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Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of recently released films

Opening Friday

1408 (PG-13) Stephen King's twisted mind and extensive collection spawn yet another horror flick, brought to life this time by Swedish director Mikael Håfström. John Cusack plays a skeptical horror novelist checking into the Dolphin Hotel's infamous room 1408.

EVAN ALMIGHTY (PG) Morgan Freeman returns as God for director Tom Shadyac's (Liar Liar, Bruce Almighty) latest Heaven-sent comedy in which Congressman Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) follows his divinely inspired calling to build an ark.

A MIGHTY HEART 3 stars (R) See review.

LA VIE EN ROSE 5 stars (PG-13) See review.

PAPRIKA 4 stars (R) See review.

SEPTEMBER DAWN (R) Academy Award winner Jon Voight stars as Jacob Samuelson in co-writer/director Christopher Cain's fictionalized love story set against the historical backdrop of the 1857 Mountain Meadows massacre in Utah of more than 100 men, women and children settlers at the hands of Mormons.

SHOWBUSINESS: THE ROAD TO BROADWAY (PG) Director Dori Berinstein's documentary explores one of the most compelling and controversial Broadway seasons. Features interviews with Tony Kushner, Alan Cumming, Kristen Chenoweth, Boy George and a host of New York theater critics.

Duly Noted

BREACH (PG-13) To catch veteran FBI agent Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper) in the act of selling secrets to the Soviets, Eric O'Neill (Ryan Phillippe) must gain the traitor's trust in director Billy Ray's biopic thriller. Flicks on 5th. Wed., June 27. Georgia Tech, Technology Square. 404-894-2805. www.flickson5th.com. FUNNY GIRL (1968) Director William Wyler's fictionalized musical biopic of comedienne Fanny Brice, played by Barbra Streisand, chronicling her life from her early days in the slums of the Lower East Side of Manhattan to the height of her career as a star in the Ziegfield Follies. Screen on the Green. Thurs., June 21 at dusk. Piedmont Park meadow near 10th Street and Monroe Drive. Free. 404-878-2600.

PLAGUES AND PLEASURES ON THE SALTON SEA (2004) Filmmakers Chris Metzler and Jeff Sringer tell the tale of California's Salton Sea, one of the worst ecological disaster areas in this country, in a documentary narrated by John Waters. Fri., June 22. Eyedrum, Suite 8, 290 MLK Jr. Drive. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.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 SCARLET PIMPERNEL (1934) Leslie Howard plays English aristocrat Sir Percy Blakeney, whose alter ego, the Scarlet Pimpernel, dashes off to France to save the country's nobility from Robespierre's Reign of Terror in director Harold Young's screen adaptation of Baroness Emmuska Orczy's classic novel. Sat., June 23. The High Museum, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-4955. www.high.org.

Continuing

28 WEEKS LATER 3 stars (R) Following the outbreak of the "rage" virus in Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later that turned most of the population of mainland Britain into crazed berserkers, this sequel takes up after the crisis has passed -- or so it seems. Under U.S. military control, English civilians such as a haunted father (Robert Carlyle) and his two children (Imogen Poots and Mackintosh Muggleton) move back to a London safe zone until all hell breaks loose again. Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo may surpass Boyle's ability to craft jittery, unnerving thrill scenes, but the script's harsh anti-U.S. sensibility relies on plot points too nonsensical to be easily ignored in the film's last half-hour. -- Curt Holman

AFTER THE WEDDING 3 stars (R) One of this year's Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language film, this Danish drama depicts a schoolteacher in India (Casino Royale's bad guy Mads Mikkelsen) who returns to his native Denmark to woo a potential philanthropist and, at a wedding, discovers family ties he didn't know he had. Thanks to the cast's realistic responses to some melodramatic plot points and Susanne Bier's energetic storytelling, After the Wedding combines fish-out-of-water humor and heated family conflicts without feeling like a Danish soap opera. -- Holman

AWAY FROM HER 5 stars (PG-13) An exceptionally accomplished and thoughtful directorial debut feature from the actress Sarah Polley. An absolutely luminous Julie Christie delivers one of the best performances of her career as a Canadian woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease, who along with her husband (Gordon Pinsent) makes the difficult decision to enter a nursing home. What happens after she does is unpredictable, emotionally harrowing and an incredibly moving statement about marriage, old age, death and dying. Not to be missed. -- Felicia Feaster

BLACK BOOK 4 stars (R) In the Netherlands in 1944, a Jewish fugitive (Carice van Houten) turns femme fatale as an anti-Nazi resistance fighter, only to discover that things aren't as black-and-white as it seems. Dutch director Paul Verhoeven returns to his homeland after making such lurid, visceral Hollywood product as Basic Instinct, Showgirls and Starship Troopers, with results that can be both thrilling and ridiculously melodramatic. Instead of coming across as a caricature of femininity, Van Houten's star-making performance always feel credible and anchors the film despite its borderline-ludicrous plot twists. -- Holman

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