Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

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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.

ANGER MANAGEMENT (PG-13) After delivering subtle performances in The Pledge and About Schmidt, Jack Nicholson reverts to his familiar "wild and crazy guy" persona for this comedy about an unorthodox therapist whose methods unnerve his latest patient, a meek businessman (Adam Sandler) railroaded into the good doctor's anger management program. Some of the situations seem overly familiar or needlessly protracted, but the movie zips by on the strength of some big laughs, sharply cast supporting roles (notably John Turturro and an unbilled Heather Graham) and the two well-matched stars at its core. --Matt Brunson

BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM (PG-13) With a lack of anything better to fill one's empty hours, this British comedy might provide a temporary distraction from inevitable mortality. A conventional -- emphasis on light -- crowd-pleaser about an 18-year-old girl (Parminder K. Nagra) who longs to play soccer despite the objections of her conservative Indian parents, Gurinder Chadha's box office-directed global comedy is the cinematic equivalent of a Happy Meal: bland, momentarily delightful, but with a lot of empty calories. --FF

BLUE CAR (R) Karen Moncrieff gives a sensitive nod to girl creativity and suffering in her portrait of two waifs, Meg and Lily, emotionally devastated by their parents' recent divorce. Meg (Agnes Moncrieff) creates poetry out of the emotional ruins, but the nurturing attentiveness of her English teacher (David Strathairn) who coaches her toward an out-of-town poetry competition soon moves from paternal to wolfish. Moncrieff has a fairly straightforward and often predictable approach to this charged material, but conveys an earnest interest in creating an unusual coming-of-age story. --FF

BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE (PG-13) An ex-convict (Queen Latifah), insisting she was framed, forces a whiter-than-white attorney (Steve Martin) to try to clear her name. The story is utter nonsense, but what makes the film work are the terrific comic performances driving it: Martin hasn't been this engaging in years; Queen Latifah is sexy, spirited and smart; and Eugene Levy, as a nerd who finds his inner funk, continues to prove that he's one of the best second bananas in modern movie comedy. --MB

BRUCE ALMIGHTY (PG-13) Jim Carrey plays God -- literally -- as a put-upon human-interest reporter enlisted to fill in for the Supreme Being Himself (Morgan Freeman). Carrey's omnipotence makes for some memorably surreal sight gags, but the real miracle is how the film avoids the serious questions about free will and suffering built into its premise. Instead, it becomes a unexpectedly indulgent metaphor for Carrey's own difficulties at being taken seriously as an actor, as he plays a guy who can do anything but make people love him. --CH

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).

CHAOS A wealthy French couple witnesses the brutal beating of a prostitute. Though Paul (Vincent Lindon) opts to lock the doors and speed away, Helene (Catherine Frot) volunteers to nurse the victim back to health, eventually agreeing to help her combat the relentless attackers. At Madstone Theaters Parkside.

CHICAGO (PG-13) First-time feature director Rob Marshall reclaims the musical genre from Moulin Rouge with this sexy, robust, big-screen version of Bob Fosse's cynical stage hit. As Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones play Jazz Age murderesses vying for the attentions of superlawyer Richard Gere, showbiz and the legal system prove to be opposite sides of the same tarnished coin. The entire cast, including John C. Reilly and Queen Latifah, reveal remarkable musical showmanship, selling the hell out of the vaudeville-style numbers. Area theaters and the Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival. June 2, 7 p.m. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. $7. 404-881-2100. --CH

CONFIDENCE (R) This con artist film boasts a hip cast -- including Paul Giamatti, Luis Guzman, Rachel Weisz and Dustin Hoffman as a bizarre mob boss -- but has more confidence than ability. Ed Burns' crabby performance as hustler Jake Vig lacks the ingratiating charisma to make him a convincing scam artist, and James Foley's fleet direction can't make up for the script's predictable moves. After so many con flicks like The Spanish Prisoner, we're catching wise to the genre's tricks. --CH


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