Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of recently released movies

Opening Friday

· AQUAMARINE (PG) Two teenage girls befriend a mermaid (Sara Paxton) they find in a beach club's swimming pool.

· C.S.A.: THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA 5 stars. (NR) The South wins the Civil War in Kevin Willmott's scorchingly satirical mockumentary. Presented as a Ken Burns-style doc airing in the present-day Confederacy, the film alternates between 150 years of convincing alternate history and outrageous commercial breaks from a contemporary slave-holding nation (like a promo for a "Cops"-style show about capturing runaway slaves). Willmott demonstrates a sense of humor worthy of "Chappelle's Show," and a keen awareness that racism in the "real" America goes deeper than we'd like to admit. -- Curt Holman

· DAVE CHAPPELLE'S BLOCK PARTY 3 stars. See review.

· GO FOR ZUCKER 2 stars. (NR) See review.

· NIGHT WATCH 3 stars. (R) Supernatural beings, vaguely like vampires, extend their centuries-long good vs. evil struggle to the twilight slums of modern-day Moscow in the first film of director Timur Bekmambetov's trilogy. Between the convoluted occult rules and Bekmambetov's fondness for showy camera trickery, Night Watch should be an unholy mess. Against the odds, the film's pulpy sense of energy and vision of grubby, hungover Russia give it a strange appeal -- at least compared to the Underworld movies. -- Holman

· PULSE (R) Following the model of The Ring and The Grudge, this remake of a Japanese horror flick involves mysterious deaths, otherworldly websites and nubile young people (including Ian Somerhalder of "Lost"). The original built to a striking apocalyptic vision -- let's see if the U.S. version follows suit.

· 16 BLOCKS 2 stars. (PG-13) Predictably "unpredictable," this crime drama pits bad cops against worse cops. A troubled officer (Bruce Willis) transports a fast-talking young witness (Mos Def) up 16 blocks (and down what seems like 90-odd flights of stairs) to testify against a bevy of the NYPD's worst. Plenty of pensive stare-downs slow the action of otherwise dizzying chase scenes that produce an alarming amount of blood and (specifically) sweat. Despite being a tale of redemption, this exhaustive work will leave you shedding nary a single tear. -- Allison C. Keene


· ULTRAVIOLET (PG-13) Milla Jovovich of the Resident Evil films stars as a genetically modified futuristic ass-kicker in this Matrix wannabe.

Duly Noted

· BERLIN: JOURNEY OF A CITY (1995) (NR) This documentary explores Berlin's history as the focal point of the Cold War between 1945 and 1995. Wed., March 8, 7 p.m. Goethe Institut Atlanta, 1197 Peachtree St. $3-$4. 404-894-2388.

· FRENCH SHORTS FROM THE CLERMONT-FERRAND SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (2004) (NR) This collection of acclaimed film festival shorts features such topics as depressed crabs, hyper-competitive businessmen and a pet owner worried about his cat's impending castration. French Film Festival. Sat., March 4, 8 p.m., Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St. $5. 404-733-4570.

· PULSE (2001) 3 stars. (NR) The latest example of "J-horror" -- or Japanese horror imports like The Ring -- follows two young people (Haruhikô Kato and Kumiko Aso) who discover a website that connects the living with ghosts -- and drives its users to suicide. Released five years ago in Japan, Pulse initially proves slow and familiar, and its cultural attitudes toward suicide probably don't fully translate to this side of the Pacific. The final section, however, strays from J-horror convention to generate a genuinely apocalyptic atmosphere that can set your pulse racing. Thurs., March 2. Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. -- Holman

· 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.

· WIFTI SHORT FILM SHOWCASE (NR) Women in Film and Television International/Atlanta presents an evening of international films by and/or about women, including the charged 2005 Oscar-winner "Wasp," as well as Georgia-produced films. Wed., March 8, 6:30 p.m. Regal Cinemas Atlantic Station 16, 216 19th St. $20 ($10 for WIFTI members). 770-621-5071.


· BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE 2 (PG-13) Martin Lawrence reprises his role as an FBI agent with a penchant for dressing up like old ladies. This time "Big Momma" takes the job as a housekeeper/nanny to a suspected designer of deadly computer viruses.

· BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN 5 stars. (R) Ang Lee's heart-wrenching Western one-ups the male tenderness and isolation of the traditional oater by basing this film on Annie Proulx's short story of two cowboys (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) who fall in love in 1963 Wyoming. Lee's film is lovely to look at and profoundly moving, touching on both the economic and spiritual isolation of the ranch hand's life and also the more universal alienation of being a man. Ledger is superb as an archetype of male interiority, an emotionally contained man who finds his slim fragments of happiness in short, infrequent meetings with Jack, who dreams of an impossible future for their doomed love affair. -- Felicia Feaster


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  • Re: Fresh air

    • Local band Manchester Orchestra, who provided the soundtrack, probably would have appreciated a shout-out.

    • on June 29, 2016
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