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Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

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Opening Friday
BANDITS (PG-13) Fans of the straight-faced Bruce Willis of The Sixth Sense will be disappointed to see his smirk return in this buddy/caper/road movie, in which mismatched thieves (Willis and the ubiquitous Billy Bob Thornton) embark on a bank robbing spree down along the West Coast. With the also ubiquitous Cate Blanchett.

CORKY ROMANO (PG-13) "Saturday Night Live's" Chris Kattan plays a zany veterinarian who passes as an FBI agent to save his Mafia family -- or is he passing as a mafioso to save his FBI family? Something like that. With Peter Falk, Fred Ward and Chris Penn.

HAIKU TUNNEL (R ) Jacob and Josh Kornbluth co-write, direct and act in a corporate satire about a temp (Josh) who's life turns upside down when he takes a permanent job at a huge company. Harry Shearer plays an office orientation leader.

IRON MONKEY (PG-13) A masked hero fights 19th century tyrrany in this Hong Kong film that's reminiscent of Zorro, Robin Hood, but mostly Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, as it has a similar setting and that film's high-flying action choreographer, Yuen Wo Ping, as director. Unlike recent Jackie Chan imports dubbed into English, this 1993 re-release is subtitled, although the gravity-defying fight scenes lose nothing in translation.--CURT HOLMAN

L.I.E. 1/2 (NC-17) The unlikely, unsettling friendship of a motherless teen (Paul Franklin Dano) and a sensitive pedophile (Brian Cox) gives this Sundance favorite its explosive premise. Although it provides a credible portrayal of troubled teens, and character actor Cox gives a superbly complex performance, the contrived plotting and "shocking" comic relief frequently undermine the delicately-rendered relationships at the heart of the story. --CH

SORDID LIVES (Not rated) Del Shores, the writer of Daddy's Dyin'... Who's Got the Will? presents a campy, Texas-trailer-park soap opera with Beau Bridges, Bonnie Bedelia and Delta Burke -- who could have been cast for their first names alone. Featuring a Tammy Wynette transvestite and Olivia Newton-John as a honkytonk Greek chorus.

Duly Noted
BEAT STREET (PG) Melle Mel, Kool Mo Dee and Rae Dawn Chong star in this upbeat tribute to graffiti art, rap music and most of all, breakdancing. Released in 1984, it should serve as a time capsule and nostalgia piece for today's audiences. Dinner and a Movie at MoorEpics, The Poetry Planet, 227 Mitchell St., Oct. 12 at 9 p.m.

DOWNTOWN 81 1/2 (NR) A picaresque crawl through the post-apocalyptic, graffiti and pusher occupied Lower East Side of the '80s, painter Jean Michel Basquait brings this new wave funkytown to life along with a cast of scenesters including Fab Five Freddy, Cookie Mueller, Debbie Harry and Vincent Gallo in a sloppy but charming yarn about an artist in the city. GSU's cinefest, Oct. 12-18.--FELICIA FEASTER

FOLLOWING 1/2 (R). The black-and-white debut work by Memento's writer-director Christopher Nolan shares the follow-up's fascination with scrambled narratives and film noir attitudes. A would-be writer gets involved in stalking, burglary and blackmail, but is he being set up? Though frequently intriguing, Following suffers from a convoluted structure, simplistic relationships and a miscast femme fatale. IMAGE Film & Video Center, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m., Regal Hollywood 24. $5 members, $6 public. --CURT HOLMAN

ME YOU THEM (PG-13). In a Northeastern Brazilian village, a hard-working woman (Regina Case) effectively ends up with three husbands under one roof. Director Andrucha Waddington finds some mild domestic comedy in her premise, although the movie tends to be less concerned with finding laughs than showing the conditions in an arid, poverty stricken town.High Museum's Latin American Film Festival, Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center. Oct. 13 and 16 at 8 p.m., $5 general admission. --CH

NEW YORK IN THE '50s 1/2 (NR) A documentary that aims to debunk the popular notion that the '50s were all about consumerism and Kerouac, a host of expert witnesses including Robert Redford, Gay Talese, Calvin Trillin, William F. Buckley, Village Voice founder Ed Fancher, Joan Didion and Nat Hentoff are called in to bolster author Dan Wakefield'sclaim that the '50s were also about drinking, psychoanalysis, babe-chasing, writing, Salinger and, yes, Kerouac, too, dammit. GSU's cinefest, Oct. 12-18. --FF

DEAD OR ALIVE Subtitled Hanzaisha, Takashi Miike's action film pits Japanese mobsters against police officers and reportedly boasts a wild, fast-paced opening sequence. GSU's cinefest, Oct. 5-11.

SUMO BRUNO: THE STORY OF A BIG MAN'S DREAM NR Enjoyably lightweight, this tale of a 420-pound loser who trains to be a sumo wrestler so he can compete in the Amateur Sumo Wrestling Championships offers some unexpected commentary on the German beauty ideal as well as a surprise ending to make The Full Monty brand-fluff go down a bit easier. Goethe Institute Atlanta's Recent Films from Germany series, Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m. -- FF

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