Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Opening Friday
AUTUMN SPRING (2001) (PG-13) This dramedy from Czechoslovakia stars Vlastimil Brodsky (in his last film role before his suicide) as an irrepressible practical joker unwilling to admit to his own mortality. At Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.


THE HUMAN STAIN (R) See review.

IN THE CUT (R) See review.

PARTY MONSTER (R) See review.

PIECES OF APRIL (PG-13) See review.

PREY FOR ROCK 'N' ROLL Gina Gershon plays the lead singer of Clam Dandy, an all-girl punk band, who's tempted to quit the music by her upcoming 40th birthday. Lori Petty and Drea de Matteo co-star in the film version of Cheri Lovedog's play. At Madstone Theaters Parkside.

Opening Saturday
BROTHER BEAR (G) A young man is transformed into a bear in this talking-animal animated family film. Parents will note that "SCTV's" Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas reprise their voices as Doug and Bob Mackenzie as two moose.

Duly Noted
THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998) (R) An aging slacker (Jeff Bridges) and his bowling buddies (John Goodman, Steve Buscemi) become embroiled in a kidnapping plot among Los Angeles' rich and decadent. For their follow-up to the Oscar-winning Fargo, the Coen Brothers seem to have emptied their notebooks of amusing one-liners and weird images for a finished product that's well-polished but aggressively inconsequential. Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, midnight. Lefont Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon, 404-873-1939. --Curt Holman

DEAD ALIVE (1992) (R) Before Peter Jackson achieved cinematic respectability with The Lord of the Rings, he made playful, nastily inventive flicks like this one, in which a milquetoast faces his Oedipal issues when his domineering mother becomes a ravenous zombie. The film's slapstick suggests Laurel and Hardy with stray body parts, making Dead Alive the funniest gorefest -- or maybe the goriest laughfest -- ever made. Beware the cannibal baby. Oct. 30-Nov. 1. Madstone Theaters Parkside. --CH

DRACULA (1931) (NR) This Spanish-language version of the Bela Lugosi Dracula was filmed simultaneously at night on the same soundstage with a different cast, to sex up and arguably improve on the more famous English version. Films at the High. Latin American Film Festival. Oct. 31, 8 p.m., Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Auditorium. $5. 404-733-4570.

LITTLE OTIK (2000) (NR) Ingenious Czechoslovakian animator Jan Svankmajer offers a twisted fairy tale about a childless couple who carve a wooden infant as a surrogate baby, only to see it come to life with an insatiable appetite. Oct. 31-Nov. 6, Cinefest, GSU Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565.

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993) (PG) The skeletal lord of Halloween becomes smitten with Christmas and decides to replace Santa Claus, with chaotic results, in this stop-motion animated musical produced by Tim Burton. With more big laughs and fewer downbeat Danny Elfman songs, it could be a genuine classic, but as is, it offers such visual delights that nearly every frame qualifies as a work of art. Oct. 31-Nov. 6, Cinefest, GSU Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565.

SOMETHING IN THE AIR (2002) (NR) Director Helvecio Ratton presents the high-spirited story of Radio Favela, a musically and politically rebellious radio station established in the 1980s by four black teens from the Belo Horizonte shantytown. Films at the High. Latin American Film Festival. Nov. 1, 8 p.m., Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Auditorium. $5. 404-733-4570. and Nov. 5, 7:30 p.m., Madstone Theaters Parkside

THE STATE I AM IN (2002) (NR) With a plot reminiscent of River Phoenix's Running on Empty, this drama depicts two former terrorists living incognito with their daughter in Portugal, until a single inattentive moment makes them fugitives in Germany. Recent Films from Germany. Nov. 5, 7 p.m. Goethe Institut Inter Nationes, 1197 Peachtree St., Colony Square. $4. 404-892-2388.

28 DAYS LATER (R) Trainspotting director Danny Boyle helms a stylish piece of schlock as a handful of normal humans contend with an epidemic that has turned England's populace into raging berserkers. The last act's detour into Lord of the Flies territory dilutes some of the film's finely drawn tension, but it still proves a smart throwback to the end-of-the-world flicks of the 1970s. Oct. 30, Cinefest, GSU Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. --CH

ALIEN: THE DIRECTOR'S CUT (1979) (R) Director Ridley Scott restores some scenes, shortens others, polishes the visual effects and restores the negative of his classic "haunted spacecraft" horror film. Excelled in some ways by its sequel Aliens, it's still a showcase for the nightmarish designs of H.R. Giger and the acting of such players as Sigourney Weaver, Ian Holm, John Hurt and Harry Dean Stanton.


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    • Local band Manchester Orchestra, who provided the soundtrack, probably would have appreciated a shout-out.

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