen through the eyes of some of its principle practitioners, including Wes Craven, George Romero and Tobe Hooper. Nifty clips enliven the film, and fairly erudite commentary might just give you a few new arguments to justify to your significant others why you like this stuff. April 13-19 at GSU's cinéfest. -- EDDY VON MUELLER

CARBIDE AND SORREL. This 1963 German comedy involves a factory worker trying to move seven barrels of carbide safely across the Soviet occupation zone. Director Frank Beyer combines fast-paced humor with keen social observation.April 11 at 7 p.m. Goethe Institut Atlanta.

THE CHARCOAL PEOPLE. A gripping documentary reveals both the harsh working and living conditions of charcoal workers in Brazil and the consequences of that fuel on the Amazon rain forest. An Atlanta premiere. April 6-12 at cinéfest.

DO THE RIGHT THING Spike Lee explores the rising racial tensions in a Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood on a hot summer day. Presented by IMAGE's Atlanta Film & Video Festival. April 19 at 8 p.m. Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center.

ETE AND ALI After completing their military service, Ete and Ali embark on an uncertain future. Ali doesn't want to return to his small village and Ete discovers his wife has a wandering eye. When Ali decides to help his friend get his wife back, the troubles begin. April 18 at 7 p.m. Goethe Institut Atlanta.

THE GIFT Cate Blanchette stars as a clairvoyant who leads police to a dead body in the murder mystery by Sam Rami and Billy Bob Thornton, which also stars Hilary Swank and Greg Kinnear. April 13-19 at GSU's cinéfest.

MEN OF HONOR. Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Carl Brashear, destined to become the Navy's first African-American diver despite resistance from his tough instructor (Robert DeNiro at his saltiest) in a nobly-intended, Oscar-bait biopic that saw no nibbles from the Academy. April 6-12 at cinéfest.

"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.

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