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Short subjectives

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

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Opening Friday
BROWN SUGAR (PG-13) This will-they-or-won't-they romance between two old friends, magazine editor (Sanaa Lathan) and record exec (Taye Diggs), promises to play like an African-American When Harry Met Sally. With Mos Def and Queen Latifah as sidekicks.

KNOCKAROUND GUYS (R) A group of young wannabe gangsters (including Vin Diesel and Seth Green) follow a bag of money through a Montana town in this joyless, predictable crime thriller. Tom Noonan provides the sole saving grace as an opportunistic sheriff, stealing the cash and the film from Barry Pepper's whiny, unsympathetic hero and John Malkovich's sadistic mobster, whose Brooklyn accent sounds like a failed "Soprano's" screen test. --Curt Holman

POKEMON FOREVER (G) Pikachu and the gang return for another animated version of the Japanese multi-media phenomenon that adults will no doubt find incomprehensible.

RULES OF ATTRACTION (R) A half-hearted romantic triangle among three college students (James Van Der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon and Ian Somerhalder) occupies the center of this cynical satire of dead souls in the Ivy League. Directer Roger Avary makes the mistake of taking Bret Easton Ellis' thin source material at face value, and the film exhausts its ideas in about five minutes. At least Sossamon and Van Der Beek give truthful (if not necessarily likable) performances, and you can enjoy the self-conscious split-screen and reversed-film effects for their own show-offy sake.--CH

THE TRANSPORTER (PG-13) Snatch's Jason Statham plays a buff, hard-boiled courier who rebels against his evil bosses upon learning that his latest "package" is a kidnapped young woman (Shu Qi). Directed by Hong Kong fight choreographer Cory Yuen.

TUCK EVERLASTING (PG) Disney's self-conscious throwback to its live-action family films like Swiss Family Robinson has everything going for it: Oscar winning actors (Sissy Spacek, Ben Kingsley, William Hurt), a weighty message and a pedigree from children's literature. Alas, this tale of a sheltered girl (Alexis Bledel) and a peculiar family of immortals only lacks a sense of fun and a rationale for keeping your attention. Good intentions, though.--CH

WHITE OLEANDER (PG-13) In her second motherhood-based film from Oprah's Book Club, Michelle Pfeiffer plays a murderous mom whose daughter (Alison Lohmann) is passed along to foster parents, including Rene Zellweger and Robin Wright Penn.



Duly Noted
ELVIRA'S HAUNTED HILLS (R) The bosomy horror hostess (note the oh-so-subtle pun in the title) will introduce the Atlanta premiere of her latest ghostly comedy, presented as a benefit for Project Open Hand. Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m., Midtown 8.

FILMS BY M.E.D.I.A. (NR) IMAGE Film & Video and Media Education Initiative Atlanta presents an evening of short films from students aged 15-19. Montage Screening Series, Oct. 10, 7 p.m. Atlanta Fulton Public Library, One Margaret Mitchell Square. Free. 404-352-4225.

MAIDS (2001) (NR) This subversive but light-hearted look at five Brazilian housekeepers grew from interviews with hundreds of "domesticas," and neither condescends nor glorifies the lives of servants. Latin American Film Festival. Oct. 11, 8 p.m. High Museum, Rich Auditorium, and Oct. 16, 8 p.m., Regal Hollywood 24. $5. 404-733-4570.

MILDRED PIERCE (1945) (NR) Despite her reputation as a camp icon, Joan Crawford gives a solid, moving performance (which won her a Best Actress Oscar) as a struggling mother with a vicious daughter (Ann Blyth). Based on a novel by Double Indemnity's James M. Cain. Communal Classics. Oct. 14, 8:30 p.m., Commune, 1198 Howell Mill Road. Free. 404-609-5000.--CH

RED INK (2000) (NR) Director Francisco Lombardi explores themes of influence and corruption in the tale of an idealistic young writer and the jaded veteran reporter (award-winner Gianfranco Brero) at a tabloid called El Clamor. Latin American Film Festival. Oct. 9, 8 p.m., Regal Hollywood 24 and Oct. 12, 8 p.m., High Museum, Rich Auditorium. $5. 404-733-4570.

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 Meatloaf gets killed. Dress as your favorite character and participate in this musical on acid. Midnight Fri. at Lefont Plaza Theatre and Sat. at Marietta Star Cinema.

THE SHOP (1997) (NR) The third and final part of this quiet, poetic, award-winning trilogy adapted from Erwin Strittmatter's bestselling 1992 novel depicts further episodes in the lives of the Matt family, who run an East German bakery near the Polish border. Sept. 25, 7 p.m., Goethe-Institut Atlanta, Colony Square, 1197 Peachtree St. $4 for non-members. 404-892-2388.

YOUNG URBAN MEDIAMAKERS SHORT FILM SCREENINGS The Atlanta Urban Mediamakers Association has partnered with the West End Performing Arts Center to screen short films made by high school students through the IMAGE Film & Video Center this year. Oct. 16, 7 p.m. West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. 404-287-7758.

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