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Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of recently reviewed films

Opening Friday

ACADEMY AWARD SHORTS (NR) Landmark presents two programs of the complete nominees of the upcoming Oscars in both the live-action and animated-short-film categories. Notables include "West Bank Story," about rival falafel stands against the backdrop of the Middle Eastern conflict, and "Lifted," a comic tale about alien abduction from Cars creator Pixar.

BREACH (PG-13) Based on The Eleventh Hour by Adam Mazer and Bill Rotko and inspired by true events, Breach is a dramatic thriller (starring Ryan Phillippe and Chris Cooper) set inside the halls of the FBI -- the gatekeeper of the nation's most sensitive and potentially volatile secrets.


GHOST RIDER (PG-13) Oscar winner Nicolas Cage has a superhero fixation: He named himself after "Luke Cage, Power Man," gave his son Superman's Kryptonian name "Kal-El" and almost played the Man of Steel in the 1990s. As a consolation prize, he steps into comic-book cinema as Ghost Rider, an obscure Marvel Comics hero from the 1970s, playing a motorcyclist cursed with a flaming skull and hellfire powers who chooses to fight against the forces of evil (embodied by former Easy Rider Peter Fonda).

Duly Noted

BEAR HUG (2004) (NR) Director Wang Shaudi considers how the headlong pursuit of material success in contemporary Taipei takes its toll on families in this touching comedic drama. Sharply written and leavened by bittersweet humor, Bear Hug was an award-winner at Taiwan's Golden Horse Film Festival. Celebrating Taiwan's Cinema. Fri. Feb. 16. 8 p.m., Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Theatre. 1280 Peachtree St. $7. 404-733-4570.

THE BRIDGE (1959) (NR) One of the most powerful antiwar films ever made, this award-winning film vividly depicts the defense of a strategically useless bridge by seven Bavarian schoolboys. The plan was to withdraw them and blow up the bridge. Not aware of this, the boys take their orders very seriously. They refuse to leave their posts even when fleeing German troops retreat across the bridge. Looking at History. Wed., Feb. 21, 7 p.m. Goethe-Institut Atlanta, 1197 Peachtree St. $3-$4. 404-894-2388.

FACTOR 8: THE ARKANSAS PRISON BLOOD SCANDAL (NR) For more than two decades, the Arkansas prison system profited from selling blood plasma from inmates infected with viral hepatitis and AIDS. Thousands of unwitting victims who received transfusions of a product called Factor 8 made from this blood died as a result. Thurs., Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site Screening Room, 450 Auburn Ave. Free. 404-352-4225.

LINDA LINDA LINDA (NR) Three girls from Shiba High must put together a rock band for the musical talent show. Their plan is to cover three songs from the popular Japanese punk band the Blue Hearts, "My Right Hand," "Endless Song" and their big hit "Linda Linda." Former Smashing Pumpkins member James Iha provides the score to this humorous and delightful film. Feb. 16-22. Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565.

MARIE ANTOINETTE 3 stars (PG-13) Eighteenth-century Versailles meets high school in Sofia Coppola's confectionery, girly-girl take on France's most famous teenage queen. Kirsten Dunst is pearly perfection as the Austrian babe traded to the French as the wife to future King of France XVI (Jason Schwartzman), who prefers his hunting dude pals to making babies with Marie. Coppola has never failed to let her cool-girl flag fly, and her injection of '80s pop tunes and California attitude into the 18th-century royal court is often a gas. But it's not enough to cover for Marie A's distinct lack of an inner life (gazing wistfully out of windows doesn't count), or some compelling take on this famous female rebel. Feb. 9-15. Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. -- Felicia Feaster

THE MESSAGE (1976) (NR) As part of Islamic Awareness Week, Cinefest presents free screenings of The Message, a controversial 1976 film about the foundation of Islam featuring Anthony Quinn, Irene Papas and Michael Ansara. Feb. 12, 14 and 16. Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. Free. 404-651-3565.

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.


BABEL 4 stars (R) A freak mishap has far-reaching repercussions that effect the lives of a pair of American tourists (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett), two young Moroccan shepherds, a Mexican nanny (Adriana Barraza) and a deaf Japanese teenager (Rinko Kikuchi). Amores Perros director Alejandro González Iñárritu presents another gripping, gritty and well-acted set of intersecting narratives that feature raw performances (particularly from Rinko Kikuchi) and moments of nearly unbearable suspense. On reflection, Iñárritu's themes of language, globalization and human connection don't quite come together, but Babel's passion and visceral image give it power that transcends borders. -- Curt Holman

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