· AEON FLUX (PG-13) Charlize Theron wears a figurative cat suit, not a literal one, but otherwise traces Halle "Catwoman" Berry's paw-prints by following an Oscar-winning performance with a role as a seductively dressed, ass-kicking male fantasy figure (in this case, based on MTV's series of violent cartoons).
· DORIAN BLUES ** (NR) At times suggesting a cream puff version of Gregg Araki's Mysterious Skin, this meringue-light indie directed by first-timer Tennyson Bardwell is a gay coming-of-age dramedy with the look and feel of a John Hughes 1980s teen comedy. Michael McMillian plays a cute gay teen having a hard time explaining his homosexuality to his conservative, homophobic father in a story line that tries desperately to cover moments of goofy physical comedy and a violent homosexual near-rape in its all-over-the-board progress. -- Felicia Feaster
· FIRST DESCENT (PG-13) From the press release: "First Descent chronicles the rebellious, inspiring and sometimes controversial rise of snowboarding." One can assume this documentary will be "extreme" -- but just how extreme will it get?
· PROTOCOLS OF ZION ** (NR) See review on page 46.
· SARAH SILVERMAN: JESUS IS MAGIC *** (NR) See review on page 45.
· ALMOST HOME (NR) This award-winning documentary recounts the stories of senior citizens, their children, nursing assistants and a visionary nursing home director. Tues., Dec. 6, 7 p.m. Central Congregational United Church of Christ, 2676 Clairmont Road. Free. 404-979-2863. www.itvs.org/outreach.
· THE ARISTOCRATS **** (NR) George Carlin, Gilbert Gottfried, Sarah Silverman, John Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg and scores of other comedians take turns telling -- or commenting on -- an old, notoriously offensive joke usually reserved for other comedians instead of their audiences. Depending on your tolerance for humor based on every imaginable human depravity, you might not always find The Aristocrats a funny gag, but this documentary (from Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette) earns some honest laughs while offering fascinating -- and uncomfortable -- insights into the minds of professional jokemeisters. Through Dec. 1. Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcft. -- Curt Holman
· KAMIKAZE GIRLS (NR) Momoko, a girl obsessed with 18th-century France, brings some quirky life to a dull town in commercial Japan. Dec. 2-8. Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcft.
· KING KONG Atlanta plays host to a gala, red-carpet prescreening of King Kong in Atlantic Station (one week before the worldwide release on Dec. 14) to raise money for the Atlanta-based Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. Wed., Dec. 7, 5:30 p.m. Regal Cinemas, Atlantic Station, 261 19th St. $75-$500. 404-347-9894. www.gorillafund.org.
· THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN (1982) (NR) As a man spends seven years recovering from tuberculosis in an alpine sanitarium, he rediscovers life in the midst of death. Wed., Dec. 7, 7 p.m. Goethe Institut Atlanta, 1197 Peachtree St. $3-$4. 404-892-2388. www.goethe.de/ins/us/atl/enindex.
· 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.
· BALZAC AND THE LITTLE CHINESE SEAMSTRESS (NR) Set in China near the end of the cultural revolution of the early 1970s, the film focuses on a love triangle that develops between two best friends, Luo (Kun Chen) and Ma (Ye Liu), and a tailor's daughter.
· BEE SEASON *** (PG-13) For the sake of variety, we need more spirituality in cinema, which makes Bee Season a blessing even if its haphazardness makes it something of a curse. When 9-year-old Eliza Naumann (excellent Flora Cross) suddenly blossoms as a spelling champ, her college professor dad (Richard Gere) suspects she might be a modern-day mystic able to connect directly with God through language. Yet as he devotes all his energy to her, he fails to notice the increasingly bizarre behavior of his wife (Juliette Binoche). Binoche struggles to carry her unwieldy subplot, so clumsily presented that it repeatedly threatens to sink the entire film. Yet the efforts of the other characters to navigate their own spiritual waters remain compelling, even if it leads to a finale that isn't powerful as much as it's puzzling. -- Matt Brunson
· CAPOTE ***** (R) It's hard to take your eyes off Philip Seymour Hoffman as the vain, brilliant, manipulative and also haunted writer Truman Capote. Shrugging off the limitations of the usual biopic story arc, Bennett Miller's absorbing, thought-provoking, extremely well-crafted first fiction film (he directed the documentary The Cruise) focuses on a small but significant portion of Capote's life during the researching of his groundbreaking work of true crime nonfiction In Cold Blood, and the unhealthy mutual dependency that develops between the writer and one of the killers (Clifton Collins) of a Kansas farm family. -- Feaster
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