MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD (PG-13) See review on page 60.
MY LIFE WITHOUT ME (R) See review on page 59.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE MIDLANDS (R) See review on page 59.
SHATTERED GLASS (PG-13) See review on page 58.
TUPAC RESURRECTION (R) See review at right.
WHERE'S THE PARTY, YAAR? (R) Benny Mathews' comedy finds the tension between FOB (fresh off the boat) immigrants from India and their Americanized counterparts, who try to prevent the new immigrant from crashing their "cool" party. At Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.
A BOY'S LIFE (NR) Documentarian Rory Kennedy chronicles the problems and triumphs of 7-year-old Robert Oliver, who flourishes as a Boy Scout and honor student despite a self-destructive family and his own behavioral disorders. Presented by IMAGE Film & Video Center. Nov. 20, 7:30 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, 450 Auburn Ave. Free. 404-352-4225. www.imagefv.org.
THE AVANT-GARDE ON FILM, PART 2 (NR) Ensemble Sirius and Frequent Small Meals present an evening of cutting-edge film and music. Nov. 19, 8:30 p.m. Eyedrum. 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. $3. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org.
EYEDRUM FILM AND VIDEO NIGHT (NR) The program of short works by video and independent film artists from Athens and points west focuses on rotoscope animation. Nov. 19, 8:30 p.m. Eyedrum. 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. $3. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org.
GRILL POINT (2002) (NR) Andreas Dresen's film presents two longtime married couples whose lives are turned upside-down when one of the husbands falls for the other wife. Recent Films from Germany. Nov. 19, 7 p.m. Goethe Institut Inter Nationes, 1197 Peachtree St., Colony Square. $4. 404-892-2388.
I AM BOLIVAR (2002) (NR) TV spoof gives way to serious political commentary in this film about a Latin American star of telenovelas (Robinson Diaz) who grows to believe he's the great revolutionary Simon Bolivar and is exploited by celebrity-hungry politicians. Latin American Film Festival. Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m., Madstone Theaters Parkside. www.high.org.
JACKPOT (PG-13) The filmmaking team of Mark and Michael Polish present a surreal, melancholy tale of an aspiring singer (Jon Gries) who abandons his wife and child for a nine-month tour of bleak western towns. Featuring Daryl Hannah and Garret Morris. Nov. 14-20. Cinefest, GSU Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565.
LUCIA, LUCIA (R) This Mexican comedy-thriller is upfront about its own dishonesty; the title role (All About My Mother's Cecelia Roth) frequently admits to lying to the audience. Fortysomething Lucia experiences a sensual reawakening (the plot of seemingly half of all foreign films that play U.S. theaters) when her husband is kidnapped. Or is he? Director Antonio Serrano inexplicably and unsuccessfully treats the thriller premise as a comic gold mine, but the convoluted plotting and Lucia's own unreliability keeps the audience from taking anything seriously. Peachtree Film Society. Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m. at Lefont Garden Hills Cinema, 2835 Peachtree Rd. $7.50 each ($6.50 for PFS members). 404-266-2850. www.peachtreefilm.org. --Curt Holman
MAROONED IN IRAQ (2001) (NR) Not a critique of the current U.S. foreign policy, Bahman Ghobadi's film depicts a group of Iranian Kurd musicians traveling across Iraq to stay ahead of Saddam Hussein's anti-Kurd forces. Nov. 13, Cinefest, GSU Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565.
MOST (NR) Bobby Garabedian's film depicts a father torn between love and duty. Nov. 19, Cinefest, GSU Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565.
NORTHFORK (PG-13) If Ingmar Bergman made Northfork it would be hailed as a masterpiece, but when a film is in English, Americans expect to understand it. Written by twins Mark and Michael Polish (Michael directed), it takes place in 1955 during the 48 hours before a hydroelectric dam floods Northfork, Mont. Government agents encourage the remaining citizens to leave. Meanwhile, while four angels appear, but they may exist only in the dreams of a dying orphan. The visually amazing film too often seems like weirdness for its own sake. Nov. 14-20. Cinefest, GSU Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. --SW
OUT ON FILM FESTIVAL (NR) The 16th annual Out of Film Festival offers 23 films and shorts that reveal the diversity of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender filmmaking. Highlights include the moody Argentine character study Suddenly, the punk rock film Rise Above: The Tribe 8 Documentary and Charles drag melodrama Die Mommie Die!. Out on Film Festival. Nov. 12-16, Landmark Midtown Art Theatre, 931 Monroe Drive. $7 per screening ($6 for IMAGE members). 404-352-4225. www.imagefv.org.
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 Meat Loaf 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.
2003 ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATED SHORTS (NR) Tues., Nov. 17. At Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. --SW
BOLLYWOOD HOLLYWOOD (PG-13) Fire director Deepa Mehta presents a faux-Bollywood musical that uses the genre's rollicking conventions to tell the tale of star-crossed lovers who fall for each other despite their better instincts. At Madstone Theaters Parkside.
BUBBA HO-TEP (R) Bruce Campbell of the Evil Dead trilogy plays an elderly Elvis -- or perhaps just a mentally-scrambled impersonator -- who defends his seedy nursing home from a soul-sucking Egyptian mummy. Phantasm director aspires to cheesy B-movie status and succeeds by that rather modest benchmark. Despite its dirty jokes and bargain-basement production values, the film works in some weighty points about mortality and Campbell's a hoot whenever he defends himself against supernatural enemies with Elvis' patented karate moves. --CH
THE CREMASTER CYCLE (NR) Whether you find Matthew Barney's vision silly or inspiring, it's difficult not to be impressed by the audacity of this Idaho-bred, Manhattan-based conceptual artist's five-film cycle. Barney's films are replete with his touchstone interest in sex and gender and filled with his astounding images of human-animal hybrids, retro movie glamour and expressions of masculinity so outrageous they are nearly laughable. Defiantly non-narrative, filled with outrageous, otherworldly events and a sense of showmanship that suggests a postmodern Barnum, the films solidified Barney's reputation as one of the most inventive visual artists working today. At Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. --Felicia Feaster
ELEPHANT (R) Gus Van Sant's meditation on a fictional, Columbine-inspired high school massacre refuses to offer tidy explanations for teen shootings. Instead the film draws our attention to events that seem both relevant (the future shooters' access to guns and violent games) and random (episodes of bullying, neglectful parenting and other typical teen problems). The film proves at once vague and provocative, self-important yet accomplished, but succeeds as a direct challenge for Americans to examine this issue. --Curt Holman
ELF (PG) Will Ferrell plays an ill-adjusted man-child raised by Santa's helpers then sent to New York City to find his long-lost father and -- surprise! -- save Christmas in the process. Director Jon Favreau (Swingers) should end up on the naughty list for producing such pointless holiday pabulum. --Tray Butler
THE HUMAN STAIN (R) The adaptation of Philip Roth's novel casts Anthony Hopkins as a Jewish professor whose use of a racial epithet sends him on a personal tailspin. But rather than explore the book's themes about political correctness and racial self-loathing, Robert Benton's icily formal film emphasizes the professor's May-December affair with an uncouth janitor (Nicole Kidman masquerading as white trash). Wentworth Miller's flashbacks as the young Hopkins touch on the complex ethnic implications of a film that otherwise ducks controversy at every turn. --CH
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
IN THE CUT (R) An English professor (Meg Ryan) put off by the emotional messiness of sex grows attracted to a cocky, sleazy homicide detective (Mark Ruffalo) investigating the grisly murders of women. Jane Campion's adaptation of Susannah Moore's book gets points for its bedroom frankness, and loses them for its thudding themes that sex, men and marriage are all bad. The film proves rather effective as a unsettling, paranoia-inducing mood piece, but Ryan works so hard against her lightweight image that she never makes pleasure seem very pleasurable. --CH
KILL BILL VOLUME 1 (R) Quentin Tarantino's geek side returns with a vengeance in the first half of his loving yet overblown salute to kung fu movies and other cult revenge flicks. A blonde assassin (Uma Thurman) tracks down the former colleagues who betrayed her, and while Tarantino strives for the grandiosity of Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns, he undercuts himself with ironic jokes closer to McG's Charlie's Angels. It's up to Uma to carry the film -- and she does, conveying a toughness oddly comparable to Lee Marvin. Volume 2 is due in February. --CH
LOVE ACTUALLY (R) Love is all around in this British Love Boat (on dry land) that makes a case for the ubiquity of pop music. In the five weeks leading up to Christmas, dozens of characters initiate, maintain or break off relationships of a romantic, sexual, familial or platonic nature. Excellent casting makes each person stand out, whether the actor is familiar (Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson) or not (Heike Makatsch, Andrew Lincoln). Richard Curtis, the witty writer of Four Weddings and a Funeral, makes his directing debut with a commercial movie that gives commercial movies a good name. --SW
THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS (R) The third and final installment in the Matrix trilogy trims some of the metaphysical chit-chat that bogged down Reloaded, but shows even less interest in its characters. It succeeds as a free will allegory and a kind of special effects fireworks display, with lavish action scenes worthy of the Aliens, Terminator and Superman franchises. The filmmakers never make good on the original's precedent-setting promise, with the exception of Hugo Weaving's seething villainy as the self-replicating Agent Smith. --CH
MYSTIC RIVER (R) A continuation of the fixations with masculine strength, vengeance and the violent extremes that have defined Clint Eastwood's directorial and acting career. Sean Penn, a vast improvement on Eastwood's typically wooden action heroes, is a grieving father determined to punish whoever murdered his 19-year-old daughter. Eastwood's emotionally fraught film is hardly the masterpiece it's been made out to be, often weighed down by a ponderous, conventional police investigation plot and a tendency to spell out his aims in canned dialogue and elementary exposition. But as a sustained treatment of male grief and insight into Eastwood's auteurist fixations, Mystic River is undeniably fascinating. --FF
OUT OF TIME (PG-13) Director Carl Franklin returns to his One False Move roots for this neo-noir that never rises above the status of an enjoyable popcorn movie, despite beautiful widescreen cinematography and Denzel Washington's star turn as a Florida police chief who becomes the chief patsy in a double homicide. As Denzel's estranged wife and mistress respectively, Eva Mendes and Sanaa Lathan affirm their readiness for full leading lady status. --SW
PARTY MONSTER (NR) A frenetic, often uneven biopic of New York promoter Michael Alig (Macaulay Culkin), who with muse James St. James (Seth Green) helped define the Club Kid subculture of the early '90s but squanders his gains in the drug-induced murder of his dealer. Heavy on style, and seemingly tripping on its self-conscious rendition of a particular aesthetic, the film works as a fashion show but fails as a time capsule. --TB
THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940) (NR) George Cukor directs one of the most scintillating screwball comedies every made, as Katharine Hepburn's society girl tries to chose between her debonair ex-husband Cary Grant, her social-climbing fiancé John Howard and down-to-earth Spy magazine reporter Jimmy Stewart -- who won an Oscar for his role. At Madstone Theaters Parkside. --CH
PIECES OF APRIL (PG-13) Novelist and screenwriter Peter Hedges has a great track record for maintaining tenderness despite his characters' comic foibles. But that ability fails him in this slight, flip story of a black sheep, April (Katie Holmes) living in a depressing walk-up on the Lower East Side, who tries to reconcile with her family by inviting them to Thanksgiving dinner. Hedges attempts to inject some gravitas by having April's mother (Patricia Clarkson) dying of cancer, but his constant jokiness creates a distance from these characters. The usual dysfunctional family jocularity fits badly with a last-minute, disingenuous effort to extract emotional investment from his audience. --FF
RADIO (PG) Like Remember the Titans but less memorable, this fact-based story depicts a do-gooder high school football coach (Ed Harris) as he fights prejudice in a Southern town in the 1970s. The issue isn't race but retardation as the coach helps a young man (Cuba Gooding Jr.) by making him a combination of tackling dummy and mascot beloved by football fans in South Carolina. The manipulative script will draw the desired reactions from the easily moved. --SW
THE SINGING DETECTIVE (R) The late Dennis Potter's 1986 miniseries is revered for breaking new ground, but countless imitations have raised the bar too high for Keith Gordon's spotty film version to get over. Memory, fantasy and reality mix in the addled mind of mystery writer Dan Dark (Robert Downey Jr.), hospitalized with severe psoriasis, as he becomes his fictional hero working a case involving people from his past and present, all of whom stop periodically to lip-synch records from the 1950s. --SW
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