Short subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Opening Friday
DIE ANOTHER DAY (PG-13) Pierce Brosnan returns for his fourth outing as British superspy James Bond, matching wits with a bevy of ice-obsessed villains. Madonna sings for the opening credits, while Halle Berry follows her history-making Oscar for Monster's Ball by playing a Bond girl named Jinx.

EL CRIMEN DE PADRE AMARO (R) A hunky young priest (Y Tu Mama Tambien's Gael Garcia Bernal) moves to a corrupt town and finds his morals put to the test, not the least by a teenage parishoner (Ana Claudia Talancon). With everything from highway robberies to cats that eat communion wafers, the film provides some watchable melodrama. But neither director Carlos Carrera nor his main character show much interest in spirituality, making the film a heavy-handed critique of Catholicism, but with little soul-searching of its own.--Curt Holman

THE EMPEROR'S CLUB (PG-13) This prep school dramedy about a bookish teacher (Kevin Kline) and a spoiled student (Emile Hirsch) plagiarizes a little from Dead Poet's Society before developing some fresh ideas about second chances and how youthful experiences shape adult character. Subtract points for its sleepy tone and for putting contemporary slang in the mouths of students in the '70s. That's not how they did it old-school.--CH

FRIDAY AFTER NEXT (R) The Ice Cube series of comedies becomes a trilogy, with Mike Epps and John Witherspoon returning for this Christmas-themed installment.

Duly Noted
NO PLACE TO GO (2000) (NR) After the fall of the Berlin wall, an East German woman moves to Berlin and experiences first-hand the painful changes of a nation in transition. Nov. 20, 7 p.m., Goethe-Institut Atlanta, Colony Square, 1197 Peachtree St. $4 for non-members. 404-892-2388.

PROMISES (NR) A sad, revealing look at the seemingly insurmountable Israeli-Palestinian conflict as seen through the eyes of seven children ages 9-13 from both the Israeli and Palestinian side. This Academy Award-winning documentary shows how segregating Jew and Arab is the first step in creating lifelong enemies. Peachtree Film Society. Nov. 19, 7:30 p.m. Lefont Garden Hills Cinema.--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. Midnight Fri. at Lefont Plaza Theatre and Sat. at Marietta Star Cinema.

TWO TOWNS OF JASPER (NR) An all-black film crew interviewed black citizens while a white crew recorded the white ones in this documentary about Jasper, Texas, where James Byrd was fatally dragged in 1998. The interviewing device pays off, getting candid commentary on racial attitudes and inequities during the three separate murder trials of Byrd's accused killers. IMAGE Film & Video Center. Nov. 21, 7 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, 450 Auburn Ave. Free. 404-352-4225.

URBAN ORGANIC SHORT FILM SHOWCASE (NR) Benjamin Watkins' "Quest to Ref," Andy Watts' "Concrete," Jason Todd Ipson's "Peeping Tom" and Logan Coles' "Eye for an Eye" comprise the short works in this program by African-American filmmakers. Black Cinema Cafe. Nov. 25, 8:30 p.m. Atlanta History Center, 130 W. Paces Ferry Road. For a free invitation, go to

ABANDON (PG-13) Steve Gaghan, Oscar-winning director of Traffic, tries his hand at directing with this college thriller about a student (Katie Holmes) torn between her feelings for her mystery-man boyfriend (Charlie Hunnam) and an older detective (Benjamin Bratt).

AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER (PG-13) Having exhausted whatever satirical possibilities they had left in their first unnecessary sequel, Mike Myers and director Jay Roach simply making fun of themselves in this third rehash about the groovy secret agent. An inspired opening sequence is as hilarious as anything you've seen in a very long time, but from there it all goes right into the toilet -- literally. Beyonce Knowles' sexual potential as Foxxy Cleopatra is wasted in favor of estranged father-son hooey with Michael Caine.--Bert Osborne

THE BANGER SISTERS (R) Goldie Hawn is an ex-Sixties 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. --FF

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


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