Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of recently released movies

Opening Friday

· BEERFEST (R) See review.

· HOW TO EAT FRIED WORMS (PG) Based on Thomas Rockwell's book, this film depicts an 11-year-old boy (Luke Benwald) who accepts a bully's challenge to eat 10 worms in one day. Tom Cavanaugh and Kimberly Williams co-star.

· GABRIELLE (Not Rated) Isabelle Huppert and Pascal Gregory star in this French drama about fraying marriage, based on Joseph Conrad's short story "The Return."

· THE GROOMSMEN (R) Edward Burns, the writer/director/star of The Brothers McMullen and other even less memorable films, fulfills triple duty again as a bridegroom who, along with his four attendants (Donal Logue, Matthew Lillard, John Leguizamo and Jay Mohr), wrestle with masculine maturity issues.

· IDLEWILD (R) See review.

· THE ILLUSIONIST 4 stars (PG-13) In this twisty, arresting drama set in early 20th century Vienna, Edward Norton plays a Houdini-style magician obsessed with the fiancée (Jessica Biel) of the sadistic crown prince (Rufus Sewell). Some of the period-piece details prove a little unsteady, but overall writer-director Neil Burger spins a clever, compelling yarn that appreciates the power of stage magic to both seize your attention and confound your expectations. -- Curt Holman

· INVINCIBLE (PG) In this inspirational, based-on-a-true-story sports film, Mark Wahlberg plays a 30-year-old substitute teacher and part-time bartender who attends his hometown football team's open tryout and, against all odds, becomes a professional football player. Greg Kinnear plays the coach.

· THE PROTECTOR (NR) An international mafia syndicate steals two beloved elephants from Kham, a Thai martial arts expert, who had planned to present the large animals to the king of Thailand. Kham must travel to foreign land and take on the mafia to get the elephants back.

· THE PUFFY CHAIR (R) A would-be rocker (played by Mark Duplass, the film's screenwriter) travels cross-country to deliver his father's reclining chair in this no-budget sleeper comedy.

Duly Noted

· ATLANTA UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL (NR) The third annual festival of edgy independent shorts and feature films includes programs of animation, musical documentaries, "religious reality features" and such Atlanta-based films as Psychopathia Sexualis. Aug. 23-27. $5-$30. Eyedrum, 290 MLK Drive, Suite 8. 404-522-0655; and Cinefest, GSU University Center. 66 Courtland St, Suite 211. 404-651-3565.

· CARS 4 stars (G) In an alternate America populated by talking, thinking automobiles, a racing rookie (voiced by Owen Wilson) gets waylaid in a dying Route 66 tourist trap and gradually learns to appreciate small-town values. The predictable plot keeps Cars from competing in the class of such computer-animated masterpieces as Finding Nemo, but Pixar's seventh cartoon feature benefits from gorgeous visuals, breezy comedic timing and affection for the roadside attractions and car culture of yesteryear. Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival. $8. Aug. 20 at 3 and 8 p.m. Fox Theatre. 660 Peachtree St. 404-881-2100. -- Holman

· DISTRICT B-13 3 stars (R) In sort of a Euro-Disney version of Escape From New York, a high-jumping underworld Robin Hood (David Belle) and a two-fisted undercover cop (Cyril Raffaelli) break into a walled-off Parisian ghetto to disarm a neutron bomb. Written by La Femme Nikita director Luc Besson, this virtually plotless action flick never slows down enough to worry that it makes no sense. With fights and chases worthy of Jackie Chan, District B-13 turns out to be a deliriously fun guilty pleasure worthy of the drive-in, despite its French pedigree. Aug. 25-Sep. 7. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. 404-651-3565. -- Holman

· INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989) 3 stars (PG-13) The Indiana Jones trilogy slows to a halt as Indy (Harrison Ford) rescues his bookish dad (Sean Connery) from Nazi no-goodniks. The prologue, with River Phoenix's young Indiana Jones racing around a circus train, proves more fun than the rest of the film, but you can't deny the matinee-idol charisma of Ford and Connery. Through Aug. 24. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. 404-651-3565. -- Holman

· MAXX (2005) (NR) Iran's biggest hit of 2005, this political comedy depicts a gauche Iranian-born Los Angeles nightclub singer, mistakenly invited to Tehran for a tribute concert. $7. Fri., Aug. 25, 8 and 10 p.m., Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-4570.

· A PIECE OF BREAD (2005) (NR) A bullying military officer, a condescending mullah and a naïve army recruit investigate claims that an illiterate old woman is a faith healer. $7. Sat. Aug. 26. 8 p.m., Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Theatre. 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-4570.

· 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.


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