BIG FAT LIAR (PG) "Malcolm in the Middle's" Frankie Muniz plays a high schooler who plots revenge against a sleazy movie producer (Paul Giamatti) who hijacks the boy's writing assignment as a plot for a feature film. Do not expect a subtle, soft-spoken comedy of manners.
COLLATERAL DAMAGE (R) Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a fireman who targets the Colombian terrorists who killed his family in Fugitive director Andrew Davis' action film, postponed from it's fall release following Sept. 11. Featuring John Turturro and John Leguizamo.
MONSTER'S BALL 1/2 (R) The relationship between a racist death row guard (Billy Bob Thornton) and a condemned prisoner's wife (a remarkable Halle Berry) provides the fulcrum for a stunning, unpredictable treatment of Southern race relations. Little-known director Marc Forster and screenwriters Milo Addica and Will Rokos capture the rural South while avoiding sugarcoating or stereotypes; take on challenging subjects without hysteria or contrivance; and get Oscar-worthy performances from some of the least likely of actors. --Curt Holman
ROLLERBALL (PG-13) Die Hard director John McTiernan offers an "extreme sports" updating of Norman Jewison's dark athletic satire, with Chris Klein, LL Cool J and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos as star players of the titular game, which resembles a demolition derby with people instead of cars.
STATE PROPERTY (R) Hip-hop artists Beanie Sigel and Jay-Z star in this street-level crime tale about the rise and fall of Philadelphia gangsters with names like Beans, Baby Boy and Blizz.
STORYTELLING (R) Director Todd Solondz (Welcome to the Dollhouse, Happiness) is still beating a dead horse in showing suburbia as the consummate intellectual wasteland, but he manages to at least offer some shifting plot twists, interesting characters and a self-damning message this go around. Divided into two separate stories about a "truth" open to interpretation, the film skewers political correctness in its first half and heartless documentary filmmakers in the second. --Felicia Feaster
THE CRIME OF MONSIEUR LANGE (NR) Jean Renoir (son of the great painter) explores his social realist concerns through this dark comedy about a group of workers who take over a modest publishing house in the absence of their dishonest boss. Presented in coordination with the exhibit A Passion For Renoir: Five Great Paintings from the Clark Art Institute. Films at the High, Feb. 9 at 8 p.m., Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center. $5.
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 a memorable and feverish vision of the London slums and the savage killings as the stuff of hell itself. GSU's cinefest, Feb. 8-14. --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 type new to Hollywood trying to help a amnesiac brunette, with silly subplots that recall the increasingly absurdist dissolution of Lynch's television show "Twin Peaks." GSU's cinefest, Feb. 8-14. --FF
HAROLD & MAUDE 1/2 (PG) The Graduate gets all the acclaim, but I prefer the other romantic, cross-generational satire about disaffected youth -- certainly I'd rather hear the Cat Stevens songs over the Simon & Garfunkel. A suicide-obsessed rich teen (Bud Cort) falls for an elderly free spirit (Ruth Gordon) in Hal Ashby's quintessential cult comedy. GSU's cinefest, Feb. 8-9, midnight. --CH
HEIMAT (PG-13) Nearly 16 hours long, this epic 1984 film chronicles life in a fictional German Village. The first part, "The Call of Far Away," spans from 1919 to 1928. Goethe-Institut Atlanta, Colony Square, 1197 Peachtree St., Feb. 13 at 7 p.m., $4 for non-members.
MR. SMITHEREEN GOES TO WASHINGTON (NR) Joshua Tunick's "rock-umentary" recounts the 2000 campaign of Smithereens frontman Pat DiNizio for New Jersey Senate on the Reform Party ticket. In a rough cut, the film pays too much attention to the candidate's music and not enough to his politics, but the last half-hour offers lively, humorous episodes of the singer/songwriter's penniless guerrilla campaign. Presented by IMAGE Film & Video Center. Feb. 13, 8 p.m., The Echo Lounge, 551 Flat Shoals Road, $5. --CH
NICO AND DANI (NR) Winner of the Youth Award of the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, this warm coming-of-age film shows what happens to two teenage best friends when one of the boys realizes he is gay.Films at the High, Spanish Films in the '90s. Feb. 8 at 8 p.m., Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center. $5.
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.
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