Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Opening Friday
AGENT CODY BANKS (PG-13) Like Spy Kids hitting puberty, this action comedy stars "Malcolm in the Middle's" Frankie Muniz as a teen superagent trained for every conceivable mission -- except talking to girls. With Hilary Duff and Angie Harmon.

LE CERCLE ROUGE (1970) (NR) A masterpiece from hard-boiled film stylist Jean-Pierre Melville, this gangster classic has never been seen in its complete form in America. Alain Delon is a recently sprung criminal who teams up with a former police sharpshooter for a spectacular jewel heist. Trouble is, from the onset of Melville's heavy-with-despair, existential crime thriller, one senses things won't turn out well. A film as visually sensational as it is psychologically unshakable.--Felicia Feaster

DAUGHTER FROM DANANG (NR) Winner of the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, this wrenching reunion of a Vietnamese woman and her daughter, given up to American adoption in 1975's "Operation Babylift," illustrates the profound gaps between East and West. At Marietta Star Cinemas.--FF

THE HUNTED (PG-13) William Friedkin directs this thriller about a rogue commando (Benecio Del Toro) tracked by a grizzled veteran (Tommy Lee Jones). Imagine First Blood by way of The Fugitive.

OPEN HEARTS (R) In this sudsy Danish melodrama filmed under the Dogme 95 restrictions on cinematic "artifice," a young woman (lovely Sonja Richter) sees her boyfriend run down in a car accident, and has an affair with the driver's husband (brooding Mads Mikkelsen). Director Susanne Bier has a surer hand at hinting at the lovers' mixed motivations than she does with the most overtly emotional scenes, but the nervy, jittery visual style keeps the action from feeling too conventional. --CH

WILLARD (PG-13) Rats! In a textbook example of casting to type, Crispin Glover stars in this remake of the scary 1971 sleeper about a put-upon young man and the horde of rodents that do his bidding.

Duly Noted
ARARAT (R) Canadian-Armenian director Atom Egoyan's film about the mass genocide of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turkish army during World War I is a demanding, complex story that interweaves historical re-enactments of those events with the complicated relationship between an Armenian mother (Arsinee Khanjian) and her 18-year-old son (David Alpay) living in modern Canada and how their lives are haunted by that forgotten event. As intellectually rich as the best Egoyan films, Ararat unfurls many profound musings on family, the subjective, personal dimension to history and the value of artworks where historical records fail. Peachtree Film Society, March 18, 7:30 p.m. Lefont Garden Hills Cinema. $7.50 ($6.50 for PFS members). 770-729-8487. -- FF

MOLTKE (1988) (NR) A German inspector suspects the title character, a bank robber he once put behind bars, as being the perpetrator of a grisly murder with a personal touch. Germany in the Crosshairs: German Detective Thrillers on TV. March 12, 7 p.m. Goethe Institut Inter Nationes, 1197 Peachtree St., Colony Square. $4. 404-892-2388.

MOULIN ROUGE (1928) (NR) Don't get-your ya-ya's out: This is not the Baz Luhrmann musical but E.A. DuPont's silent romantic triangle about a Moulin Rouge showgirl, her daughter, and the man they both love. Keyboardist Don Saliers provides live musical accompaniment. Silent Film Society of Atlanta, March 14, 8 p.m. Eyedrum, 290 MLK Drive, Suite 8. $5. 404-522-0655.

PEPE LE MOKO (1937) (NR) A sublimely moody, often surreal classic recently restored by Rialto Pictures, this hybrid thriller/fantasy stars an elegant, incomparably cool Jean Gabin as a French gangster hiding out from the police in the Casbah, the Arab district of Algiers. In one of the most erotic exchanges in cinema, Pepe finds his desire for Paris, escape and sexual fulfillment embodied in a beautiful French tourist (Mireille Balin) slumming in the Casbah who tempts Pepe dangerously beyond its borders. Films at the High. French Film: Yesterday and Today, March 15, 8 p.m., Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Auditorium. $5. 404-733-4570.

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.

LOS TRABAJADORES (NR) This documentary focuses on immigrant laborers in Austin, Texas, to explore the contradictions of America's dependence on and discrimination against workers from other countries. March 17, 6:30 p.m., Latin American Association, 2750 Buford Highway. Free. 404-638-1800.--FF

ABOUT SCHMIDT (R) Jack Nicholson does an about-face in his performance as a smaller-than-life midwestern insurance executive facing multiple crises -- mostly funny ones -- upon retirement. Election director Alexander Payne's critique of American mediocrity can feel snnide and elitist, but also has considerable comic invention.--CH


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