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ZU: WARRIORS OF THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN (1983) This eye-popping, special-effects-laden Asian fantasy is a real feast for the eyes. Starring Yuen Biao as a soldier who, fed up with the constant and seemingly pointless civil war, deserts his platoon only to find himself caught in another battle filled with action and bizarre magical occurrences. June 29-30 at midnight at GSU's cinéfest.
DAHLONEGA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Screening 153 underground, under-appreciated and many brand new works in film and video, with 18 Countries represented in 82 programs. June 28-July 1. Screenings are $5. The Holly Theater, 69 West Main St., Dahlonega. See the festival schedule at www.D-I-F-F.com or call 706-864-3759.
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. --FF
THE ANNIVERSARY PARTY 1/2 (R) Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming wrote, directed and star in this zeitgeisty psychodrama of a hip Hollywood couple and their high-powered friends who find their evening of celebration turning into an Ecstasy-fueled meltdown where clothes come off, truths get told and everyone undoubtedly wakes up with an ugly "what did I say?" hangover. Though there is plenty of emoting on display, the film often feels like a keyhole glimpse into the reality of life in a Hollywood fishbowl, as well as the more universal anxieties about faithfulness, aging, children and career. -- FF
BRIDE OF THE WIND (R). Bruce Beresford's biopic of Alma Mahler (Sarah Wynter), wife of composer Gustav Mahler (Jonathan Pryce), views its subject as the inspiration and obsession of a generation of Viennese artists. Yet Wynter gives only a life-sized performance for this larger-than-life personality, who seems less like a feminist martyr and icon and more like an early 20th-century groupie. At least the period photography and sound are nice. --CH
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS 1/2 (PG-13). This loud, overblown B-movie about illegal street racing goes nowhere but gets there fast. Director Rob Cohen offers a handful of nail-biting set pieces, particularly the opening race and a climactic truck chase a la The Road Warrior. But though Vin Diesel makes a magnetic lead, Furious is bumper-to-bumper with bad dialogue, poor logic and clichéd characters. -- CH
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. --CH
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
LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER (PG-13) This picture has its strong points, including a perfectly cast protagonist and a couple of set pieces that deliver the goods. But the story! Did it really take six people to come up with this malarkey? The script concerns itself with Lara's involvement with a shady cabal that seeks to control the world by gaining possession of a mystical medallion with the power to turn a mere mortal into a god. Viewers expecting wall-to-wall action will be surprised that a great chunk of the running time is filled with dull chitchat. --MB
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
STARTUP.COM (PG). Documentary filmmakers Jehane Noujaim and Chris Hegedus trace the rise and fall of short-lived Internet company govWorks.com with a remarkable, fly-on-the-wall proximity to the partnership and strained friendship of the company's founders. But it leaves significant details about the business unexplained and offers no context about the Internet itself. -- CH
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