· ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL 1 star (R) See review.
· GOAL! THE DREAM BEGINS (PG) In this underdog sports drama, a young Mexican-American soccer player is recruited to play for England's Newcastle United. They call it "football" there, you know.
· JUST MY LUCK (PG-13) When Lindsay Lohan's lucky young executive shares a chance dancefloor kiss with an unfortunate loser (Chris Pine), their "luck" reverses in this supernatural romantic comedy.
· ONE PERFECT DAY (NR) In this Australian film, a musician undergoes a journey of self-discovery in Melbourne's dance/rave music scene.
· POSEIDON 3 stars (PG-13) See review.
· SIR! NO SIR! 4 stars (NR) See review.
· WAH-WAH (R) English character actor Richard E. Grant writes and directs this semi-autobiographical tale about a boy (Nicholas Hoult) growing up in the twilight of the British Empire in South Africa in 1969. Featuring Gabriel Byrne and Emily Watson.
· AMU (2005) (NR) Having lived in California for almost 20 years, a young woman returns to her birthplace in Delhi to resolve unanswered questions about the deaths of her birth parents. Film Festival of India. Sat., May 13, 8 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St. Free. 404-733-4570. www.high.org.
· BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM (2003) 2 stars (PG-13) With a lack of anything better to fill one's empty hours, this British comedy might provide a temporary distraction from inevitable mortality. A conventional -- emphasis on light -- crowd-pleaser about an 18-year-old girl (Parminder K. Nagra) who longs to play soccer despite the objections of her conservative Indian parents, Gurinder Chadha's box office-directed global comedy is the cinematic equivalent of a Happy Meal: bland, momentarily delightful, but with a lot of empty calories. Soccer Films. Wed., May 17, 7 p.m. Goethe Institut Atlanta, 1197 Peachtree St. $3-$4. 404-894-2388. -- Felicia Feaster
· CELEBRATING CULTURES IN MOTION (NR) Part of Sweet Auburn Springfest 2006, this international film festival includes Senegal's family film Binta & the Great Idea; the award-winning documentary from Mumbai, "Ordinary Lives"; and two New Orleans-themed documentaries, "Jazz Funeral for Democracy" and "Katrina Ground Zero." Fri.-Sat., May 12-13. Auburn Avenue Research Library, 101 Auburn Ave. www.black-cinema.org.
· A DOULA STORY (NR) Alone, many of them never nurtured themselves, pregnant inner-city Chicago teenagers face terrible odds in the gripping documentary A Doula Story. Their champion is a former teenage mother herself, Loretha Weisinger, who helps her young charges prepare for motherhood, labor and the long road ahead as a "doula," the Greek word for "birth attendant" in director Daniel Alpert's awe-inspiring portrait of this guardian angel and superwoman. Free. Thurs., May 18, 7:30 p.m. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site Screening Room, 450 Auburn Ave. 404-331-5190. www.imagefv.org. -- Feaster
· FOUND FANTASIES (NR) This evening of video works by gay Vietnamese-American artist Nguyen Tan Hoang uses images and sounds from Hollywood movies, karaoke videos, porn and other sources to create dense collages about culture, identity and sexuality. Thurs., May 11, 8 p.m. Eyedrum, 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Suite 8. $5. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org.
· THE LANGUAGE YOU CRY IN (NR) This documentary reaches across hundreds of years and thousands of miles to find traces of 18th-century Sierra Leone in the Gullah communities of modern-day coastal Georgia. Sat., May 13, 6 p.m. APEX Museum, 135 Auburn Ave. Free. 770-234-5890. email@example.com.
· THE MEMORY OF A KILLER (R) A hit man stalking two targets in Belgium finds his final assignment complicated by Alzheimer's symptoms as two police officers track him down. Thurs., May 11. Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcft.
· 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.
· TURN LEFT AT THE END OF THE WORLD (2005) (NR) This coming-of-age story depicts the friendship between two girls -- one Indian-Jewish, the other Moroccan-Jewish -- in 1960s Israel. Film Festival of India. Fri., May 12, 8 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St. Free. 404-733-4570. www.high.org.
· AKEELAH AND THE BEE (PG) The spate of spelling bee films (Spellbound, Bee Season) continues with this tale of a girl (Keke Palmer) from Los Angeles attempting to compete in the National Spelling Bee. The cast includes What's Love Got to Do With It? co-stars Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne.
· AMERICAN DREAMZ 2 stars (PG-13) A befuddled U.S. president (Dennis Quaid doing a droll but superficial Dubya) and a reluctant suicide bomber (Sam Golzari) find themselves on a collision-course meeting via a televised singing contest clearly inspired by "American Idol." Dreamz features likable performers (including Hugh Grant as the caustic, self-loathing host), quotable jokes and a clever wrap-up, but disappointingly goes after easy targets in predictable way s. Writer-director Paul Weitz (American Pie, About a Boy) consistently avoids opportunities to put some real teeth in his satire. -- Curt Holman
· AN AMERICAN HAUNTING (PG-13) Sissy Spacek, Donald Sutherland and Rachel Hurd-Wood star in this "fact-based" horror flick about the so-called Bell Witch of Tennessee in the early 1800s.
· THE BENCHWARMERS (PG-13) David Spade, Rob Schneider and Jon "Napoleon Dynamite" Heder star as three losers who try to make up for their childhood incompetence at sports by forming a three-man team to take on actual Little Leaguers.
· BRICK 3 stars (R) Writer/director Rian Johnson catches fire with a seemingly lame premise: a convoluted mystery in the style of hard-boiled 1940s detective thrillers, set in a contemporary high school. But as brooding loner Brendan (a terrific Joseph Gordon-Levitt) tries to track down his troubled former girlfriend, Brick becomes both a compelling suspense story and an unusual portrait of teen angst from the inside out. The antiquated slang may not be authentic, but given that Brendan no doubt perceives himself as a noble, self-sacrificing hero worthy of Raymond Chandler, the lonely film-noir flourishes aptly fit his point of view. -- Holman
· L'ENFANT 4 stars (R) The socially conscious Dardenne brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre started as documentary makers, a sensibility and aesthetic they bring to the shaky camera work and fly-on-the-wall realism of their fiction films. This Palme d'Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival tracks an 18-year-old mother and her 20-year-old petty criminal boyfriend who are juggling new parenthood and a life on the streets. You feel like you are there on the streets with them, undergoing the same degradation and epiphanies and the effect is devastating. -- Feaster
· FRIENDS WITH MONEY 4 stars (R) Nicole Holofcener (Walking and Talking, Lovely & Amazing) brings her usual shrewdly observed, culturally astute read on modern anxiety to a group of Los Angeles friends worrying about aging, career, relationships and, yes, money. Frances McDormand, Jennifer Aniston, Joan Cusak and Catherine Keener lead this strong, woman-centric ensemble cast as sophisticated, privileged urbanites whose hip, busy lives as screenwriters and clothing designers don't necessarily keep unhappiness at bay. -- Feaster
· HARD CANDY 2 stars (R) A lurid, increasingly brain-dead shocker about a pedophile (Patrick Wilson) trapped and tortured by a revenge-minded teen (Ellen Page), this one is I Spit on Your Grave-brand exploitation for the cyber age. Music video veteran David Slade initially has an admirable grasp on his characters and their kinky courtship, but soon loses his cool. By film's end, Slade is trying to pass off his implausible, sensational thriller for some kind of feminist commentary, but nothing in the writing or direction warrants a deeper reading. -- Feaster
· HOOT (PG) Logan Lerman plays a young man who moves from Montana to Florida and fights developers to protect an owl habitat. This family-friendly film is based on the book for young readers by Carl Hiassen, whose mystery novels strike comedic gold in depicting Floridian misbehaviors.
· ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN (G) This sequel to the computer animated hit swaps the three-mammals-and-a-baby premise of the sequel for a Pleistocene romance between two mammoths (voiced by Ray Romano and Queen Latifah).
· IMAX THEATER Amazon (NR) This documentary traces the Amazon River from its source in the Andes mountains to the Amazon river basin and captures the beauty of its diverse wildlife. Through Aug. 18. Wild Safari: A South African Adventure (NR): This 5,000-mile journey from the lush grasslands of the Southern Cape to the desert expanse of the Kalahari tracks elephants, Cape buffaloes, rhinos, leopards and lions. Through June 2. Fernbank Museum of Natural History IMAX Theater, 767 Clifton Road. 404-929-6300. www.fernbank.edu.
· INSIDE MAN 4 stars (R) Spike Lee's Brian Grazer-produced Hollywood heist film makes a definite break from Lee's provocative, content-rich form, but this cops-and-robbers thriller also isn't without its subtext and subtle critiques. Denzel Washington, in engagingly laid-back mode, is a NYPD detective trying to salvage his tarnished reputation by negotiating with the ice-cold bank robber (Clive Owen) who has 50 hostages and a lot of cold, hard cash in his possession in a Wall Street bank. Lee's obvious interest in the bonhomie and friction that characterize NYC's melting pot and the ghosts of Sept. 11 that still linger give a semi-conventional plot line a little more heft. -- Feaster
· KINKY BOOTS 3 stars (PG-13) After the Price shoe factory goes bankrupt, its timid owner (Joel Edgerton) stumbles, literally, into a kinky-boot clad drag queen (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who helps spice up the business. Rote lessons about identity and second chances ensue, but it is Ejiofor (convincing as both a man and a woman,) who completely steals the show, elevating this otherwise humdrum and obvious story into something, well, kinky. Unlike the gender of its hero, the moral of this British burlesque is unmistakable -- behind every great man is a woman -- even if she turns out to be a man. -- Allison C. Keene
· LA MUJER DE MI HERMANO (R) A restless housewife (Mexican soap opera star Barbara Mori) begins an affair with her husband's brother in this steamy, Spanish-language erotic thriller.
· THE NOTORIOUS BETTIE PAGE 4 stars (R) Mary Harron, director of I Shot Andy Warhol and American Psycho, explores more extremes of gender politics in this deceptively lighthearted biopic of the 1950s' "Pin-Up Queen of the Universe." Gretchen Mol superbly captures the mixed feelings of the devout Christian sex goddess as she becomes an erotic fantasy figure. Though presented (mostly) in sleek black and white comparable to 1950s cautionary films, Bettie Page emphasizes the gray areas in the morality of kinks. -- Holman
· ONE LAST THING ... (R) A young man (Michael Angarano) with a terminal illness has a wish to spend a weekend with a supermodel (Sunny Mabrey) in this dark comedy with Cynthia Nixon and Gina Gershon.
· PHAT GIRLZ (PG-13) Mo'Nique plays an aspiring designer of plus-sized fashions who looks for love and acceptance in this comedy that co-stars Eric Roberts.
· THE PROMISE 2 stars (PG-13) The most expensive film in Chinese history, this mythic, operatic tale of love and fate relies on lavish visuals that manage to be lush and laughable all at once. The knotty love story features a cursed beauty, a proud general, a preening villain and a slave who can run (unconvincingly) like the Flash, but The Promise mostly offers acre upon acre of kitsch. You watch, jaw agape, at such sights as warriors wearing red pompoms or the supersonic man-on-man piggyback rides and marvel how anyone (including some respectable critics) have taken it seriously. -- Holman
· RV 2 stars (PG) In RV, Robin Williams merges his patented humor with a recognizably human character -- it's just a shame the vehicle that carries this engaging performance doesn't offer a smoother ride. Instead of looking at the tug-of-war between career and home, the movie reveals an obsession with labored slapstick and potty humor, meaning we get tiresome scenes in which Williams' character falls down hills or finds himself covered head-to-toe in fecal matter. By the end, the crudity is so excessive, it makes National Lampoon's Vacation look as sophisticated as The Accidental Tourist. -- Matt Brunson
· THE SENTINEL 2 stars (PG-13) Michael Douglas plays Harrison Ford and Kiefer Sutherland costars as Tommy Lee Jones in this slick thriller that tries to put one over on the audience but ends up only fooling itself. An appropriately constipated Douglas plays a Secret Service agent wrongly suspected of attempting to assassinate the U.S. President (David Rasche); it falls to his colleague and former friend (Sutherland) to track him down. The script runs out of steam long before the physically fit actors in the cast, leading to a string of unsatisfactory resolutions and tedious action set-pieces. Director Clark Johnson doubtless planned to deliver a hand-wringing thriller filled with unexpected twists and turns, but even good intentions can find themselves caught in the line of fire. -- Brunson
· SCARY MOVIE 4 2 stars (PG-13) Anna Faris and Regina Hall reprise their roles yet again for this irreverent, but mostly crude, send-up of pop culture, particularly horror movies. Some potentially clever moments of parody fall flat by lampooning material that's long past its expiration date, especially gags involving a certain Scientologist actor and daytime talk show host. Even moments like Dr. Phil (the real one) severing his own foot (the wrong one) in a send-up of Saw II couldn't save this farce. Like an old joke that's been told too many times, the Scary Movie franchise should have been severed after its third installment. -- Keene
· SILENT HILL (R) Despite the protests of her husband (Sean Bean), a frightened mother (Radha Mitchell) takes her gravely ill daughter to the otherworldly ghost town of Silent Hill in search of a cure. This style-drenched horror flick was written by Pulp Fiction co-scripter Roger Avary.
· STICK IT (PG-13) A rebellious young gymnast (Missy Peregrym) throws off-balance an elite gymnastics program run by a legendary trainer (Jeff Bridges).
· SOPHIE SCHOLL: THE FINAL DAYS 3 stars (NR) German national heroine Sophie Scholl (Julia Jentsch) and her brother, Hans (Fabian Hinrichs), were part of a small anti-Nazi resistance group, the White Rose, that defied the authorities by leafletting Munich University with anti-Hitler propaganda, an act of treason that ultimately led to a show trial and a death sentence. The Edukators' Jentsch brings dignity and fortitude to her portrait of Scholl, who refused to let her sex save her from her brother's fate and demanded to be punished for her crime just as a man would, defying stereotypes of female weakness and the Nazi consignment of women to compliant baby factories. -- Feaster
· TAKE THE LEAD (PG-13) Antonio Banderas plays a former professional dancer who volunteers to teach dance in the New York public school system in this inspirational-teacher flick with Alfre Woodard and Ray Liotta.
· THANK YOU FOR SMOKING 4 stars (R) Aaron Eckhart of In the Company of Men plays Nick Naylor, a proudly unprincipled tobacco lobbyist who tries simultaneously to be a professional liar and a good father. Smoking takes palpable delight at the double-speak of the spin industry -- Nick claims that lobbyists like him stick up for "little guys" like loggers, sweatshop owners and land mine developers -- and features many hilarious set pieces. As Nick weighs being a good role model to his son (Cameron Bright), the film never cops out by giving him a bogus change of heart, and he takes pride in his lack of integrity. -- Holman
· TRANSAMERICA 2 stars (R) Felicity Huffman ("Desperate Housewives") deserves praise for her well-observed performance as Bree Osbourne, a pre-op male-to-female transsexual anxiously awaiting her sex change operation. A hitch is thrown in her plan when an adult son (Kevin Zegers) she didn't know she had turns up and the pair drive from New York to California, meeting various kooks along the way. For a road movie about a trannie trying to keep her true gender a secret from her male prostitute son, Transamerica is a weirdly conventional film which ends up making Bree's prissy she-male ways the butt of too many jokes. -- Feaster
· TSOTSI 2 stars (R) Winner of this year's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Gavin Hood's crime drama tracks the change of heart of a vicious thug (Presley Chweneyagae) after he accidentally kidnaps a baby. For the first 10 minutes, Tsotsi has the street-wise energy of City of God or early Martin Scorsese, but the redemption themes play with a disappointingly heavy hand in Hood's adaptation of the novel by playwright Athol Fugard. -- Holman
· UNITED 93 3 stars (R) Director Paul Greengrass and a cast of relative unknowns (including air traffic controllers playing themselves) re-create the hijacking of United Airlines Flight 93, as well as the first response to the Sept. 11 attacks on the ground. Greengrass handles explosive material with taste and respect to create a visceral experience that places audience members in the seats alongside terrorists and hostages alike. Greengrass' approach, however, also causes the ordinary heroes to blur together, so the undeniably harrowing film has surprisingly little staying power. -- Holman
· THE WILD 1 star (G) Comparisons to Dreamworks' similar (and superior) Madagascar prove unnecessary to point out the myriad shortcomings of The Wild, which manages to be abysmal on its own terms. Apart from the impressively lifelike CGI animation, everything about this toxic toon is intolerable, especially the sidekicks who accompany Samson the lion (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland) as he leaves the comforts of the New York zoo to search for his wayward son in a faraway jungle. Nigel the koala (Eddie Izzard) rates a special mention, emerging as the most loathsome animated character since Martin Short's insufferable robot in Treasure Planet. -- Brunson
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