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Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of recently reviewed movies

Opening Friday

DEAD SILENCE (R) Newlyweds Jamie and Lisa Ashen (Ryan Kwanten, Ella Ashen) have established a new life for themselves far from their hometown of Ravens Fair -- a sleepy, near-forgotten blip on the map haunted by late-night whispers and ghost stories from generations past. But when his wife is gruesomely murdered, Jamie reluctantly returns to Ravens Fair for the funeral, intent on unraveling the mystery surrounding her death. Directed by James Wan (Saw).

GLASTONBURY (R) 3 stars. See review.

I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE (R) 2 stars. See review.

OLD JOY (NR) 5 stars. See review.

PREMONITION (PG-13) 3 stars. See review.

Duly Noted

ISABELLA (2006) The story of a world-weary cop, Ma Chen-Shing (Chapman To), and the homeless young woman Cheung Bik-yan (Isabella Leong), who claims to be his daughter, Ho-Cheung Pang's film takes place in Macau during the summer of 1999, just before the city returns to Chinese control after centuries of Portuguese rule. In Cantonese with English subtitles. Hong Kong Panorama. Fri., March 16. 8 p.m., Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Theatre. 1280 Peachtree St. $7. 404-733-4570. www.high.org.

RIDICULE (1996) A young nobleman and engineer (Charles Berling) travels to Paris hoping for an audience with King Louis XVI to discuss funding his irrigation project but realizes that the only way to navigate the court is through his sharp wit. Directed by Patrice Leconte. In French with English subtitles. From Royalty to Revolution. Sat., March 17. 8 p.m., Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Theatre. 1280 Peachtree St. $7. 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.

Continuing

300 (R) 4 stars. In 480 B.C., 300 Spartan warriors stand against an army of hundreds of thousands in an ultraviolent action epic that makes the Hercules and Conan movies look like flailing slap-fights. Like Sin City, Frank Miller adapts his macho graphic novel, and all the backgrounds are computer-generated; unlike Sin City, Miller's painterly images don't overwhelm the emotional investment of such actors as Gerard Butler and Lena Headey as Sparta's king and queen. If it plays like the biggest army recruiting commercial ever made (particularly given that the bad guys are Iranians -- I mean, Persians), 300 nevertheless conquers its own overwrought tendencies to offer a larger-than-life spectacle. -- Curt Holman

AMAZING GRACE (PG) 3 stars. Director Michael Apted (49 Up) examines the attempts of British reformers in Parliament led by William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd) to end the Empire's slave trade toward the end of the 18th century. While Apted's own attempts to quicken the film's extended storyline spanning nearly two decades by using flashbacks falls a bit short, the compelling subject matter and Gruffudd's earnest performance are engaging enough. Veteran British actors Albert Finney and Michael Gambon offer supporting roles, with Finney as a repentant slave-ship captain who eventually penned the famous gospel song of the movie's title. -- David Lee Simmons

THE ASTRONAUT FARMER (PG) 2 stars. Charles Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton) is a Midwestern rancher and dad with a devoted wife (Virginia Madsen), whose secret passion is to ride the rocket he is building in his barn into space. Directors Mark and Michael Polish's film is an attempt to revisit the kind of idealized American small town and man-with-a-dream that propelled the 1930s and '40s films of Frank Capra. But instead, this improbable, ham-fisted attempt at homespun message film feels hopelessly contrived, full of nostalgia for a time when men were men and women were women and all was right in America. -- Felicia Feaster

BACKSTAGE (NR) A groupie (Isild Le Besco) becomes involved in the life of her idol (Emmanuelle Seigner), a singer similar to Debbie Harry in this thriller written and directed by Emmanuelle Bercot.

BECAUSE I SAID SO 1 star. A nasty piece of cinema posing as a romantic comedy, Because I Said So is this year's Monster-In-Law, a vicious stab at the maternal instinct that also manages to humiliate the iconic actress at its center. Diane Keaton headlines the film as Daphne, a 59-year-old woman who still dotes on her youngest daughter, Milly (Mandy Moore). Determined to find Mr. Right for Milly, Daphne interviews prospective suitors and settles on a wealthy architect (Tom Everett Scott), but her plans are upset by the additional presence of a struggling musician (Gabriel Macht). For all its faults, the movie's most unforgivable sin is its treatment of the great Diane Keaton: Watching her humiliated on camera in the service of such a loathsome character is inexcusable. Just a few years ago, Keaton played a character who was sexy, funny and intelligent in Something's Gotta Give. This one's more like Something Gave Out. -- Matt Brunson

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