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Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Page 2 of 4

FOOLISH WIVES (1922) (NR) Erich von Stroheim directed and stars in this sophisticated tale of seduction, blackmail and murder. Featuring live musical accompaniment by Frisky Berlin. The Silent Film Society of Atlanta. Nov. 21, 8 p.m. Eyedrum. 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. $5. 404-522-0655.

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. 20. Cinefest, GSU Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565.

MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND (1996) (G) Tim Curry plays Long John Silver in this likable, mostly-muppet version of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic that goes down easy yet leaves scarcely a ripple in your memory. Nov. 21-27. Cinefest, GSU Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. --CH

NO CUTS FILM FESTIVAL (NR) presents this evening of local short films made with no actual editing. Nov. 22, 8:30 p.m. Eyedrum. 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. $7 donation. 404-522-0655.

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, Montana. Government agents encourage the remaining citizens to leave, while four reappearing angels may exist only in the dreams of a dying orphan. The visually amazing film too often seems like weirdness for its own sake. Nov. 20. Cinefest, GSU Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. --Steve Warren

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.

ALIEN: THE DIRECTOR'S CUT (1979) (R) Director Ridley Scott restores some scenes, shortens others, polishes the visual effects and spruces 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.

BEYOND BORDERS (R) With a title that sounds like a Barnes & Noble commercial, this failed attempt to revive the old-style romantic epic is equally unsuccessful as an infomercial for refugee aid organizations, since it shows ways in which these charities are compromised. Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen are torn between their love for each other and their love of helping refugees (she has a husband too, but he hardly figures into the equation) over 11 years of danger-filled meetings in Ethiopia, Cambodia and Chechnya. If not for the grim reality of the backdrops, Beyond Borders would be laughable. --SW

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

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. --CH

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. --TB

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

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