· THE BROTHERS GRIMM (PG-13) Inveterate scenery chewer and slapstick fan Terry Gilliam directs the blandly Caucasian team of Matt Damon and Heath Ledger in an annoyingly manic action-adventure yarn. The two 19th-century German brothers Wilhelm and Jacob, who wrote fairy tales like "Rapunzel" and "Snow White," become swashbuckling adventurers in screenwriter Ehren Kruger's hands. The brothers fight to exorcise a haunted German forest of its ghouls. A tangled, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink storyline proves Gilliam was not paying attention when he re-read all of those simple but effective Grimm tales. See review. -- Felicia Feaster 1 star
· THE CAVE (PG-13) A group of divers trapped in subterranean tunnels must fend off bloodthirsty monsters. Probably no great shakes, but the tagline has haiku-like perfection: "Beneath Heaven there is Hell. And beneath Hell there is ... The Cave!"
· 9 SONGS (NR) A British glaciologist (Kieran O'Brien) goes to rock concerts with a free-spirited American chick (Margo Stilley), and then they have sex in his room. That's pretty much the plot of this already notorious film from 24 Hour Party People director Michael Winterbottom. The flick lives up to its claims for having the most explicit, unsimulated sex scenes of any non-pornographic film. Surprisingly dreary, you end up enjoying the groovy performances by Franz Ferdinand, Primal Scream and the Dandy Warhols more than the sex acts of the vacuous hedonists. Winterbottom's erotic ideas amount to: "Here are the naughty bits, and later we'll show you how they fit together." He could have given 9 Songs the title 24 Hour Pubic People. -- Curt Holman 2 stars
· UNDISCOVERED (PG-13) A group of aspiring entertainers try to establish careers in Los Angeles. (Hey, isn't this the plot of every sitcom on HBO?) The cast includes Carrie Fisher, Ashlee Simpson, Peter Weller and assorted hotties.
· THE CONSTANT GARDENER 4 stars (R) See review.
· ATLANTA UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL (NR) See preview.
· BEAUTIFUL CITY (2004) (NR) When a young killer faces the death penalty, a friend tries to spare his life by obtaining forgiveness from the victim's father. Iranian Film Today. Fri., Aug. 26, 8 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St. $5. 404-733-4570. www.high.org.
· 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.
· THE TEAR OF THE COLD (NR) Two "political" enemies -- an Iranian soldier and a Kurd shepherdess -- must put aside their differences when a blizzard strands them together in an isolated cave. Iranian Film Today. Sat., Aug. 27, 8 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St. $5. 404-733-4570. www.high.org.
· 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 very 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. -- Holman 4 stars
· ASYLUM (R) Natasha Richardson and Marton Csokas mix erotic heat and morbid despair in this superior, low-key gothic rendition of British novelist Patrick McGrath's novel. Richardson plays the wife of a superintendent at a mental hospital whose life takes a drastic turn when she begins an affair with a patient diagnosed with "morbid jealousy." Ian McKellen is equally captivating, vain and wounded, too, as the doctor who attempts to treat both lovers. The film explores the nature of sexual obsession as experienced by both the sane and the sick, and bites off other juicy topics including British social decorum, consuming romantic and maternal love and the often strange bonds between doctor and patient. -- Feaster 4 stars
· BAD NEWS BEARS Hollywood's penchant for recycling continues with this update of the 1976 film about a beer-guzzling guy (Walter Matthau) who turns a team of Little League misfits into contenders. Alas, the underdog angle has since suffered from overexposure, and in today's anything-goes society, the sight of 12-year-olds cussing like sailors no longer carries any novelty -- if anything, the incessant scatological humor in this new take grows tiresome. Billy Bob Thornton (in Bad Santa mode) is funny as the uncouth coach, though his character -- harsher than Matthau's -- seems out of place in a movie that's being positioned as a family film. -- Matt Brunson 2 stars
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