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Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Opening Wednesday
BULLETPROOF MONK (PG-13) Hong Kong action star Chow Yun-Fat plays the titular monk, who fights evil while training an unlikely successor (beetle-browed Seann William Scott of the American Pie movies).

CHASING PAPI (PG) A Latin lover who's been stringing along three women gets his comeuppance when they join forces to get even. Featuring Paul Rodriguez and D.L. Hughley.

A MIGHTY WIND (PG-13) Three soulful '60s folk acts gather for a reunion concert in New York City, with the attendant tensions and personal traumas in Christopher Guest's (Best in Show) latest mockumentary. The film is a study in very low-key comedy that offers a pitch-perfect rendition of folky social protest anthems, behavioral tics and dress codes, but which may be a little too under-the-cultural-radar for a large audience. --Felicia Feaster

Opening Friday
BETTER LUCK TOMORROW (R) A group of overachieving Asian-American teenagers deal with academic and extracurricular pressures by turning to petty crimes. For his directorial debut, Justin Lin doesn't let his stylistic flourishes distract from the film's original character portraits, although when the would-be gang dabbles in drugs and handguns, Better Luck Tomorrow feels like its trying a little too hard to be Goodfellas in high school.--Curt Holman

GERRY (R) Some will find this exercise in Tarkovsky-style minimalism unbearable. But Gus Van Sant's nearly wordless tale of two guys named Gerry (Matt Damon, Casey Affleck) lost in the desert contains some interesting ideas and should be applauded for its experimental, unmarketable approach to storytelling and its deviation from the Good Will Hunting-dreck of the earlier Van Sant-Matt Damon collaboration.--FF

THE GOOD THIEF (R) Director Neil Jordan and hard-living actor Nick Nolte both make confident comebacks in this moody heist picture, a remake of Bob le Flambeur by Jean-Pierre Melville, director of Le Cercle Rouge.

HOLES (PG) A rag-tag group of reform school boys are forced to incessantly dig holes, unaware that the warden (Sigourney Weaver) is looking for a buried treasure. Based on a popular children's book by Louis Sachar.

MALIBU'S MOST WANTED (PG-13) One of the most obnoxious trends of our time -- white teens using black hip-hop slang -- provides the hook for this comedy in which would be "playa" (Jamie Kennedy) is kidnapped by gangsters -- who are in fact actors in the employ of his politician father.

STEVIE (NR) Renowned documentarian Steve James, one of the co-directors of Hoop Dreams, offers a disturbing portrait of Stevie Fielding, whom the filmmaker met as a teen in the Big Brother program, but has grown up to be an accused child molester.

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 reenactments 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. Artists and Models Series. April 16, 205 White Hall, Emory University, 480 Kilgo Circle. Free. 404-727-0272.-- FF

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US (NR) This documentary on genetics illustrates that there is no single gene that distinguishes one race from another, and thus that humans cannot be subdivided by races. Southern Regional Council. April 21, 6:30 p.m. Latin American Association, 2750 Buford Highway.

THE DUEL (1990) (NR) This episode of "Police Call" depicts the GDR's peaceful revolution through a detective whose pursuit of a criminal spans the changeover from one government to another. Germany in the Crosshairs: German Detective Thrillers on TV. April 16, 7 p.m. Goethe Institut Inter Nationes, 1197 Peachtree St., Colony Square. $4. 404-892-2388.

PROPAGANDA (1998) (NR) In 1948 a new customs official literally separates the citizens of a peaceful village by erecting a barb wire fence through the town, dividing the Turks from the Syrians in this absurdist comedy. Discovering Turkish Cinema. Apr. 19, 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.

SPLIT WIDE OPEN (1999) (NR) Old, caste-separated India collides with the nation's new middle class in Dev Benegal's provocative film, which includes a hustling businessman, a neighborhood mobster and the hostess of a sexy TV talk show. Film Festival of India: Bollywood and Beyond. Apr. 18, 8 p.m., Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Auditorium. $5. 404-733-4570.

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