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Short subjectives

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Opening Friday
FROM HELL (R) Menace II Society's Hughes Brothers have mixed success adapting Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's epic comic book examination of the Ripper murders. Johnny Depp and Heather Graham can't shake their movie-star glamour as an opium-addict police inspector and a streetwalker targeted for murder, but the directors provide an unnervingly memorable and feverish vision of the London slums and the savage killings as the stuff of hell itself. --Curt Holman

INNOCENCE (R) A title like Innocence usually prompts you to expect anything. However, this Australian drama with a reputation for tenderness follows how two seniors resume their young love affair after a separation of 40 years, despite her husband and other health and family concerns.

THE LAST CASTLE (R) A brouhaha surrounded this film's posters, which featured a U.S. flag turned upside down, but this drama from the director of The Contender involves not terrorists but a military prison warden (James Gandolfini, best known as Tony Soprano) vying against a court-martialed general (Robert Redford).

LUMUMBA (NR) Haitian writer-director Raul Peck depicts the United States' involvement in the death of the Congo's democratically elected president Patrice Lumumba (Eriq Ebouaney) in this grim, provocative dramatization.

MULHOLLAND DRIVE (R) A typical feast of Lynchian dreamwork, Mulholland Drive is also a disappointment for its mix of a deeply troubling storyline involving a naive Nancy Drew blonde new to Hollywood trying to help a haunted, amnesiac brunette, with silly subplots that recall the increasingly absurdist dissolution of Lynch's television show "Twin Peaks."--FELICIA FEASTER

MY FIRST MISTER (R). One of those heartfelt efforts that means well but plays lamely, Christine Lahti's directorial debut feature stars Leelee Sobieski as a sullen teen who takes a job at a mall clothing store under a friendless 49-year-old man (Albert Brooks). The film comes alive when it explores their tense, tender and platonic relationship, but cops out with a revelation worthy of a soap opera.--MATT BRUNSON

RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS (PG-13) Expect this Penny Marshall film to put Drew Barrymore's acting chops to the test as she plays a 15-year-old who has a son in 1968, has a troubled marriage to drug-addicted Steve Zahn and sees her boy grow to young adulthood 20 years later.

TOGETHER 1/2 (R). "Tilsammans," the Swedish word for "together," is also the name of a rambunctious Stockholm commune in this delightful comedy set in the 1975. The politically committed but sexually open residents prove especially amusing through the eyes of their own children, irked at the sight of adults behaving irresponsibly. With the gentle, forgiving humor of a Bill Forsythe comedy like Local Hero, Together explores how people isolate themselves but also violate each other's personal space, ultimately coming down on the side of community.--CH

Duly Noted
WELCOME TO ANATEVKA (G) Ruth Leitman (director of Alma and Wildwood, N.J.) and James Jernigan offer a behind-the-scenes look at the Atlanta Jewish Community Center's production of Fiddler on the Roof using theater professionals, high school students and 22 developmentally disabled adults. Some of disabled actors we see more in snapshots than sustained portraits, but the difficulties of two particular actresses give the film suspense while making it about more than the platitudes of the uplifting, rewarding aspects. Oct. 24 at 6:30 and 8 p.m. The Lefont Plaza, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave., $15 ($12 for IMAGE members). -- CH

WITHOUT A TRACE The winner of the Latin American Cinema Award of the 2001 Sundance Film Festival sounds like a Mexican take on Thelma and Louise, with two women -- a smuggler and a single mother -- taking the road to the Yucatan. 2001 Latin American Film Festival. Oct. 19 and 23 at 8 p.m., Rich

Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center. $5.

JUAN, I FORGOT I DON'T REMEMBER Described as "docu-fiction," the son of renowned Mexican writer and poet Juan Rulfo tries to capture his late father's life through the eyes of his peers in Jalisco, only to discover that their memories are faulty. 2001 Latin American Film Festival. Oct. 20 at 8 p.m., Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center. $5.

MAESTRO SCREENING OF LOCAL WORK The Media Arts Environmental Scanning Tour of Regional Organizations begins its celebration of Atlanta media arts with a screening of local short films, including "Smokes & Mirrors" by Jeremy Wilson, "Playball" by Adam Taylor and "Escalator of Life" by Melanie Bugg.Fountainhead Lounge, 485-A Flat Shoals Road. Oct. 18 at 9 p.m. Free.

WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER 1/2 (R) Inane, puerile comedy you'll probably hate yourself for laughing at, this spoof of late '70s/early '80s teen sex comedies like Meatballs follows the campers and counselors of Camp Firewood on the last, endless day of camp. Director David Wain and co-writer Michael Showalter take an obvious delight in exploiting the various absurdities of this reprobate genre, delivering a brand of non sequitur, ridiculous comedy that tickles the preadolescent funny-bone as much as it mocks genre conventions. Peachtree Film Society. Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. General Cinemas Parkway Pointe Theater. $7.50. --FF

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