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RAISING VICTOR VARGAS (R) This tender, charming first feature from director Peter Sollett, set in a poor Lower East Side neighborhood, features a cast of engaging young actors led by Victor Rasuk as a self-styled barrio Don Juan who, surprisingly, catches the eye of the local beauty played by Judy Marte. Beneath a touching teenage love story is a sensitive portrait of the fear of abandonment that haunts these children's lives, and the vulnerability that still defines them, despite their teenage cool. Aug 22-28, Cinefest, Georgia State University Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. --FF
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. Midnight Fri. at Lefont Plaza Theatre and Sat. at Marietta Star Cinema.
RUSSIAN ARK (2002) (NR) Nothing short of a masterpiece, Alexander Sokurov's sublime, dreamy, brilliant survey of the opulence and despair of Russia's history was shot entirely within the confines of the Hermitage Museum and in a single continuous steadicam shot using a High Def video camera in almost constant movement. Aug 22-28, Cinefest, Georgia State University Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. --FF
SPY KIDS 3D: GAME OVER (PG) Director Robert Rodriguez's playful use of 3-D effects -- complete with red-and-blue glasses -- make the third Spy Kids film a gimmicky delight. Half-pint secret agent Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara) enters a virtual video game to save the world's children from the maniacal Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone). At area theaters and Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival. Aug. 24, 3 p.m. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. $7. 404-881-2100. www.foxtheatre.org. --CH
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. Aug 21, Cinefest, Georgia State University Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565.
VIDEO ARTISTS FROM BRAZIL (NR) The gallery devotes an evening to the experimental, at times highly symbolic work of Brazilian video artists Carlo Sansolo and Erika Fraenkel. June 25, 8:30 p.m. Eyedrum. 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. $3. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org.
BAD BOYS II (R) Will Smith and Martin Lawrence team up again with decidedly unfunny results as a couple of Miami cops fixated on busting an Ecstasy-smuggling kingpin in this uber-violent sequel to the 1995 original. Director Michael Bay (Armaggedon, Pearl Harbor) ropes in viewers with all the thrills and kills, but the excruciating dialogue and ridiculous body count could make it a more fitting sequel to Commando than to Bad Boys. --Andrew Stewart
THE BREAD, MY SWEET (NR) Scott Baio of "Charles in Charge" fame provides a surprisingly effective grown-up performance as rising executive bound by ties to his old Pittsburgh neighborhood. It's nice to see a film about Italian-American culture where they're not trying to whack each other, but Bread takes a half-baked turn to melodrama when Baio proposes to a virtual stranger (Kristin Minter) to please her dying mother (Rosemary Prinz). The film's shamelessness with both ethnic stereotypes and soap-operatics eventually cancels out its street-level charms. At Madstone Theaters Parkside. --CH
BUFFALO SOLDIERS (R) Not for nothing has Miramax been reluctant to release Gregor Jordan's military satire, which flies in the face of today's pro-war jingoism. Joaquin Phoenix plays a sexy but unscrupulous black marketeer on a U.S. army base in Germany, and his self-serving schemes turn increasingly deadly. The resolution backs away from some of the film's harsher implications, but its dark humor unfolds in the spirit of MASH and Three Kings. --CH
DIRTY PRETTY THINGS (R) This is not the finest moment for director Stephen Frears (High Fidelity, Dangerous Liaisons). Based on an interesting premise about a kidneys-for-passports black market operated from a seedy London hotel, this Hollywood-style thriller centers on a principled African immigrant determined to expose the ring. A bland romance between the principled former doctor (Chiwetel Ejiofar) and a Turkish immigrant (Audrey Tautou) weighs the film down. Frears emphasizes thriller clichés over a sustained examination of the feelings of immigrants. At every turn, Things promises something meaningful, and never delivers it. --FF