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Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Opening Friday
AGENT CODY BANKS 2: DESTINATION LONDON (PG) Frankie Muniz of "Malcolm in the Middle" returns as the eponymous spy kid in this sequel featuring comedian Anthony Anderson.

MONSIEUR IBRAHIM (R) See review.

MY ARCHITECT: A SON'S JOURNEY (NR) See review.

SECRET WINDOW (R) After his Oscar nomination for Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny Depp plays a successful novelist who faces accusations of plagiarism from a drawling psycho (John Turturro). Based on a novella by Stephen King.

SPARTAN (R) Playwright David Mamet writes and directs this thriller about a government agent (Val Kilmer) investigating the kidnapping of the president's daughter. The cast includes Mamet favorite William H. Macy.

Duly Noted
AMANDLA! A REVOLUTION IN FOUR PART HARMONY (2002) (PG-13) This Sundance-award winning documentary traces the role of music in the struggle against South African apartheid, and features performance footage and interviews with activists and artists such as Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Abdullah Ibrahim. Films at the High. African Film Showcase. March 12, 8 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Auditorium. $5. 404-733-4570. www.high.org.

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. March 15-18. Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. -- Felicia Feaster

GIRL WRESTLER (NR) Diane Zander's documentary personalizes the clash of gender and sports with a profile of Tara Neal, a 13-year-old who defies high school tradition by challenging boys in wrestling matches. IMAGE Film & Video Center. March 18, 7:30 p.m. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, 450 Auburn Ave. Free. 404-352-4225. www.imagefv.org.

A LITTLE COLOR (2002) (R) A hairdresser (Anouk Grinberg) learns to appreciate life's simple pleasures in this French-Swiss comedy reminiscent of Bagdad Cafe. Francophonie 2004. March 11, 8 p.m. Lefont Garden Hills Cinema, 2835 Peachtree Road. $8-$10. 404-875-1211. www.afatl.com.

A NIGHT OF FEROCIOUS JOY (NR) See review.

PRISONER OF PARADISE See review.

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.

SISSI (1955) (NR) Austria's young emperor falls in love with Sissi (Romy Schneider), the spirited sister of his bride-to-be, in the first of three sentimental German hits from the 1950s. March 17, 7 p.m. Goethe Institut Inter Nationes, 1197 Peachtree St., Colony Square. $4. 404-892-2388.

THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984) (PG) Rob Reiner's hilarious "rockumentary" turns it up to 11 to depict a disastrous American tour: Spinal Tap, one of England's "loudest" bands. Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer offer spot-on portrayals of fictitious head-bangers -- and parlay their improvisational musical teamwork for subsequent films like A Mighty Wind. In its way, one of the most influential films of the past 20 years. March 17, 7 p.m. Mick's Bennett Street, 2110 Peachtree Road. Free with dinner. 404-355-7163. -- Curt Holman

Continuing
THE ADVENTURES OF OCIEE NASH (G) Not to be confused with Eddie Murphy's The Adventures of Pluto Nash, this locally-filmed family picture follows the tomboyish title role (Skylar Day) from her father's Mississippi farm to her stuffy aunt's Asheville home in 1898. The novelty of seeing numerous Atlanta stage actors in extensive big-screen parts keeps you awake through this wholesome yet dull tale. --CH

THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS (R) In Canadian director Denys Arcand's follow-up to his 1986 The Decline of the American Empire the same group of jaded, sexually adventurous intellectuals reunite around the bedside of Rémy (Rémy Girard) who is dying of cancer in an overcrowded, understaffed Montreal hospital. An unforgettable, moving film about dying, this near-masterpiece parallels Rémy's loss of faith with a post-Sept. 11 world that has also had its dreams and illusions shattered. Arcand's film takes you by surprise as its intellectual chattiness soon reveals a world defined by regret and doubt, where the only comfort seems to be the friends and family who remain. --FF

BARBERSHOP 2: BACK IN BUSINESS (PG-13) Business as Usual is more like it. It may be slicker than the original by a hair but the series hasn't lost its funky charm. Ice Cube fights gentrification-minded developers and Cedric the Entertainer rants hilariously about celebrities instead of beloved historical figures. Our familiarity with the characters makes as enjoyable as an old sitcom, and the presence of Queen Latifah, setting up her Beautyshop spinoff, makes this a "very special episode." --SW

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