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Short subjectives


Opening Friday

JESUS' SON The modestly comic, tragic and surreal life of a hapless junkie (Billy Crudup) both captures the episodic nature of Denis Johnson's original, semi-autobiographical book and the non-sequiturs of a drug addict's conversation. The redemptive final act isn't as compelling as the hallucinatory comedy that comes before, but the film features fittingly casual performances from Crudup, Samantha Morton, Denis Leary and Holly Hunter, as well as the fiendish scene-stealer, Jack Black. --CH

THE KID (PG) Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis)is a 40-year-old image consultant who bends the space-time continuum when he's given the chance to meet himself at age eight in Disney's latest celluloid venture.

SCARY MOVIE (R) A ribald comedy from the creators of I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, this spoof of horror films and teen sex comedies leaves no cliché (nor any supporting character) unskewered. Although weakened by vulgar jokes aimed at retarded and gay characters, it amply illustrates that comedy always has a victim; and though there are human victims aplenty here (including American Pie's shapely Shannon Elizabeth), Scary Movie most gleefully eviscerates Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Blair Witch Project. -- GN

Duly Noted

CROSSROADS This "found-footage" film is a look at the mushroom-cloud aesthetics of nuclear fission. From several vantage points, a camera was placed around a nuclear blast to learn more about the effects of this singular event. Hazard provides the soundtrack. July 8 at GSU's cinéfest.

HOLY SMOKE (R) An audacious sexual face-off on the Australian outback between a cult deprogrammer (Harvey Keitel) and a petulant, brainwashed suburban princess (Kate Winslet), who's found religion on a trip to India. Jane Campion's Holy Smoke may not be perfect, but it's the kind of wild-eyed endeavor that restores your faith in cinema -- filmmakers who still take nervy chances and the actors who follow them gladly into the cinematic wilderness. July 7-13 at GSU's cinéfest. -- FF

HONG KONG ACTION WEEK: You're thinking about not seeing a movie called Naked Killer? What are you, some kinda Communist? This insanely exploitative call-girl/assassin thriller and its companion piece, The Executioners, about a fetching trio of ass-kicking post-Apocalyptic super-women, reflect the dizzying, Baroque excess that marks the Hong Kong cinema in the wild 'n' wooly years before the colony was returned to China. Don't miss 'em, 'cause they don't make 'em like this anymore! June 30-July 6 at GSU's cinéfest.

NORTH BY NORTHWEST Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint star in this Hitchcock master-thriller that ends in a hair-raising chase across the faces of Mount Rushmore. The film kicks off "Killer Thrillers" month of the Summer 2000 Films at the High series. July 8, 8 p.m. The High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St.

TOY STORY 2 (G) Woody and Buzz Lightyear have more adventures in this computer-animated sequel to Disney and Pixar's 1995 film. July 6 at 8 p.m. at the Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St.


THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE (PG) The blend of animation and live action does complete justice to Jay Ward's original cartoon series, finding no pun or one-liner to corny for use. Though the film is studded with cameos and Jason Alexander, Rene Russo and producer Robert De Niro have fun as the cartoonish villains, "moose and squirrel" themselves, as oblivious but morally upright as ever, steal the show. -- CH

THE BIG KAHUNA (R) Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito and newcomer Peter Facinelli star in this stifling adaptation of a stage play, in which three salesmen talk about issues of God and character at a convention's hospitality suite. Apart from finding parallels between salesmen and born again Christians, the over-explicit film says nothing that Glengarry Glen Ross doesn't say with 10 times the depth and passion. Seeing the Oscar-winning Spacey here is like watching a Wimbledon pro hit tennis balls against a garage door. -- CH

BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE (PG-13) Martin Lawrence plays an FBI agent who masquerades as Nia Long's grandmother to catch her escaped bank robber boyfriend (Terrence Howard, giving good sinister) and find his $2 million stash. Paul Giamatti scores some laughs as Martin's partner and Long is an appealing foil. You can't take it as seriously as Tootsie or Mrs. Doubtfire, but even on its own terms the ending strains credibility too far. This is no work of art but it won't surprise or disappoint those who want to see it. -- SW

BOSSA NOVA (R) When Bruno Barreto's romantic comedy emulates the relaxed pace and sensuality of bossa nova music, it can be quite appealing, as an American English teacher (Amy Irving) and Brazilian lawyer (Antonio Fagundes) start a middle-aged courtship in laid-back Rio de Janeiro. But too often it proves tone-deaf to the demands of farce, with contrived complications and slapstick assignations. -- CH

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