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Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Page 3 of 4

DUPLEX (PG-13) Danny DeVito is a sick, twisted, evil little man - my kind of guy. In the same (mean) spirit as Throw Momma from the Train, his live-action Road Runner cartoon pits a yuppie couple (Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore) against the "sweet little old lady" (Eileen Essell) who lives upstairs in their Brooklyn duplex. As she drives them crazy they try everything, up to and including murder, to get rid of her. Ask Miramax why they kept this gut-buster on the shelf for over a year.--SW

I CAPTURE THE CASTLE (R) In Tim Fywell's romantic drama depicts an eccentric family struggling for love and survival while living in a castle in 1930s England.

IMAX THEATER: Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure (NR) The greatest survival story of the 20th century lends itself to IMAX treatment. Kevin Spacey narrates Sir Ernest Shackleton's attempt to cross Antarctica by dogsled without his usual sarcasm but without overselling it either. The visuals combine Frank Hurley's original photographs and film footage, which retain amazing clarity, with recreations of the original expedition. Through Dec. 6. Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey (NR) This world music sampler with the emphasis on percussion was filmed on five continents by the creators of the stage musical Stomp. The Stomp cast is augmented by a dozen acts representing the sounds that have influenced them, performing for about two minutes each. For all the time, money and effort involved the result should have been better. Through Feb. 6. Fernbank Museum of Natural History IMAX Theater, 767 Clifton Road. 404-929-6300. www.fernbank.edu.--SW

LOST IN TRANSLATION (R) Director Sofia Coppola's (The Virgin Suicides) much-anticipated second film brings together Bill Murray and indie flick ingénue Scarlett Johansson as accidental tourists in Tokyo. Both insomniacs, and both at crisis points in their marriages, the two start a unique friendship that takes through from karaoke clubs to titty bars in a soft-focus search for connection and meaning. Coppola strings together enough tiny brilliant moments to overcome the film's nearly absent plot and produces a sophomore effort almost as sparkling as her first.--TB

LUTHER (PG-13) Joseph Fiennes plays a rebellious priest whose feud with Roman Catholicism lead to the founding of the Lutheran church. Featuring Peter Ustinov and Alfred Molina.

MADAME SATA (NR) This uneven bio picture centers on the sordid beginnings in Rio de Janeiro's slums of one of the Brazilian carnival's stars, drag queen Joao Francisco dos Santos (Lazaro Ramos). Brazilian-born, New York University-educated director Karim Aïinouz puts a hip, gay-cinema gloss on Joao Francisco's life, but fails to address more essential matters of creating an engaging story and a hero worth caring about. The film unfortunately also does little to convey Joao Francisco's particular appeal as a performer, especially considering Aïinouz's editing style which often relies on fragmented close-ups to convey the emotional texture of events, rather than their realistic qualities. At Landmark Midtown Art Cinema--FF

MAMBO ITALIANO (R) Paul Sorvino and Ginette Reno anchor a stereotypical Italian-Canadian family in a gay rewrite of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Their son Angelo (Luke Kirby) moves out and sets up housekeeping with Nino (Peter Miller), a cop who's not as ready to be out as Angelo is. This formulaic feel-good movie relies too heavily on stereotypes, but has more going for it than that. At Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.--SW

MILLENNIUM ACTRESS (PG) Anime auteur Satoshi Kon revisits the themes of his cult hit Perfect Blue, including the tension between media celebrity and reality, with this story of a film crew interviewing a septuagenarian film actress and finding themselves reliving past experiences along with her. At Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.

OUT OF TIME (PG-13) Carl Franklin returns to his One False Move roots in this neo-noir with beautiful widescreen cinematography and a star turn by Denzel Washington as a Florida police chief who becomes the chief patsy in a double homicide. It never raises above the status of an enjoyable popcorn movie, but that still puts it ahead of overblown effects flicks and pretentious indies.--SW

THE RUNDOWN (PG-13) This sadistic but fun flick with surprisingly coherent action sequences introduces a new action-comedy team in The Rock and Seann William Scott. The Rock seeks to bring Scott back from South America, where he's searching for a golden artifact that could also buy the locals' freedom from ugly (but funny) American Christopher Walken.

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