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MONSIEUR BATIGNOLE (2002) (NR) In Nazi-occupied France, a Parisian butcher takes advantage of the deportation of a neighboring Jewish family, but faces a crisis of conscience when he agrees to give shelter to their son. Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m. Madstone Theaters Parkside. $8. 404-949-0658.
PASSIONADA (PG-13) An English cardsharp (Jason Isaacs) woos a sultry nightclub singer (Sofia Milos) with a rebellious daughter (Emmy Rossum) in this romantic comedy packaged to give a Big Fat Greek-style boost to the culture of Portuguese immigrants in New England. Peachtree Film Society. Dec. 16, 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.
X2: X-MEN UNITED (PG-13) The sequel marks a step forward in the evolution of a satisfying superhero franchise by being more x-pensive, x-pansive and x-citing than the first. It's a half hour longer than X-Men, and that half hour has saggy pace and false climax problems, but the film's rival super-powered "mutants" each, in effect, provide their own money shot, especially Hugh Jackman's blade-fisted Wolverine and Alan Cumming's teleporting Nightcrawler. Dec. 12-18. Cinefest, GSU Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. --CH
BAD SANTA (R) Advocate for the anti-consumerist, retro-obsessed values of the splenetic counterculture, director Terry Zwigoff (Crumb, Ghost World) tries to apply his misanthropic perspective to mainstream Hollywood comedy. His alcoholic Santa (Billy Bob Thornton), who robs the same shopping malls where he plies his trade, is another antisocial cult figure infused with the values of Zwigoff's alternative comix imagination. But the director can certainly do better than this thin parody of the saccharine, smarmy Christmas comedy. --FF
BOLLYWOOD/HOLLYWOOD (PG) In an effort to appease his controlling Indian family, Toronto playboy Rahul Seth (Rahul Khanna) pays an elegant Spanish escort to pass as his fiancée. Sadly, the Pretty Woman plotline quickly flounders. This dopey, mostly dismal mess of a film tries to poke fun at both Bombay musicals and Hollywood romantic comedies, but ends up just poorly imitating the very material it attempts to pan. --Tray Butler
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
DIE MOMMIE DIE! (NR) Charles Busch, the drag legend and writer behind Psycho Beach Party, shines in this adaptation of his stage work, a black comedy set in 1967 Hollywood. With shades of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Busch plays Angela Arden, a fading songstress whose prickly home life turns homicidal when her husband discovers her affair with a former TV star (Jason Priestley). A stellar supporting cast, including "Six Feet Under's" Frances Conroy as a back- biting maid, keep the laughs coming, even if its Serial Mom premise occasionally drags (pun intended). At Landmark Theatres Midtown Art Cinema. --Tray Butler.
DR. SEUSS' THE CAT IN THE HAT (PG) The Cat In The Hat is a dog. Rarely has a movie about having fun provided so little of it. In the title role Mike Myers does a total rip-off of Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion, trying to be hi-Lahr-ious. The Cat drops in on the Walden kids, control freak Sally (Dakota Fanning) and rule-breaker Conrad (Spencer Breslin), and teaches them to have fun without consequences. This movie wouldn't even register on the Cat's "Phunometer." --SW
THE EVENT (NR) Parker Posey plays a district attorney investigating the assisted suicide of a man dying from AIDS in this film by Thom Fitzgerald. One by one, the suspects are questioned, and one by one, they trigger flashbacks that reveal more about Matthew's life. Olympia Dukakis provides a couple of moving scenes between mother and son, but this maudlin drama fails to build tension and most of it just rings false. At Landmark Theatres Midtown Art Cinema. --Suzanne Van Atten
GOTHIKA (R) Halle Berry should plead temporary insanity for choosing this mentally-deficient suspense film for her first leading role after winning her Best Actress Oscar. She plays a prison psychiatrist who finds herself an inmate in her own penitentiary, but the plot's Kafka-esque possibilities are ignored for ghostly goings-on. French art-house director Mathieu Kassovitch gets drunk on own camerawork and doesn't bother to address the plot's persistent silliness, like Berry's ability to escape from her "high security" cell as easily as audiences can walk out of a thrill-free thriller. --CH
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