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Short Subjectives

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics


Opening Friday
COWBOY BEBOP: THE MOVIE (R) The lavishly stylish, big-screen spin-off of Japan's animated sci-fi series depicts bounty-hunting anti-heroes with names like Jet Black who contend with terrorists who release a deadly virus.

FINDING NEMO (G) Pixar's latest computer-animated catch follows a meek, single-dad clown fish (Albert Brooks) as he journeys from the Great Barrier Reef to an aquarium in a Sydney dentist's office to rescue his son. The film's episodic format plays to Pixar's imaginative strengths, while the clever, air-tight script doesn't rely too heavily on "fish out of water" puns. Scene-stealing voice actors include Willem Dafoe as a scarred angel fish planning a great aquarium escape and Barry "Dame Edna" Humphries as a shark called Bruce trying to kick the habit of eating his finny fellows. --Curt Holman

THE ITALIAN JOB (PG-13) Director F. Gary Gray takes Michael Caine's 1969 heist picture of the same name and transplants it to Los Angeles, where Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron use a spectacular traffic jam to try and steal back a fortune held by their duplicitous partner Edward Norton.

MAN ON THE TRAIN (R) The ending of Patrice Leconte's film has a flowery, New Age finish that betrays some of what has come before, but Man is an otherwise rich, meaty little movie about two aging men from entirely different walks of life who bond over their shared despair about how radically the world has changed, and how little they seem to fit in it. Leconte and screenwriter Claude Klotz's mordant humor sweetens the deal with a clever commentary on what we have come to expect of cinema. --Felicia Feaster

SPELLBOUND (G) Director Jeffrey Blitz and his team followed eight students as they crammed for competition in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. What results is a curiously engaging and tension-filled peek into a rarely documented subculture. With a cast of oddball characters reminiscent of Best in Show or A Mighty Wind, the documentary manages to transform what should be snooze-inducing subject matter into a fascinating fable of the American Dream. --Tray Butler

SWEET SIXTEEN (R) Director Ken Loach takes a scruffy, heavily improvised foray into the grim life of working-class Scottish teenagers, with Martin Compston playing a young man who tries to find a better life while waiting for his mother to be released from prison for dealing drugs.

WRONG TURN (R) Eliza Dushku -- known to "Buffy" fans as Faith the Vampire Slayer -- stars in this thriller about six teens beset by cannibals in the West Virginia woods.

Duly Noted
THE ADVENTURES OF OCIEE NASH (PG) The Fox Theatre presents the world premiere of a film adaptation based on novel A Flower Blooms on Charlotte Street, written, produced and directed by Atlanta sisters Amy and Kristen McGary. This tale of a 9-year-old girl who movies from rural Mississippi to refined North Carolina in 1898 stars Keith Carradine, Mare Winningham and Skyler Day in the title role, as well as such local actors as Tom Key and Janice Akers. (And it's not to be confused with Eddie Murphy's sci-fi flop The Adventures of Pluto Nash.) Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival. June 1, 7 p.m. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. $10. 404-881-2100.

DESTROY ALL MOVIES: CARNICOGENIC CINEMA (NR) The monthly program of obscure underground films concludes with "Bargain Basement Secret Agent," devoted to the fifth-rate Bond wannabes of the 1960s, including The Incredible Paris Incident, a feast of plunging necklines and '60s la-la music. May 30, 9 p.m. Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, 535 Means St. $5. 404-688-1970.

DOWNSTREAM FILM FESTIVAL (NR) The film festival presents the third of its series of student-made films and video shorts. May 28, 8 p.m. 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Suite 8. $5. 404-522-0655.

I OFTEN THINK OF PIROSCHKA (1955) (NR) A German student spends his summer holidays with a Hungarian family and falls in love with a village girl called Piroschka, played by Switzerland's Lisolette Pulver, who became a beloved star of the 1950s. After the War, Before the Wall: German Cinema 1945 - 1960. May 28, 7 p.m. Goethe Institut Inter Nationes, 1197 Peachtree St., Colony Square. $4. 404-892-2388.

JAILHOUSE ROCK (1957) (NR) Elvis Presley stars as a misunderstood young man who learns to play guitar in slammer and becomes a raw but surly rock star. This black-and-white musical may be Elvis' best film (he even choreographed the moves for the title song), but lacks the kitschy, colorful corniness of lesser flicks like Viva Las Vegas. Screen on the Green. June 3, Free. June 3. through July 1. Sunset. Piedmont Park, ball fields nearest entrance of Piedmont Ave. and 14th St. 877-262-5866. --CH

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