OUT COLD (PG-13) No one I recognize is in the commercials, but supposedly Lee "The Six Million Dollar Man" Majors is on hand for this slovenly teen comedy about snowboarding and other "extreme" pastimes.
SPY GAME (R) Having directed Brad Pitt in The River Runs Through It, Robert Redford now acts alongside him as a spymaster showing the ropes to Pitt's talented newcomer. Reportedly about a third of the film takes place in the Middle East, which might hurt its box office prospects, but expect director Tony Scott to give it plenty of flash.
SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK 1/2 (R) Ed Burns' stab at grown-up filmmaking is Jiffy Pop cinema: Just add heat to an assortment of tried and true conventions, most of them cribbed from the self-derivative Woody Allen. Burns uses a faux-documentary form to chart the romantic ups and downs of a variety of Manhattanites who make you care less about their bedroom antics. If you're that desperate for pretentious sex play, just rent Husbands and Wives again. --FELICIA FEASTER
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.GSU's cinefest, Nov. 23-29.--FF
KOMIKER The title translates as "comedian," and here the manager of a nursing home (Serge Gratzer) embezzles money to launch the career of an impoverished funnyman (Roni Beck), only to fall under police suspicion. Directed by Markus Imboden.Films of Switzerland, Geothe-Institut Atlanta, 1197 Peachtree St., Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m., $4 for non-members.
MIDDLE EASTERN WOMEN: A FILM FESTIVAL Georgia State University, Agnes Scott College and Spellman College come together Nov. 26-29 to present 19 films and videos about the state of women in the Middle East. The 26th includes Women of the Arab World, Under One Sky and A Veiled Revolution from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 2-5 p.m. at the GSU Student Center. A highlight is Beneath the Veil (8 p.m. Nov. 27 at the Agnes Scott College Dining Hall), this year's impeccably-timed made-for broadcast documentary about the plight of women in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. All showings are free and open to the public. Call 404-651-4633 for information.
PLANET OF THE APES 1/2 (PG-13). The best quality of Tim Burton's "revisit" to the classic 1968 film are the apes themselves, which have expressive, realistic make-up, cleverly conceived body language and fine representations from Tim Roth and Helena Bonham Carter. But though Burton reaches for an epic scope, the storytelling feels rushed and sloppy, with its anti-racism message presented with the heaviest possible hand.GSU's cinefest, Nov. 23-29.--CH
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.
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.GSU's cinefest, Nov. 16-22. -- FF
ADVENTURES OF FELIX (PG-13) An unemployed, HIV-positive but happy-go-lucky young Frenchman hitchhikes from Normandy to Marseilles, assembling a surrogate family of strangers en route. Drinking in sights from the English Channel to the Mediterrenean, the film offers gorgeous vistas worthy of a dozen travelogues, while giving the charismatic title character enough frailties and dimensions to make him more than a cheerful bon vivant. --CH
AMELIE (R) A popular and critical hit in France, this not-to-be-missed sweet-as-pie, stylistic knockout is a dazzling live-action cartoon for grown-ups. The ultra-cute Audrey Tautou is a do-gooding sprite living in a magical Montmartre who dedicates herself to helping others. From Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the director of The City of Lost Children and Delicatessean. -- FF
BANDITS (PG-13) Director Barry Levinson's latest tries hard to 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.--MATT BRUNSON
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.
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.
DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE 1/2 (PG-13). Schematically so similar to thrillers like Unlawful Entry that the only thing missing is the family golden retriever who saves the hero from the bad guy at the last minute. John Travolta is appealing as a divorced dad who believes his son Matt O'Leary's fears that his new stepdad (Vince Vaughn) is up to no good. But the climax is simply ludicrous, and at 88 minutes, the film feels like it was deemed by the studio to be such a lost cause, it was butchered in the editing room and dumped into the marketplace to fend for itself.-- MB
FOCUS (PG-13) William H. Macy and Laura Dern play a Gentile couple who face anti-Semitism when he buys a pair of glasses that make him "look Jewish" in this adaptation of playwright Arthur Miller's 1945 novel, directed by acclaimed photographer Neal Slavin.
FROM HELL (R) Menace II Society's Hughes Brothers have mixed success adapting Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's epic comic book examination of the Ripper murders. Johnny Depp and Heather Graham can't shake their movie-star glamour as an opium-addict police inspector and a streetwalker targeted for murder, but the directors provide an unnervingly memorable and feverish vision of the London slums and the savage killings as the stuff of hell itself. --CH
GRATEFUL DAWG 1/2 (PG-13) This hodgepodge of home movies and interviews patched together by Gillian Grisman is an 81-minute tribute to Jerry Garcia's friendship and collaboration with the filmmaker's dad, renowned mandolin player David Grisman. The pair met in 1964 at a Bill Monroe concert and collaborated off and on for years on a variety of projects until Garcia's death in 1995, but the film offers little insight into the secret behind Garcia's mystique. Instead, there are a lot of extraneous interviews, including one by Grisman's son who, judging from his age in the film, must have been about 5 when Garcia died. Deadheads and Grisman fans will be charmed, but beyond that, the film's appeal will be limited. --SUZANNE VAN ATTEN
HEIST (R) David Mamet wrote and directed this disappointing caper yarn, the cast of which includes the Get Shorty trio of Gene Hackman, Delroy Lindo and Danny DeVito. But for a movie that's obsessed with double-crosses, triple-crosses and even a couple of right-crosses, this is as easy to patch together as a 6-piece puzzle. Even without having read the script, we know as much as the actors do about how this yarn about a seasoned thief (Hackman) pulling off One Last Job will unfold. --MB
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE (PG). The big screen version of J.K. Rowling's first hit Harry Potter book mostly enchants. Following the title character (Daniel Radcliffe) in his first year at a Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the film has so many clever details and visual delights that they dwarf the supposed plot about sinister goings-on surrounding the titular stone. John Williams overdoes the "magical" music and Radcliffe underplays Harry's emotions, but the film has more than enough charms to make the already-planned sequels feel welcome. --CH
IMAX 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. Majestic White Horses (NR) The pomp, history and legend of the famous Lipizzan horses of Austria and the Spanish Riding School of Vienna gets the really big screen treatment. Opening Nov. 23 at Fernbank Museum, 767 Clifton Road. Michael Jordan to the Max (NR) A look at Air Jordan's second (to date) "farewell" basketball season in 1997-98. Nov. 23 only. Ocean Oasis (NR) Though indifferently structured, this portrait of the ecology of Baja California and the Sea of Cortez captures undersea life as never before and surfaces briefly to check out the desert and the mountains. With incredible cinematography, even by Imax standards, the images are so sharp you can look tiny fish in the eye and read personalities into their facial expressions.Through Jan. 1, 2002. Fernbank Museum of Natural History IMAX Theater. -- STEVE WARREN
K-PAX (R) Offensively sanctimonious, flagrantly derivative and just plain dull (don't see K-PAX without NO-DOZ), this insufferable picture casts Kevin Spacey as a mental patient who thinks he's a space alien, with Jeff Bridges as his psychiatrist (in a cardboard role that's beneath him). The first half of the film plays like Patch Adams, while the second is more like a nightmare version of an actor's theater workshop. Spacey's performance is built on nothing but putrid platitudes and affected mannerisms -- frankly, I didn't think it was possible for him to ever be this bad. -- MB
LIFE AS A HOUSE (R) A yuppie tearjerker about the healing power of good real estate. Kevin Kline stars as a father dying of cancer who wants to build his dream house before he goes, thus erasing his father's negative influence (and dilapidated wooden shack) and creating something beautiful and new to heal his damaged relationship with his rebellious, drug-addicted teenage son. Life often feels personal for Winkler, and it may strike a chord for viewers, too, but there is something too saccharine and easy in this Hollywood treatment of domestic crisis. --FF
THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE (R). Film noir has been good to Coen Brothers, although one hopes that their latest, an homage to the work of James M. Cain, gets it out of their system so they can explore other cinematic modes. Billy Bob Thornton effectively plays a taciturn barber whose wife (Fargo's Frances McDormand) may be having an affair with her boss (James Gandolfini), but the barber's blackmail scheme spins out of control. It may have less humor than any Coen Brothers film, but it takes a hypnotic, clinical look at moral decay, captured in sleek black-and-white. --CH
MONSTERS INC. (G). Remember the Warner Bros. cartoons in which the coyote and sheepdog would carry lunchpails and punch time clocks? Pixar's latest feat of computer animation employs a similar blue-collar incongruity, depicting the endearing monsters who scare children, and the chaos that erupts when a human kid gets loose in their world. The script isn't as solid as the Toy Story movies', but the creepy-crawlies come in wildly imaginative shapes and hues, and the climactic chase is excitingly surreal. With the voices of John Goodman, Billy Crystal and Steve Buscemi.
MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL They're Knights of the Round Table. They dance whene'er they're able. They do routines and chorus scenes with footwork impecc-able. It's a busy life in Camelot. They sing from the diaphragm a lot. (This re-release boasts a whopping "24 seconds" of unseen footage.) Marietta Star Cinema. --CH
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." --FF
NOVOCAINE 1/2 (PG-13). Steve Martin plays a bland dentist drawn into a world of infidelity, drugs and murder in this darkly comic thriller. Though the film has an intriguing premise and one appreciates Martin's attempts to stretch, a la The Spanish Prisoner, here his cool detachment works against the audience's sympathies. Dialogue equating dental decay with moral rot sounds too neat, while the tooth-related twists that cap off the story are hard to swallow. --CH
ON THE LINE (PG) Who's your favorite member of N'Sync, Lance Bass or Joey Fantone? Figure it out during this date comedy about a single guy (Bass) trying to track down his dream gal (Emmanuelle Chiquri). If you prefer one of the other Syncers, that's just too damn bad.
THE ONE (PG-13). You might say this sci-fi kung fu flick is fueled by a twin Jet engine, as martial arts master Jet Li plays both a dimension-jumping, superpowered bad guy and the good guy from "our Earth" he's trying to kill. The stunts and special effects seem gleefully derivative of The Matrix and Terminator movies, suggesting this is a would-be summer blockbuster misplaced in November.
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
RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS (PG-13) Director Penny Marshall applies her ham-fisted techniques to this adaptation of Beverly Donofrio's autobiography, with Drew Barrymore playing Beverly, who becomes pregnant at 15 and finds her future instantly derailed. This isn't a bad movie, but it never fulfills its promise as either an inspirational human tale or a three-hanky weepie. It doesn't help that the film can't stay serious for more than two minutes at a time, with dramatic scenes eventually turning cute.-- MB
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
SHALLOW HAL (PG-13) A nerd (Jack Black) only interested in physical beauty is "de-hypnotized" to perceive a 300-lb woman as a svelte beauty (Gwyneth Paltrow in a convincing fat suit). Most of the fat jokes in the Farrelly Brothers' winning romantic comedy have been crammed into the trailer, allowing the rest of the movie to make its case as a sympathetic tale about getting past surface appearances. Black's performance is a delight, retaining his character's goofball persona while also showing us the blossoming adult underneath, but Paltrow's empathic contribution is also key.-- MB
13 GHOSTS (R) It's spelled "Thir13een Ghosts" in the ads, which may be the most memorable part of this flick about a haunted house made mostly of glass. From the makers of 1999's already-forgotten remake of The House on Haunted Hill, it features Tony Shalhoub, F. Murray Abraham, Matthew Lillard and Shannon Elizabeth.
WAKING LIFE (PG-13) Richard Linklater's meditation on the meaning of life and the nature of dreams figuratively retraces the structure of his film debut Slacker, randomly following a gabby bunch of characters. Then it literally retraces it, putting painterly animation over the images already filmed. Waking Life alternates between hauntingly surreal moments and trippy but at times tedious lectures on everything from reincarnation to quantum mechanics. A one-of-a-kind exploration of dream logic that fascinates slightly more often than it frustrates. --CH
THE WASH 1/2 (R). If you're not already a fan of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, you'll probably find their comedic effort a wash out. Friday scripter DJ Pooh wrote and directed this nearly plotless look at the tension between two friends when they both take jobs at the same scruffy L.A. car wash. A few laughs lurk in the margins -- Pooh giving himself the funniest role as a dimwitted kidnapper -- but the cast has a much better time than the audience ever will. Tommy Chong, Pauly Shore, Shaquille O'Neill and Eminem provide cameos. --CH
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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