INNOCENCE (R) A title like Innocence usually prompts you to expect anything. However, this Australian drama with a reputation for tenderness follows how two seniors resume their young love affair after a separation of 40 years, despite her husband and other health and family concerns.
THE LAST CASTLE (R) A brouhaha surrounded this film's posters, which featured a U.S. flag turned upside down, but this drama from the director of The Contender involves not terrorists but a military prison warden (James Gandolfini, best known as Tony Soprano) vying against a court-martialed general (Robert Redford).
LUMUMBA (NR) Haitian writer-director Raul Peck depicts the United States' involvement in the death of the Congo's democratically elected president Patrice Lumumba (Eriq Ebouaney) in this grim, provocative dramatization.
MULHOLLAND DRIVE (R) A typical feast of Lynchian dreamwork, Mulholland Drive is also a disappointment for its mix of a deeply troubling storyline involving a naive Nancy Drew blonde new to Hollywood trying to help a haunted, amnesiac brunette, with silly subplots that recall the increasingly absurdist dissolution of Lynch's television show "Twin Peaks."--FELICIA FEASTER
MY FIRST MISTER (R). One of those heartfelt efforts that means well but plays lamely, Christine Lahti's directorial debut feature stars Leelee Sobieski as a sullen teen who takes a job at a mall clothing store under a friendless 49-year-old man (Albert Brooks). The film comes alive when it explores their tense, tender and platonic relationship, but cops out with a revelation worthy of a soap opera.--MATT BRUNSON
RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS (PG-13) Expect this Penny Marshall film to put Drew Barrymore's acting chops to the test as she plays a 15-year-old who has a son in 1968, has a troubled marriage to drug-addicted Steve Zahn and sees her boy grow to young adulthood 20 years later.
TOGETHER 1/2 (R). "Tilsammans," the Swedish word for "together," is also the name of a rambunctious Stockholm commune in this delightful comedy set in the 1975. The politically committed but sexually open residents prove especially amusing through the eyes of their own children, irked at the sight of adults behaving irresponsibly. With the gentle, forgiving humor of a Bill Forsythe comedy like Local Hero, Together explores how people isolate themselves but also violate each other's personal space, ultimately coming down on the side of community.--CH
WELCOME TO ANATEVKA (G) Ruth Leitman (director of Alma and Wildwood, N.J.) and James Jernigan offer a behind-the-scenes look at the Atlanta Jewish Community Center's production of Fiddler on the Roof using theater professionals, high school students and 22 developmentally disabled adults. Some of disabled actors we see more in snapshots than sustained portraits, but the difficulties of two particular actresses give the film suspense while making it about more than the platitudes of the uplifting, rewarding aspects. Oct. 24 at 6:30 and 8 p.m. The Lefont Plaza, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave., $15 ($12 for IMAGE members). -- CH
WITHOUT A TRACE The winner of the Latin American Cinema Award of the 2001 Sundance Film Festival sounds like a Mexican take on Thelma and Louise, with two women -- a smuggler and a single mother -- taking the road to the Yucatan. 2001 Latin American Film Festival. Oct. 19 and 23 at 8 p.m., Rich
Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center. $5.
JUAN, I FORGOT I DON'T REMEMBER Described as "docu-fiction," the son of renowned Mexican writer and poet Juan Rulfo tries to capture his late father's life through the eyes of his peers in Jalisco, only to discover that their memories are faulty. 2001 Latin American Film Festival. Oct. 20 at 8 p.m., Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center. $5.
MAESTRO SCREENING OF LOCAL WORK The Media Arts Environmental Scanning Tour of Regional Organizations begins its celebration of Atlanta media arts with a screening of local short films, including "Smokes & Mirrors" by Jeremy Wilson, "Playball" by Adam Taylor and "Escalator of Life" by Melanie Bugg.Fountainhead Lounge, 485-A Flat Shoals Road. Oct. 18 at 9 p.m. Free.
WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER 1/2 (R) Inane, puerile comedy you'll probably hate yourself for laughing at, this spoof of late '70s/early '80s teen sex comedies like Meatballs follows the campers and counselors of Camp Firewood on the last, endless day of camp. Director David Wain and co-writer Michael Showalter take an obvious delight in exploiting the various absurdities of this reprobate genre, delivering a brand of non sequitur, ridiculous comedy that tickles the preadolescent funny-bone as much as it mocks genre conventions. Peachtree Film Society. Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. General Cinemas Parkway Pointe Theater. $7.50. --FF
DOWNTOWN 81 1/2 (NR) A picaresque crawl through the post-apocalyptic, graffiti and pusher occupied Lower East Side of the '80s, painter Jean Michel Basquait brings this new wave funkytown to life along with a cast of scenesters including Fab Five Freddy, Cookie Mueller, Debbie Harry and Vincent Gallo in a sloppy but charming yarn about an artist in the city. GSU's cinefest, Oct. 12-18.--FF
THE ART OF AMALIA David Byrne wears his hat as an international music advocate by introducing this documentary on the career of Amalia Rodrigues, Portugal's greatest diva, and the musical style called "Fado."GSU's cinefest, Oct. 19-25.
EVIL DEAD 2: DEAD BY DAWN (R ) Bruce Campbell earned a rep as the reigning king of the B-movie actors with his bravura turn in the best of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy, a wild blend of schlock and slapstick. Besieged by nasty spirits in a remote cabin, Campbell carries much of the film with no other actors: highlights include ducking flying eyeballs, fighting his own hand and, when admiring the chainsaw that replaces the rebellious appendage, intoning "Groovy." Indeed. GSU's cinefest, Oct. 19-20 at midnight. -- CH
ME YOU THEM (PG-13). In a Northeastern Brazilian village, a hard-working woman (Regina Case) effectively ends up with three husbands under one roof. Director Andrucha Waddington finds some mild domestic comedy in her premise, although the movie tends to be less concerned with finding laughs than showing the conditions in an arid, poverty stricken town.High Museum's Latin American Film Festival, Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center. Oct. 13 and 16 at 8 p.m., $5 general admission. --CH
NEW YORK IN THE '50s 1/2 (NR) A documentary that aims to debunk the popular notion that the '50s were all about consumerism and Kerouac, a host of expert witnesses including Robert Redford, Gay Talese, Calvin Trillin, William F. Buckley, Village Voice founder Ed Fancher, Joan Didion and Nat Hentoff are called in to bolster author Dan Wakefield'sclaim that the '50s were also about drinking, psychoanalysis, babe-chasing, writing, Salinger and, yes, Kerouac, too, dammit. GSU's cinefest, Oct. 12-18. --FF
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.
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.
APOCALYPSE NOW REDUX 1/2 (R) Closer to Francis Ford Coppola's original intention for his film, this Apocalypse, featuring 53 additional minutes and the inclusion of scenes that had previously been mere legend in film circles, enhances the myth of this stunning Vietnam war film but does not necessarily make for a better film.-- FF
BANDITS (PG-13) Director Barry Levinson's latest tries hardto be a quirky comedy (God, does it try), but the team of Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton as "the Sleepover Bandits" fails to stir anything in the audience besides contempt. Thornton's hypochondriac character spends the entire 125-minutes whining about his various ailments, and Cate Blanchett fares no better as the bargain basement screwball heroine in love with both men. Willis, amazingly, comes out on top, providing a respite from all the mannered acting smothering the rest of the picture.--MB
BREAD AND TULIPS (PG-13) An unhappy housewife (Licia Maglietta) falls in with the charming characters in a tiny corner of Venice in Silvio Soldini's quirky new comedy that Italians reportedly adore.
BIG EDEN 1/2 (PG-13). Writer-director Thomas Bezucha's debut film offers a sweet-natured look at a gay love triangle in 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.-- CH
BULLY (Not Rated) America hide your children, that "wake up and smell the coffee" chicken hawk Larry Clark has done gone and made himself another movie full of ripe, nekkid teens and a bracing social message about how it's, like, wrong or something to kill your best friend even if he was meaner than a sackful of rattlesnakes. Based on fact. -- FF
CORKY ROMANO (PG-13) "Saturday Night Live's" Chris Kattan plays a zany veterinarian who passes as an FBI agent to save his Mafia family -- or is he passing as a mafioso to save his FBI family? Something like that. With Peter Falk, Fred Ward and Chris Penn.
THE DEEP END 1/2 (R) Though it was a hit at this year's Sundance Film Festival, this tale of consuming mother love in which Tilda Swinton does everything in her power -- including covering up a murder -- to protect her son, feels like a conservative throw-back to Mildred Pierce-era stories of masochistic, maternal sacrifice dressed up in flashy au courant garb.-- FF
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.-- FF
DON'T SAY A WORD (R) Michael Douglas seems bored as a New York psychiatrist whose daughter is snatched by crooks who demand he extract valuable information from the mind of one of his patients (Brittany Murphy), a catatonic woman with a murky past. Despite the potentially interest in Murphy's character,the film boils down to routine police procedurals (stretch), cars speeding through city streets (yawn), and Douglas trading climactic blows with the baddies (zzzzzz). -- MB
DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN (Not rated). The directors of classic rockumentaries Monterey Pop and Don't Look Back offer a concert film of music from and in the spirit of O Brother Where Art Thou? Showcasing bluegrass, gospel and blues musicians who couldn't get arrested in today's hats-and-headsets Country climate, Mountain resembles an unusually authentic and diverse "Austin City Limits," with highlights from Emmylou Harris, Ralph Stanley, the Fairfield Four and the late Bill Hartford.--CH
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.
HAIKU TUNNEL (R ) Jacob and Josh Kornbluth co-write, direct and act in a corporate satire about a temp (Josh) who's life turns upside down when he takes a permanent job at a huge company. Harry Shearer plays an office orientation leader.
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
HEARTS IN ATLANTIS PG-13. Based on a Stephen King novella, this blend of Stand By Me's golden-hued boyhood nostalgia and Dolores Claiborne's grimy working-class gothic is an often troubling, multifaceted coming-of-age that tells the story of the relationship between a reclusive psychic (Anthony Hopkins) and an 11-year-old kid (Anton Yelchin) during the summer of 1960.-- FF
IRON MONKEY (PG-13) A masked hero fights 19th century tyrrany in this Hong Kong film that's reminiscent of Zorro, Robin Hood, but mostly Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, as it has a similar setting and that film's high-flying action choreographer, Yuen Wo Ping, as director. Unlike recent Jackie Chan imports dubbed into English, this 1993 re-release is subtitled, although the gravity-defying fight scenes lose nothing in translation.--CURT HOLMAN
JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK (R) Kevin Smith provides a light-hearted coda to his "New Jersey" trilogy of films with this low-brow, cameo-heavy road movie that boasts some hilarious spoofs on classic and current films. The foul-mouthed Laurel & Hardy team of Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) offers a few gay jokes too many, but if the film isn't as good as Pee Wee's Big Adventure, it's at least better than Beavis & Butt-Head Do America. -- CH
THE JOURNEY 1/2 Documentarian and Atlanta resident Eric Saperston interviews corporate bigwigs and plain folk alike on a cross-country trek in a 1971 Volkswagen minibus. Interviewees like Henry Winkler can be fun subjects, but the more the film focuses on the filmmakers as they pitch and package their own project, the less idealistic it seems. -- CH
JOY RIDE (R) 1/2 Director John Dahl seemed to single-handedly resurrect film noir with his Nineties thrillers Red Rock West and The Last Seduction, but his latest flavorless chiller,about a deranged truck driver "Rusty Nail" on the tail of the two fresh-faced brothers who've humiliated him seems more inspired by the recent spate of ironic teen slashers.--FF
L.I.E. 1/2 (NC-17) The unlikely, unsettling friendship of a motherless teen (Paul Franklin Dano) and a sensitive pedophile (Brian Cox) gives this Sundance favorite its explosive premise. Although it provides a credible portrayal of troubled teens, and character actor Cox gives a superbly complex performance, the contrived plotting and "shocking" comic relief frequently undermine the delicately-rendered relationships at the heart of the story.--CH
THE MUSKETEER (PG-13). Crouching Tiger, Hidden D'Artagnan? Hong Kong fight choreographer Xin Xin Xiong gives this umpteenth adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' swashbuckling novel some extra kick, as Calvin Klein model Justin Chambers crosses swords with perennial no-good-nik Tim Roth.
O (R) An appropriately troubling Columbine-era spin on Othello, Tim Blake Nelson's adaptation places Shakespeare's tragic power struggle on the appropriately high-stakes battleground of the high school basketball court where a disgruntled brooder (Josh Hartnett) attempts to destroy the sterling rep of the team's star player (Mekhi Phifer).-- FF
THE OTHERS (PG-13). Spooky events begin occurring at an isolated mansion in 1945. Are the three mysterious new servants trying to drive single mother Nicole Kidman mad or is the house haunted? Chilean writer-director Alejandro Amenábar heeds the lessons of The Sixth Sense, offering a moody, well-constructed supernatural thriller that can be contrived and ponderous at times, but builds to some imaginative scares and a clever twist that invites you to reassess the film at the end. -- CH
RAT RACE 1/2 (PG-13). This throwback to slapstick chase comedies like It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World has some talented comic actors and a few great gags amid a lot of thud and blunder. Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr., Seth Green, Rowan Atkinson and others engage in a noisy, frantic contest to get $2 million, but the most inspired bits feature Jon Lovitz and John Cleese, the latter wearing hypnotically huge, white dentures. --CH
SERENDIPITY 1/2 (PG-13) Two New Yorkers (John Cusack and Pearl Harbor's Kate Beckinsale meet cute and leave their future up to fate. Several years later they're on the verge of marrying others, but they each decide to take one last crack at finding the love that got away. It's a shame the picture's very premise seems forced, because the performances are engaging (Eugene Levy steals it as a terse salesman) and the dialogue extremely sharp. -- MB
SORDID LIVES (Not rated) Del Shores, the writer of Daddy's Dyin'... Who's Got the Will? presents a campy, Texas-trailer-park soap opera with Beau Bridges, Bonnie Bedelia and Delta Burke -- who could have been cast for their first names alone. Featuring a Tammy Wynette transvestite and Olivia Newton-John as a honkytonk Greek chorus.
SUMMER CATCH (PG-13) Freddie Prinze Jr., that one-man movie-making machine for the teen set, is at it again with his latest vehicle to make young hearts flutter. He's a blue-collar boy trying to make it in the Big Leagues. The first townie to earn a slot in Cape Cod's elite Baseball League, he's finally got his chance to make it, but, as the press notes say, "The temptation to score off the field is almost as intense as the pressure to perform on the diamond." Beverly D'Angelo is the resident "Mrs. Robinson" and Jessica Biel ("7th Heaven") plays a sexy Vassar grad.
TRAINING DAY 1/2 (R ) As a rookie cop, normally wooden Ethan Hawke raises himself out of a career-long slumber to keep pace with the extraordinary Denzel Washington as a corrupt narcotics officer. The work by both actors keeps uswatching even after the movie surrounding them falls apart, and what started out as tantalizingly clouded eventually comes into dreary black and white focus, turning the film into a fairly routine (not to mention contrived) police shoot-'em-up.-- MB
TWO CAN PLAY THAT GAME (R) Keith Chestnut and Vivica A. Fox costar in this romantic comedy about a man who's caught stepping out on his woman and the wily ways she tries to win him back.
ZOOLANDER (PG-13) 1/2 Ben Stiller serves as actor, director, co-writer and co-producer for a surprisingly timid spoof with a handful of splendid gags. Stiller and Owen Wilson are perfectly cast as vapid male supermodels who become involved in assassination conspiracy, with cameos from everyone from Fabio to David Bowie. -MB
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