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Short subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics


Opening Friday
CQ (R) Roman Coppola -- son of Francis Ford -- writes and directs this tale of a 1960s filmmaker (Jeremy Davies) in Paris trying to complete his stylish sci-fi film. The cast includes Gerard Depardieu, Sofia Coppola and cousin Jason Schwatzman. At Lefont Plaza.

THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS *** (R) In a small Southern town in the 1970s, a pair of Catholic schoolboys (Kieran Culkin and Emile Hirsch) get hard lessons in sex and responsibility. Jodie Foster plays their tyrannical teacher, a one-legged nun who provides the villain for their elaborate comic book fantasies, rendered in fittingly over-the-top animation. But even as the "real world" story goes to extremes, we invest little emotion in the teen heroes, despite their refreshing lack of movie glamour. At Tara Cinema.--Curt Holman

DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS *** (PG-13) This visceral, slickly assembled documentary celebrates the vertically inclined '70s founders of skateboarding's second wave, which jettisoned skate culture into the extreme stratosphere it occupies today. With its relentless classic-rock soundtrack, breakneck pacing and revealing interviews, the film hones in on the short-lived Zephyr Skating Team, a hard-scrabble bunch assembled by three surf shop owners in a decaying California beach hamlet called Dogtown. At Tara Cinema.--Hobart Rowland

HEY ARNOLD! THE MOVIE (PG) The flat-headed hero of the Nickelodeon cartoon series takes the big screen to fight a real estate developer who wants to build a shopping mall on Arnold's neighborhood. Sounds like a hard sell in Atlanta. Wide release.

MR. DEEDS (PG-13) Frank Capra's 1936 classic Mr. Deeds Goes to Town gets remade (a more genteel term for "desecrated") with Adam Sandler taking Gary Cooper role of a small-town poet who inherits a zillion dollars. But can he hang onto his money with the sticky-fingered Winona Ryder on hand? Wide release.


Duly Noted
ALI *** (PG-13) Director Michael Mann focuses on a single, tumultuous decade in the life of Muhammad Ali, from his championship bout against Sonny Liston to "the Rumble in the Jungle." A bulked-up Will Smith captures Ali's trash-talking and his moments of silent resolve, but neither Smith nor Mann can keep the film's last hour from losing dramatic interest, meticulously re-creating a fight whose outcome we already know. Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival. July 1 at 8 p.m. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. $6.50.--CH

THE LADY EVE ***** (1941) (NR) Barbara Stanwyck's sultry card-sharp targets Henry Fonda's naive, snake-obsessed millionaire, then falls in love with him. Only a weak ending keeps this funny and surprisingly sexy Preston Sturges film from being one of the greatest screwball comedies. American Comedy Classics. June 28 at 8 p.m. Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center. $5.--CH

LO FI LANDSCAPES: FILMS BY BILL BROWN AND THOMAS COMERFORD **** (NR) There are indies, and then there are indies, and the Lo Fi guys are definitely the latter. Both instructors at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Bill Brown and Thomas Comerford maximize the potential of film form to convey complex ideas and emotion. In their short films on the Lo Fi bill, both directors look at America with a nostalgic vision, mourning the deserted Midwestern towns and train yards of the past in fragile, poetic detail and mesmerizing visuals. June 28 at 9 p.m. at Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery, 290 MLK Drive. $3 donation requested. 404-522-0655.--Felicia Feaster

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) (R) The cult classic of cult classics, the musical 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 the Marietta Star Cinema, 1355 Roswell Road, Marietta.

VIVA LAS VEGAS (1964) (NR) Elvis Presley's racing enthusiast meets his match with Ann-Margret's dance instructor in this quintessential example of "The King's" Hollywood output. Screen on the Green. July 2 at sundown. Piedmont Park ball fields at 12th and 14th streets. Free.


Continuing
ABOUT A BOY *** (PG-13) The adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel lacks the character insight and pop savvy of the film of Hornby's High Fidelity, but still charms. The title refers to both thirtysomething Will (Hugh Grant) and 12 year-old Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), whose unlikely friendship gives both lessons in how to grow up. At times manipulative and overly jokey, it makes a few unconventional twists, including its pragmatic theme of the virtue of conformity. --CH

BAD COMPANY ** (PG-13) Taking an explosive comic actor like Chris Rock sticking him in an action film this dull is like buying a ridiculously expensive sports car and solely using it to drive to the grocery store down the block. This studio-generated claptrap features a street-smart small-timer (Rock) who poses as his own twin brother, a murdered CIA agent tracking (what else?) a nuclear weapon making the rounds on the international black market. Anthony Hopkins co-stars. -- Matt Brunson

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