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Short Subjectives

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Opening Friday
AND NOW LADIES & GENTLEMEN (PG-13) This improbable, often patently silly jetsetting romantic thriller from French director Claude Lelouch (A Man and a Woman) features a typically soigne Jeremy Irons as a jewel thief who dresses in absurd disguises. His discovery that he has a brain malady that leads to black outs puts a crimp in his style, but it allows him to connect with a lovely French nightclub chanteuse (Patricia Kaas), who's also suffering from amnesia. The plotline is pure froth, but there is something about Lelouch's reliance on close-ups and the continually shifting storyline that makes the film watchable. --Felicia Feaster

CAMP (PG-13) At times raucous and entertaining, but more often ridiculous, this cheesy comedy was inspired by the real life upstate New York camp where budding thespians like Jennifer Jason Leigh learned to emote. Camp puts a knowing gay-culture gloss on the cornball Meatballs-genre in its tale of gay boys, shy girls and four-eyed black kids who come together each summer to express their mutual adoration for show tunes and jazz hands. --FF

MANNA FROM HEAVEN No stars. (PG) One more piece of evidence in the case for "just because it's 'indie' doesn't make it good." This contrived, hopelessly dopey comedy was produced, written and directed by a family of women who are clearly hoping to ride the My Big Fat Greek Wedding gravy train. How a bunch of Harvard and Yale grads came up with a plotline that rivals the most bottom-of-the-barrel sitcom is a mystery. A conniving Buffalo family who came into some found money is pressured by their nun sister (Ursula Burton) to pay it back years later by putting on a dance contest and raffle. A film that makes you question the existence of God. At Marietta Star Cinema. --FF

MARCI X (R) A Jewish American Princess (Lisa Kudrow) inherits a hip-hop label and tries to rein in a controversial rapper called Dr. Snatchcatcher (Damon Wayans). It's written by Paul Rudnick, who penned Jeffrey and Addams Family Values.

MASKED AND ANONYMOUS (PG-13) Die-hard Bob Dylan fans will flock to this hard-to-describe feature film that casts the scruffy troubadour as singer "Jack Fate," who's released from prison in an unidentified dictatorship to perform at a state-sanctioned benefit concert. The cast includes John Goodman, Jessica Lange, Ed Harris, Jeff Bridges and many other A-list Dylan fans.

THE MEDALLION (PG-13) Formerly titled Highbinders, this Hong Kong action comedy stars Jackie Chan as a cop who emerges from a near-death experience with special powers. Funnyman Lee Evans co-stars.

MY BOSS'S DAUGHTER (PG-13) "Punk'd" host Ashton Kutcher agrees to housesit for his employer with hopes of getting close to the daughter of the title (Tara Reid). The cast includes Andy Richter, Molly Shannon, Jeffrey Tambor and Terence Stamp.

Duly Noted
FILM SLAM (NR) IMAGE Film & Video Center's freewheeling evening of short films takes inspiration from "The Gong Show," as a panel of judges, egged on by the audience, dictate whether films run to the end or get "gonged" in progress. Awards will be given for the best and worst efforts of the evening. IMAGE Film & Video Center, Aug. 21, 8 p.m., The Echo Lounge, 551 Flat Shoals Ave. $5 (free for IMAGE members). 404-352-4225.

THE HULK (PG-13) The big screen can scarcely contain Marvel Comics' emerald anti-hero with anger management issues, rendered as a muscle-bound force of nature thanks to computer effects. Alas, Ang Lee's film adaptation fails on nearly every other level, collapsing under flabby scripting and weakling performances from Jennifer Connelly and Eric Bana. At area theaters and Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival. Aug. 24, 8 p.m. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. $7. 404-881-2100. --Curt Holman

JANDEK ON CORWOOD A documentary about a mysterious Texas musician who's been releasing albums on his own label for 25 years, yet actively cultivates a cover of anonymity. Aug. 31, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Co-sponsored by the local band the Indicators and the Center for Creative Aspiration. 1448 Iverson St. $3.

THE MATRIX RELOADED (R) Writer-directors Andy and Larry Wachowski discover that "cool" has its limits in the first of their two sequels to The Matrix. Hacker-turned-Messiah Neo (Keanu Reeves) engages in a post-apocalyptic war between besieged humans and sentient machines, but the sequel only rarely captures the terror and wonder of the first film. At area theaters and Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival. Aug. 25, 8 p.m. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. $7. 404-881-2100. --CH

A MIGHTY WIND (PG-13) Three soulful '60s folk acts gather for a reunion concert in New York City, with the attendant tensions and personal traumas in Christopher Guest's (Best in Show) latest mockumentary. Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival. Aug. 21, 8 p.m. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. $7. 404-881-2100. --FF

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