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Opening Friday

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

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Opening Friday
BEST IN SHOW (PG-13) Mockumentarian Christopher Guest reunites his Waiting for Guffman collaborators (including Eugene Levy, Parker Posey and Catherine O'Hara) for a similar venture about the eccentric participants at a national dog show. A bit disappointingly, Guest and company rely on easy targets (tacky middle Americans and fatuous city dwellers) but also show a surprising affection for canine pageants and their four-legged contestants. -- CH

THE CONTENDER (R) An all-star cast is featured in this drama about politics, scandal and the lengths people will go to for power and influence. Sen. Laine Hanson (Joan Allen) is a serious contender for the Vice Presidential nomination until a sex scandal erupts, threatening to assassinate her good name. The movie delves into the politics behind politics in Washington, a place where your motives determine your morals.

DR. T AND THE WOMEN (R) 1/2 Robert Altman follows up last year's sleeper, Cookie's Fortune, with another laid-back venture down South, depicting a beloved Dallas OB-GYN (Richard Gere) whose personal and professional life is inundated with women (including Helen Hunt, Farrah Fawcett and Kate Hudson). The film's tone, music and performances couldn't be more agreeable, but it never makes much of a point and tries to convey an appreciation for women while, paradoxically, painting most of them as foolish or flighty. -- CH

LADIES' MAN (R) The "Saturday Night Live" skit makes its big-screen debut with the help of Leon Phelps, a randy talk show host trapped in a 1970s state-of-mind. After Leon gets canned for his lewd comments and bad advice, he must figure out which of his wealthy ex-lovers sent him a letter begging for a second chance. To find the potential benefactress, Leon has to deal with a number of wacked-out women and their angry husbands.

LOST SOULS (R) The world is once again in danger of unholy terror as Satan prepares to make an entrance by taking over the body of a man (Ben Chaplin of The Truth About Cats and Dogs). This time, however, Winona Ryder and a team of exorcists will attempt to prevent the Anti-Christ from materializing. Fresh off the Autumn in New York debacle, the film marks Ryder's return to doing what she does best -- playing the inwardly tortured misfit.

URBANIA (R) Not to be confused with the Urban Legends slasher flicks, Urbania is a dark journey into the psyche of Charlie (Dan Futterman), a haunted man struggling to come to terms with his sexuality and past. Through flashbacks, the movie shows how urban legends have affected his life.

Duly Noted
THE ADVENTURES OF GOD Argentine director Eliseo Subiela's latest film is a psychological thriller with a Hitchcock-esque twist. A young couple finds themselves trapped in a surreal 1930s seaside hotel with an eccentric group of guests. Their investigation of the mysterious situation leads them to believe one of the offbeat characters might be dreaming them up. Subiela will introduce the film, which is in Spanish with subtitles. Fils at the High, 2000 Latin-American Film Festival, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m., Rich Auditorium.

BUT I'M A CHEERLEADER! (R) 1/2 Director Jamie Babbit's first feature-length film is a queer coming-of-age story about an otherwise American-as-apple-pie girl. Megan (Natasha Lyonne) is a cross-wearing, pom-pom toting cheerleader, going steady with the captain of the football team. Her parents, however, are worried about the posters of Melissa Etheridge on her wall, her boyfriend suspects she doesn't enjoy kissing him, and her fellow cheerleaders think she's overly affectionate. They stage an intervention to save Megan from her homosexual tendencies, and send her off to a rehabilitation camp for homosexuals, True Directions, where RuPaul, out of drag, plays an "ex-gay" counselor. Oct. 13-19 at GSU's cinéfest. -- KL

CHILDREN OF HEAVEN Set in Tehran, the Iranian film is a heart-warming tale of two children who go to extraordinary lengths to cover up the theft of a pair of school shoes. Since his family is too poor to buy his sister new shoes, Ali hatches a plan to share his pair with his sister. Unfortunately, the scheme gets complicated as the duo fall into one sticky situation after another. Peachtree International Film Society, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m., Cinevison.

DARK SIDE OF THE HEART The dark comedy follows a narcissistic poet who rejects all opportunities for love in an attempt to locate his ideal mate, a woman who can fly. When Oliverio finally meets her, he's devastated to learn that the prostitute wants to keep the affair strictly professional. Director Eliseo Subiela's 1992 film is in Spanish with subtitles. Films at the High, 2000 Latin-American Film Festival, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m., Rich Auditorium.

LAST IMAGES OF THE SHIPWRECK In his 1989 film, director Eliseo Subiela takes his audience on a magical journey through poverty-stricken Buenos Aires. The movie centers on a down-on-his-luck clerk who becomes embroiled in a passionate love affair with a blue-collar woman. When her colorful family gets involved, the clerk's world is turned upside down. Subiela will introduce the feature, which is in Spanish with subtitles. Films at the High, 2000 Latin-American Film Festival, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m., Rich Auditorium.

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