THE GREEN BUTCHERS (R) In this black comedy, two Danish pals open a open a butcher shop and see their fortunes improve when an accidental death inspires them to add a mysterious - but highly popular - cut of meat to the menu.
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 Peachtree Cinema & Games, Norcross.
ALEXANDER (R) Alexander the Great (Colin Farrell) conquered the known world but collapses in a brooding heap in Oliver Stone's botched biopic of nearly three hours. Alexander's enlightened internationalism makes him ahead of his time, just as his unmistakable bisexuality makes him ahead of our own. But apart from Angelina Jolie and Val Kilmer's campy excesses as Alexander's parents, the film offers no colorful relationships, memorable dialogue or even coherent battle scenes. Alexander could put the entire genre of epic film in bad odor for years. -- Curt Holman
THE AVIATOR (PG-13) It's not perfect, but Martin Scorsese's bio-picture of ingenious, mentally unbalanced billionaire, aviator and film director Howard Hughes is as entertaining as all get-out, capturing both the nearly supernatural creativity and the flip side of Hughes' debilitating, obsessive manias. DiCaprio proves up to the task of embodying this wildly contradictory man, adding both pathos and perversity to Scorsese's portrait of a deeply flawed but iconoclastic American. This meaty epic provides the added bonus, for Scorsese fans, of shedding light on his career-long propensity for obsessive, charismatic film antiheroes, and for illuminating the many connections the director undoubtedly sees between Hughes and his own creative pursuits always endangered by human fallibility and even madness. -- Felicia Feaster
BEAR CUB (NR) A warmhearted little charmer from Spanish director Miguel Albaladejo, Bear Cub takes place in a hip Madrid gay subculture where Pedro (José Luis Garcia-Pérez) hangs with a group of fellow burly, hairy, teddy bear men. But that idiosyncratic subculture just provides set-dressing for the real heart of the film, about the increasingly tender relationship between Pedro and the beloved nephew (David Castillo) he cares for while the boy's irresponsible hippie mother gallivants around India. -- FF
BEING JULIA (R) In this adaptation of Somerset Maugham's novel Theatre, Annette Bening gives one of the year's best performances as a 1938 London stage diva who falls in love with a much younger man and learns the difference between acting and living. Apart from Bening's rich, rewarding portrayal, Being Julia offers a light-hearted but fairly frivolous melodrama about temperamental theater artists. But the story builds to a satisfying conclusion and Juliet Stevenson provides an amusing turn as Bening's no-nonsense dresser. -- CH
BEYOND THE SEA (PG-13) See review on page 49.
BLADE TRINITY (R) In his third film outing, half-breed vampire slayer Blade (Wesley Snipes) reluctantly teams with junior troubleshooters (scene-stealing Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds). Whenever the characters (including Parker Posey, of all people, as a jaded vampire) aren't trying to kill each other, they're walking in slow motion towards the camera -- it's that kind of movie. Debut director David Goyer falls short of the gothic, propulsive Blade II, but provides the minimum requirement of movie mayhem and hip dialogue. -- CH
CLOSER (NR) A clever, but hardly earth-shattering adult drama about the interlocking sex lives of two couples in contemporary London, Mike Nichols' titillating but contrived film adapts Patrick Marber's hit 1997 stage play. Julia Roberts and Jude Law prove remarkably banal as the adulterous pair who set the sexual roundelay in motion. Far better are Natalie Portman as an emotionally vulnerable stripper and a laceratingly clever Clive Owen as Roberts' cuckold husband and one of the most intriguing combinations of masculine vulnerability and vengeance to strut across a movie screen. -- FF
CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS (PG) A middle-aged couple (Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis) decide to skip Christmas when their only child joins the Peace Corps. The cinematic equivalent of a lump of coal, this adaptation of John Grisham's Surviving Christmas could have gained depth by exploring the characters' motivations, instead of using dialogue as simply a break between seasonal slapstick. -- Heather Kuldell
DARKNESS (PG-13) Anna Paquin and Lena Olin star in this Spanish-produced horror film about a teenage girl whose family moves to a remote country house haunted by ominous secrets.
I can see Rushdie's stuff adapting well. Lots of plot to play with.