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Short subjectives

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

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Opening Friday
FRIDA (R) Tony Award-winning director Julie Taymor brings a slightly off-kilter sensibility to this strong bio-picture of the tempestuous life and times of Mexican painter and feminist icon Frida Kahlo. Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina as the love of her life, Diego Rivera, are convincing and human as the terminally at-odds husband and wife whose fascinating involvement with the art and radical politics of the '30s and '40s makes them long overdue for such a film treatment.--Felicia Feaster

I-SPY (PG-13) Mindless entertainment, with the emphasis on mindless -- unless you happen to find particularly entertaining the idea of yet another buddy/action comedy in which mismatched partners must overcome cultural differences (and death-defying stunt sequences) to save the world. This in-name-only "remake" of the '60s secret-agent TV series features a disarmingly agreeable turn by Owen Wilson as the flustered straight man, but Eddie Murphy really ought give his obnoxious smart-ass routine a rest.--Bert Osborne

THE MAN FROM ELYSIAN FIELDS (R) Andy Garcia is a cash-strapped novelist who reluctantly takes a gig with a male escort service to support his wife (Julianne Margulies) and kid. He soon becomes the boytoy for the wife of a revered Pulitzer Prize-winning author (James Coburn) who's got troubles of his own. Director George Hickenlooper strives for a gravity that Philip Jayson Lasker's script just can't support. The best bits involve Mick Jagger as Luther Fox, owner of the escort service, whose dry wit and deadpan delivery initially hold old out promise of something more to come but ultimately prove to be a waste of effort in this dreary drama. -- Suzanne Van Atten

THE SANTA CLAUSE 2 (G) In the modestly entertaining original, Tim Allen played a hapless Joe who became a better dad by taking the role of St. Nick. The sequel, at one point known as The Mrs. Clause, finds Allen's portly Kris Kringle tasked to find a wife in modern-day America.

THE WEIGHT OF WATER (R) Kathryn Bigelow's psychological thriller flits back and forth between the tensions developing between four travelers on a sailboat docked off the New England coast, and a vicious, unsolved murder of two young women that occurred at the same site in 1873. The story set in the past featuring the compelling Sarah Polley as a Norwegian immigrant is far more interesting and only serves to highlight the dreck of the present-day story featuring an absurd performance by Sean Penn as a groupie-hounded Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and a deeply uncharismatic Catherine McCormack as his wife.--FF



Duly Noted
EXODUS (1961) (NR) Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint star in Otto Preminger's epic film about the struggles to found in the state of Israel. Sponsored by Atlanta YAD: The Jewish Young Adult Agency. Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. Regal Cinemas Lenox Square. $25-$50. 404-727-2084. www.atlantayad.org

GOODBYE DEAR LOVE (2000) (NR) Ruth Behar offers a documentary drawn from her own family history about the community of Sephardic Jews in Havana and their search for identity. Co-sponsored by the Intown Jewish Life Center and the American Jewish Committee. Latin American Film Festival. Nov. 3 at 2 and 4 p.m. High Museum, Rich Auditorium. $5. 404-733-4570. www.high.org.

JIM BROWN: ALL-AMERICAN (2002) Director Spike Lee and athlete-turned-movie-star Jim Brown will attend and answer questions at the Woodruff Arts Center's special screening of Lee's new documentary, which examines the triumphs and tribulations of Brown's life, as well as the importance of his image as a strong African-American role model. Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. High Museum, Rich Auditorium. $20-$25. 404-733-4570. www.high.org.

LIEBELEI (1932) (NR) An incomparably beautiful film by famed filmmaker Max Ophuls, adapted from a work by Viennese decadent Arthur Schnitzler, this exquisitely melancholy film concerns a love affair between a soldier and an innocent young girl that is destroyed by the perverse codes of "honor" among military men and the cruel pretense of civility in Hapsburg Vienna. Oct. 30 at 7 p.m., Goethe-Institut Atlanta, Colony Square, 1197 Peachtree St. $4 for non-members. 404-892-2388. www.goethe.de/uk/atl/enpfilm.htm.--FF

POSTHUMOUS MEMORIES (2000) (NR) Reginaldo Farias and Sonia Braga star in Andre Klotzel's fanciful comedy of a deceased, sardonic man who reflects on his life as a 19th-century dandy. Latin American Film Festival. Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. High Museum, Rich Auditorium. $5. 404-733-4570. www.high.org.

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.

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