40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS (R) For a guy to go celibate for 40 days doesn't strike me as all that noteworthy -- but then, I don't look like Pearl Harbor hunk Josh Harnett, who spends the film wrestling with temptation for comic effect. From Michael Lehmann, whose directorial career ranges from Heathers to My Giant.
KANDAHAR (Unrated) Made before Sept. 11, this film by Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf about a Western woman traveling to Afghanistan has now become an art-house hit. Capturing the multitude of Afghanistan's horrors, from countless citizens who have lost their legs to landmines, to little girls instructed on how to retain hope in a country that denies their existence, the film is an imperfect but inescapably moving document of a region transformed into nightmare. --Felicia Feaster
MEAN MACHINE (R) Guy Ritchie co-produces this British remake of Burt Reynolds' The Longest Yard, with soccer bad boy-turned-actor Vinnie Jones (Snatch) playing a soccer star sent to prison, who leads a ragtag group of prisoners in a match against the guards.
THE SON'S ROOM (R) A low-key, thoughtful film about how a family copes with the death of a beloved son, Nanni Moretti's drama is the Italian In the Bedroom without the New Yorker set dressing. A winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, this meditation on grief will hopefully turn the exported Italian cinema away from its recent emphasis on sugary sex comedies and trite melodramas and toward a new, intelligent brand of filmmaking. --FF
WE WERE SOLDIERS (R) Mel Gibson re-teams with his Braveheart writer Randall Wallace, who directs this Vietnam war drama that's based on a real attack and, playing against type for the genre, seems full of pro-soldier patriotism. Featuring Madeline Stowe, Sam Elliott and Greg Kinnear as an officer nicknamed "Snakeshit." No, really.
THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT 1/2 (NR) If you're adverse to the movies of David Lynch, don't even bother with this berserk, black-and-white, sci-fi cowboy musical. But fans of cinematic psychosis will groove to the far-out adventures of a deadpan space ranger, played by Cory McAbee, who also directs, writes and serves as frontman for The Billy Nayer Show, which provides lively, grungy bar-band tunes. Instead of building to a meaningful ending, the haunting images and one-of-a-kind goofiness leave the film lost in space. GSU's cinefest, Feb. 22-28.--Curt Holman
HEIMAT (PG-13) Nearly 16 hours long, this epic 1984 film chronicles life in a fictional German village over eight decades and 11 evenings. "The Home Front" and "Soldiers and Love" take the village to near the end of WWII, which has left the country in turmoil. Goethe Institut Atlanta, Colony Square, 1197 Peachtree St., Feb. 27 at 7 p.m., $4 for non-members.
LA CIENAGA 1/2 (R) A wonderfully rank, evocative first film from Argentinean director Lucrecia Martel, drawn from her own family history, this tale of an incestuous, feuding, violent family headed by a drunkard matriarch is a brutal indictment of middle-class sloth. Though some have criticized its formless shambling, the powerful clammy ambiance Martel creates makes La Cienaga more than worthwhile. High Museum Recent Releases. March 2 & 9 at 8 p.m. Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center. $5.--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.
SASAME YUKI (NR) A three-part series of Japanese literature on film continues with Kon Ichikawa's 1983 adaptation of Junichiro Tanizaki's novel about four upper class Osaka sisters just before World War II, with a plot likened to Jane Austen. Japanese Film Festival, Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m., Room 205, White Hall, Emory University. Free.
SWEAT OF THE NIGHTINGALES (NR) Set in Madrid, writer-director Juan Manuel Cotelo's film follows a Romanian cellist who leaves his wife and child in the old country to further his career in Spain, where he befriends a young woman and a street ventriloquist. Spanish Films in the 1990s. March 1 at 8 p.m. Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center. --FF
VIDEO/FILM NIGHT (NR) The last Wednesday of each month Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery offers an evening of local video and independent film artists, with February's program curated by Railroad Earth exploring such concepts as digital vs. analog content and editing. Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m., 290 Martin Luther King Drive at Hill Street. Free. 404-522-0655.
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