THE BANGER SISTERS (R) Goldie Hawn is an ex-'60s groupie, Susan Sarandon her fellow "banger sister" who has remade herself into a prim Phoenix wife and mother. When the two reunite, Hawn imparts some valuable lessons about "being true to yourself," which help Sarandon cast off the chains of suburban conformity. If trite messages about "freedom" and "individuality" coming from a prototypically brain-dead Hollywood film where the words "hand job" are used to garner laughs are your cup of tea -- drink up. All others have been warned.--Felicia Feaster
THE FOUR FEATHERS (PG-13) An Englishman (Heath Ledger) believed to be a coward must rescue his friends during an uprising in the Sudan. Elizabeth director Shekhar Kapur puts a post-Colonial spin on this oft-filmed action epic, best known for the sprawling 1939 version by Zoltan Korda. Kate Hudson co-stars.
IGBY GOES DOWN (R) That's all well and good for Igby, but how about the rest of us? Kieran Culkin of The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys plays a teen who flees his eccentric parents (Susan Sarandon and Bill Pullman) to find love and other new experiences in New York. The cast of this bitter comedy includes Jeff Goldblum, Claire Danes and Ryan Phillippe.
THE LAST KISS (R) This huge hit in Italy tracks the Peter Pan mishaps of a group of thirtysomething male friends as they try to recapture their fancy-free youth, abandoning babies and devoted girlfriends in the process. The film initially promises some misanthropic, screwball hybrid of Neil LaBute and American Pie, but director Gabriele Muccino soon reveals he has more complex matters on his mind in this analysis of a selfish, can't-see-the-good-in-front-of-their-eyes generation of men. At Lefont Plaza Theatre.--FF
TRAPPED (R) Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend play yuppies drawn into one of those deadly games of cat and mouse when a pair of vicious kidnappers (Kevin Bacon and Courtney Love) abduct their daughter (I Am Sam Oscar nominee Dakota Fanning).
BLACK CINEMA CAFE: Black Cinema Cafe kicks off its third season with a sneak preview of Conviction, a Showtime Networks Presentation about an ex gangbanger from South Philly who transforms in prison to a crusader for non-violence. Stars Omar Epps, Dana Delany and Charles S. Dutton. Sept. 23 at 8:30 p.m. Preceded by a reception at 7 p.m. Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. Reservations required. Email Atlanta@blackcinemacafe.com.
DJOMEH (NR) A beautiful, heartbreaking film about the existential homesickness of a lonely, sweet-natured Afghan man working at a rural Iranian dairy. This poignant tale of the ultimate outsider in a society with little room for difference boasts indelible performances and a haunting, hard-to-shake aura of sadness. Films at the High. Iranian Film Today. Sept. 21 at 8 p.m., Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center. --FF
THE HIDDEN HALF (NR) A devoted, chaste middle-class wife informs her husband of her rebellious past as a Marxist student activist and love object to an older intellectual in this sudsy but important melodrama about the hidden lives of Iranian women. Films at the High. Iranian Film Today. Sept. 20, 8 p.m., Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center. --FF
MR. BLANDING BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE (1948) (NR) Cary Grant stars as a city slicker who faces multiple mishaps trying to build a country home. With Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas. Communal Classics. Sept. 23 at 8:30 p.m., Commune, 1198 Howell Mill Road. Free. 404-609-5000..
OUT IN THE COLD (NR) IMAGE Film and Video Center presents the winning documentary of the 2002 New York Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, which explores the hidden world of homeless gay and lesbian runaways. The technique suggests "TV magazine" journalism, but the individual stories have power. Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site Screening Room, 450 Auburn Ave. Free. 404-352-4225.--Curt Holman
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. Midnight Fri. at Lefont Plaza Theatre and Sat. at Marietta Star Cinema.
THAT WAS THE GDR (1993) (NR) "Shield and Sword," the conclusion of this two-part documentary, examines the spying and punishments of "the Stasi," the secret police of the former East Germany. Sept. 18 at 7 p.m., Goethe-Institut Atlanta, Colony Square. $4. 404-892-2388.
TOKYO STORY (1955) (NR) Many films are "widely regarded" as classics; but few take the cake like this one. An elderly Japanese couple find themselves rattling, unwanted, around the busy grown-up lives of their children, ultimately finding that only their widowed daughter-in-law still has the capacity to care. An epic of understatement, a towering monument to mundane wonders, Ozu's pitch-perfect masterpiece is as powerfully moving today as it was in 1953. Japanese Film Festival. Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. 205 White Hall, Emory University. 404-727-6761.--Eddy Von Mueller
BARBERSHOP (PG-13) Ice Cube goes for a day-in-the-life-of-the-'hood vibe comparable to his trilogy of Friday films, but this modest comedy centered around a Chicago hair-cuttery feels trimmed of laughs. The labored slapstick with two accident-prone ATM thieves and the squabbles between the barbers are about as thin as a comb-over. As the oldest and most outspoken barber, Cedric the Entertainer makes a lonely effort to give the film some old-school personality.--CH
BLOOD WORK (R) For a good while, Blood Work looks like Clint Eastwood's best picture in years, with the star-director-producer playing a former FBI agent who, after getting a heart transplant, seeks to solve the murder of the person whose ticker he received. Watching an undying screen icon like Eastwood acknowledge his own mortality adds a resonance to this picture, but heading into the final turn, the movie turns preposterous, culminating in a routine climax that goes on forever.--Matt Brunson
BLUE CRUSH PG-13. Director John Stockwell (crazy/beautiful) weaves what could have been lightweight teen fodder into gold yet again in this tremendously entertaining film about three surfer girlfriends whose ostensible goal is to have Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) win the Pipe Masters surf competition. But the film manages to squeeze in enough of a message about the class divide on Oahu, female friendship and heroism to make this a tale of girl adventurism and independence for the ages.--FF
CITY BY THE SEA (PG-13) Coincidences and emotional baggage are piled on to predictably numbing effect in director Michael Caton-Jones' workmanlike tale of crime, urban decay and familial dysfunction. Robert De Niro stars as a Manhattan cop who moved away from the now-deteriorating community of Long Beach when his marriage went bad. Many years later, De Niro's character is emotionally distant to his current girlfriend (Frances McDormand) while investigating a murder in which the primary suspect is his estranged, junkie son (James Franco) .--Lance Goldenberg
FEAR.COM (R) Stephen Dorff plays a detective investigating a web site linked to several deaths. The cast includes such quirky character actors as Udo Kier and Jeffrey Combs.
THE GOOD GIRL (R) For their follow-up to Chuck and Buck, director Miguel Arteta and writer/actor Mike White offer an underwritten, white-trash version of Madame Bovary. Jennifer Aniston plays a small-town department store employee torn between fidelity to her pothead husband (John C. Reilly) and passion with a brooding younger man (Jake Gyllenhaal). Instead of finding pathos in its roles' ignorance, the film merely condescends to them, and Aniston never conveys the anguish and desperation as the character of the sarcastic title.--CH
IMAX Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West (NR) Jeff Bridges narrates this sweeping documentary that traces the famed explorers' 8,000-mile trek across America. Sept. 16-March 14. Australia: Land Beyond Time (NR) Check out the kangaroos, koalas and other denizens of Down Under in this travelogue of the world's biggest island. Through Oct. 31. Cirque du Soleil (NR) See dizzying acrobatics in the IMAX film of the renowned French circus. Fridays Through Sept. 29. Fernbank Museum of Natural History IMAX Theater, 767 Clifton Road.
LOVELY & AMAZING (R) An acutely observed alterna-melodrama about three Los Angeles sisters and their equally neurotic mother, indie director Nicole Holofcener's follow-up to Walking and Talking observes her troubled, surly, sad characters with a degree of wit and insight that makes them likable and real. --FF
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING (PG) While not as accomplished as Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding,- this is nevertheless a gratifying romantic comedy that gently tweaks stereotypes even as its characters wallow in them. Adapted by Nia Vardalos from her own one-woman show, the film centers on the plight of a 30-year-old lonelyheart (Vardalos) who risks the wrath of her family when she falls for a non-Greek (John Corbett).--MB
ONE HOUR PHOTO (R) Former music video director wunderkind Mark Romanek upends the usual serial killer thriller plot with a disturbing investigation into the ennui of modern life as seen through the eyes of an anonymous megastore photo developer (Robin Williams) who nurtures an unhealthy obsession with the deliriously happy photos he develops for one all-American family. --FF
POSSESSION (PG-13) A pair of young English professors (Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart) unearth a secret affair between two famed Victorian poets (Jeremy Northam and Jennifer Ehle) in caustic director Neil LaBute's attempted change of pace. Whenever he strays from the film's literary mystery, he gets bogged down in gratuitous American-British put-downs and facile insights into the human heart, with one plot point hinging on whether Paltrow will literally let her hair down.--CH
READ MY LIPS (NR) An angry, hearing-impaired office worker (the seething, sensual Emmanuelle Devos) forms a mutually beneficial relationship with a well-meaning ex-con (Vincent Cassel) in this gripping, surprising French drama. The first half is a barbed, moody examination of corporate culture that gradually gives way to a more conventional crime story, but the film has consistent suspense, humor and insight into the isolation of its lead characters. At Tara Cinema.--CH
ROAD TO PERDITION (R) Tom Hanks takes up the tommy-gun as a murderous mob enforcer who must battle his own organization (led by Paul Newman) to protect his innocent son (Tyler Hoechlin). Hanks' internal conflicts come into increasingly sharp focus as the film goes on, while Jude Law's gleeful hit-man gives the film the right measure of berserk spontaneity. A precisely composed yet deeply felt tale of fathers and sons, Sam Mendes' follow-up to American Beauty comes on like gangbusters.--CH
SIGNS (PG-13) Ominous crop circles presage otherworldly events that befall a widowed man of the cloth (Mel Gibson) and his grieving family. Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan lays on the faith-based symbolism with a heavy hand, and his characters never seem as stilted or strange as when they're meant to be "normal." But his powers with Hitchcock-esque suspense are undiminished as he uses misdirection and half-glimpsed threats to build tension to nearly unbearable levels.--CH
SIMONE (PG-13) A dud, and derivative to boot. Gattaca screenwriter Andrew Niccol's directorial debut clearly hopes to repeat the success of Peter Weir's haunting commentary on modern fraudulence in The Truman Show. But this muddled film about a computer-generated super-starlet named Simone never works as either Hollywood satire or commentary on America's taste for simulacrum.--FF
STEALING HARVARD (PG-13) Jason Lee of Almost Famous plays a dad who turns to a life of crime to pay for his daughter's tuition to Harvard. The comedy features such small-screen stars as Tom Green, Megan Mullally and John C. McGinley and was directed by Bruce McCullough of "The Kids in the Hall."
THE SUM OF ALL FEARS (PG-13) A well-crafted throwback to the thrillers of Cold War era, this Tom Clancy adaptation brings back our fears of potential nuclear conflict. At first Ben Affleck seems over his head as CIA analyst Jack Ryan (a role played by Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford), but he ingratiates himself while trying to unravel a terrorist conspiracy against America. The transcontinental plotting can be murky, but the third act features spectacular disasters and the chilling sensation of events spinning out of control.--CH
24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE (R) TV personality/music entrepreneur Andy Wilson (Steve Coogan) is our amusingly self-important eyewitness and guide to the Manchester music scene, from an ill-attended Sex Pistols gig to the flowering of rave culture. The documentary-style elements are first-rate, but the film is more interested in the swirl of events than individual relationships, letting you tap your foot to the beat without providing any emotional toe-holds. If you're already a fan of Joy Division and Happy Mondays, you'll appreciate it all the more. --CH
UNDISPUTED (R) Director Walter Hill referees this match-up of the Boxing and Prison genres, as a jailhouse boxer (Wesley Snipes) gets a bout with a world champion (Ving Rhames) convicted of tape a la Mike Tyson. With Rhames' charisma, a lively pace yet not as much punch as an average "Oz" episode, Undisputed floats like a butterfly, and stings sort of like a butterfly, too. --CH
XXX (PG-13) Vin Diesel -- the Dolph Lundgren of the new millennium - plays an extreme-sports jock and reluctant secret agent in this stunt-driven, pllot-deprived action movie from the hack who "wrote" Airheads and The Jerky Boys. There are lots of super-duper spy gadgets and pyrotechnic displays, some nice European scenery and one moderately exciting sequence involving an avalanche. Otherwise, there's more character development and insightful commentary on ESPN's coverage of the X Games.--BO
In the latest 'Emory Looks at Hollywood' episode, Judith Evans Grubbs, Emory Professor of Roman…
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