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Short subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Opening Friday
DRUMLINE (PG-13) A brilliant but insolent drum prodigy (Nick Cannon) joins the marching band of fictitious "Atlanta A&T University" and learns that there's no I in team. Even skeptical audiences will gladly march to music and moves of the marching band's "drumline," while the script ably explores the tensions between showmanship and musical accomplishment. Only Cannon's shallow performance hits discordant notes. --Curt Holman

THE HOT CHICK (PG-13) A high school hottie (Anna Faris) wakes up to find herself trapped in the body of a 30-year-old man (Rob Schneider). If you've always wanted to see Schneider prancing like a schoolgirl, this is the film for you.

MAID IN MANHATTAN (PG-13) A maid (Jennifer Lopez) at a swank hotel pretends to be a wealthy guest to win the heart of a bachelor politician (Ralph Fiennes). Indie filmmaker Wayne Wang directs this romantic comedy, which looks like Pretty Woman without the whoring.

PERSONAL VELOCITY (R) Though writer/director (and daughter of Arthur) Rebecca Miller's film about three different women's lives -- in a nutshell, an abused wife, a preppy and a punk rocker -- can bear traces of the overly precious, purposeful ambiguity of the modern short story, it also benefits from the craftsmanship and subtleties more often seen in contemporary prose than in most movies. It is hard to think of a recent film with such challenging female characters engaged in such psychologically murky situations. At Lefont Garden Hills Cinema.--Felicia Feaster

STAR TREK NEMESIS (PG-13) Billed as "a generation's last mission," the starship Enterprise clashes with an evil band of Romulans led by a bald villain with a sinister resemblance to Capt. Picard (Patrick Stewart). Tradition holds that even-numbered "Star Trek" films are better than odd ones, which may bode well for this, the tenth.

TREMBLING BEFORE G-D (NR) Shot in six countries, this documentary explores the dilemma faced by Hasidic and Orthodox Jews who are gay or lesbian, and must reconcile their religious convictions with their sexual orientations. Interviewees include the world's first openly gay Orthodox rabbi and a gay, Hasidic married couple still in the closet. At Lefont Plaza Cinemas.

THE TRIALS OF HENRY KISSINGER (NR) Inspired by Christopher Hitchens' book of the same title, Eugene Jarecki's scorching documentary argues that the former Secretary of State should be considered a war criminal for his involvement with the Vietnam and Cambodian conflicts. At Marietta Star Cinemas.

Duly Noted
LOST SONS (1999) (NR) This documentary looks at the complex family ties between Hans Canje, one of the heads of East Germany's propaganda machine, and his son, Ingo Hasselbach, who became the leader of the country's Neo-Nazis. Dec. 11, 7 p.m., Goethe-Institut Atlanta, Colony Square, 1197 Peachtree St. $4 for non-members. 404-892-2388.

PARTNERS OF THE HEART (NR) Morgan Freeman narrates this documentary of how Vivien Thomas, a black carpenter's apprentice with a high school education but a genius for surgery, became a cardiac pioneer and teacher of heart surgeons at a time when he could not become one himself. Black Cinema Cafe. Dec. 16, 7 p.m. Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center. Free with invitation. Request one by emailing

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.

SADE (NR) If you saw Geoffrey Rush's Quills, you might want to check out this French take on the notorious writer the Marquis de Sade (Daniel Auteuil), who, while imprisoned, grooms a 16 year-old girl as a protege. French Film Festival. Dec. 11-12, 4:45 and 9:45 p.m. Lefont Garden Hills Cinema.--CH

SHORT-LIVED! A SHORTS SLAM IMAGE Film & Video Center presents a reprise of its "Gong Show"-inspired evening of short films, in which a panel of judges, egged on by the audience, dictates whether competing films will run to the end or will get "gonged" in progress. Awards will be given for the best and worst efforts of the evening. IMAGE Film & Video Center, Dec. 12 at 8 p.m., The Echo Lounge, 551 Flat Shoals Ave. $5 (free for IMAGE members). 404-352-4225.

THIRTEEN SPECIAL ANIMATED AND LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILMS (NR) This program includes hilarious live-action shorts like "George Lucas in Love" and "I Love My Cat," but the big guns are the five cartoons apiece by animators Bill Plympton and Don Hertzfeldt, who combine simple drawing styles with outlandishly twisted sensibilities. Hertzfeldt's Oscar nominee "Rejected" is one of the darkest and funniest cartoons you'll ever see. Peachtree Film Society. Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m. Lefont Garden Hills Cinema. $7.50 ($6.50 for society members).--CH

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