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Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Opening Friday
BIG EDEN 1/2 (PG-13). Writer-director Thomas Bezucha's debut film offers a sweet-natured look at a gay love triangle the small Montana town of Big Eden that's so tolerant as to seem to good to be true. The film's cheerful spirits, cozy Country and Western songs and loving scenes of food preparation give it plenty of charms, but its lack of realistic edges or deep exploration of its characters keep it from being very substantial. With Ayre Gross, Eric Schweig and George

Coe.-- CURT HOLMAN

DIVIDED WE FALL 1/2 (PG-13) This Czechoslovakian comedy/drama about a husband and wife (played by an intensely likeable pair of actors, Boleslav Polivka and Anna Siskova) hiding a Jewish fugitive in their larder during World War II tries to deal in some of the messy moral ambiguities brought out in wartime, but more often just offers a thrilling comic romp in the Life is Beautiful tradition.--FELICIA FEASTER

GLITTER (PG-13) Is there really no such thing as bad publicity? To find out, watch the release of Mariah Carey's portrayal of a club singer's rise to riches. The flick itself looks glitzy and innocuous, but the pop diva's public breakdown has given the film a coda like something from Valley of the Dolls.

TRAINING DAY (R ) Intriguingly, Denzel Washington is cast as a sinister, sinful undercover detective. Less promising is Ethan Hawke cast as the rookie who must bring him down in this police drama from the director of The Replacement Killers

Duly Noted
CORRECTIONS (Not rated) Ashley Hunt's hour-long documentary offers a skeptical look at prison privatization and the uneasy marriage of punishment and profit. The film is best, however, at describing the politicization of law enforcement over the past four decades -- with huge consequences for race and poverty -- and evoking the chilling practice of "convict leasing" of a century ago. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, 450 Auburn Ave. Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. -- CH

HIQI FILM SERIES: WHERE MUSIC MEETS FILM. This series of music documentaries covers a variety of genres. The program includes 1979's Rockers, featuring Peter Tosh and Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace; Word's evocation of the independent hip-hop scene, with Eminem and Dead Prez; 1977's birth of the punk/new wave generation in The Blank Generation (including the Ramones and Patti Smith); an eponymous self-portrait of noise band Friends Forever; a look at California desert raves in Synergy: Vision and Vibe; Try This at Home's depiction of the Yo-yo a Go-go music festival in Olympia, Wash.; and two pieces about indie metal band Darkhorse, Driver 23 and The Atlas Moth). Cinefest, Georgia State University, 611 Courtland St. Suite 66, Sept. 21-Oct. 6.

LOST WORLDS: LIFE IN THE BALANCE (Not Rated) Harrison Ford narrates an IMAX film exploration of the world's biological diversity, from the Poles to the Tropics, with an in-depth focus on the lush, remote plateaus of Venezuela. Opening Sept. 21 at Fernbank Museum, 767 Clifton Road.

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (R) The cult classic of cult classics, the 1975 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 Meatloaf gets killed. Dress as your favorite character and participate in this musical on acid. Fridays at midnight, Lefont Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave., and Saturday at midnight at Blackwell Star Cinema, 3378 Canton Road, Marietta.

A TIME FOR DRUNKEN HORSES (Not Rated) A heartbreaking story of Kurdish orphans struggling against nearly impossible odds to raise enough money to pay for their beloved handicapped brother's operation, this beautifully photographed film never loses its power to amaze. Iranian Film Today, Films at the High, Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. -- FF

VENUS BEAUTY INSTITUTE (1999) (R ) Handsome photography and a quartet of strong female actresses provide the highlights of this charmer set at the eponymous health salon, which puts the "soap" in soap opera. French with English subtitles. Films at the High, Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. at Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center.

Continuing
AN AMERICAN RHAPSODY (PG-13). The debut film of veteran editor Eva Gardos depicts the experience of Hungarian immigrants (Tony Goldwyn, Nastassja Kinski and Ghost World's Scarlett Johansson) as they face challenges assimilating into the suburbs of the American 1950s and '60s. Not to be mistaken for American Rhapsody, Joe Eszterhas' salacious book on the Clinton scandals.

THE GLASS HOUSE (PG-13). Looking more like Helen Hunt every day, Leelee Sobieski plays a girl who, with brother Trevor Morgan, is orphaned when their parents die in a mysterious auto accident. Their legal guardians (Diane Lane and Stellan Skarsgard) prove to have sinister designs in this domestic thriller seemingly designed along the lines of The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.

HAPPY ACCIDENTS 1/2 (R) Brad Anderson's follow-up to his breezy indie romance Next Stop Wonderland is about a therapy-obsessed singleton (Marisa Tomei) who finds herself drawn to a loveably goofy regular guy (Vincent D'Onofrio) who claims to have traveled back in time from the year 2470 to meet her. This mildly cute but mostly trite romance is the kind of scatterbrained sci fi fluff beloved by Hollywood and faux-art filmmaker Hal Hartley. --FF

HARDBALL (PG-13). Not a big-screen version of the Chris Matthews political hollerin' match, but another one of those uplifting, underdog sports stories, with Keanu Reeves coaching an impoverished, trash-talking team of Little Leaguers from a housing project. Recent Little League scandals won't help this one.

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH **** (R) A fantastic, not-to-be-missed debut film from John Cameron Mitchell (adapting his off-Broadway play) who stars in this audacious rock musical as an East German transsexual nursing a broken heart as he plays abysmal rock gigs in restaurants and ice cream parlors across the country. --FF

ROCK STAR (R) Loosely based on the early '90s replacement of Judas Priest lead singer Rob Halford, Rock Star is the story of Chris Cole (Mark Wahlberg), a Pittsburgh office supply salesman who leads a tribute band for fictional British metal group Steel Dragon. When Steel Dragon needs to replace its vocalist, they try to make a diamond out of Cole. Even though Wahlberg does all right, what director Stephen Herek gets is not a gem but quite leaden. Jennifer Aniston also stars as Cole's girlfriend -- one of many characters in this cliched Cameron Crowe rip-off. -- TONY WARE

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