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Short Subjectives

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Opening Friday
GLOOMY SUNDAY (1999) (NR) As Hungary stands at the brink of World War II, a Budapest restaurant manager (Erika Marozsan) finds herself wooed by the owner, the pianist and a German admirer of Hitler. At Landmark Theatres Midtown Art Cinema.

IN AMERICA (PG-13) See review.

IN MY SKIN (NR) Marina de Van (a frequent collaborator with Francois Ozon) writes, directs and stars in this film about a woman who becomes increasingly obsessed with disfigurement after she suffers a minor injury. At Landmark Theatres Midtown Art Cinema.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS, EXTENDED EDITION (PG-13) The middle film based on Tolkein's Middle-Earth epic is so spectacular it makes Fellowship look like director Peter Jackson was just clearing his throat. The extended version, 43 minutes longer than the theatrical cut, restores some superfluous scenes that let the pacing flag. But other additions -- especially those with conflicted guerrilla fighter Faramir (David Wenham) -- neatly bridge the trilogy's subplots and enhance the moral struggles of a film that stresses mortal combat. --Curt Holman

LOVE DON'T COST A THING (PG-13) This remake of the 1987 Patrick Dempsey comedy Can't Buy Me Love gives a hip-hop flavor to the story of an unpopular high schooler (Drumline's Nick Cannon) who hires a cheerleader to pose as his girlfriend.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE MIDLANDS (PG-13) In England's industrial midlands, a young mother (Shirley Henderson) can't decide between her klutzy boyfriend (Rhys Ifans) or her petty criminal ex-husband (Robert Carlisle). The joke is that director Shane Meadows tells the silly story through the grand gestures of spaghetti westerns like Once Upon a Time in the West. Most the performers are natural comics, but the Western cliches and sight gags run out of ammo all too soon. --CH

SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE (PG-13) An aging playboy (Jack Nicholson, cast to type) finds himself falling in love with the mother (Diane Keaton) of his latest nubile conquest (Amanda Peet). Keaton has been named Best Actress of 2003 by the National Board of Review for this film.

STUCK ON YOU (PG-13) The Farrelly Brothers of Dumb & Dumber fame return for this comedy about a pair of twins (Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear) literally joined at the hip, who face difficulties when one tries to make it in show business. Cher plays herself.

TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI (HANDS OFF THE LOOT) (1954) (NR) Jacques Becker's 1954 French gem about the aftermath of a gold heist is of interest chiefly for: 1) Jean Gabin, pushing 50 but with women half his age throwing themselves at him (part of the film's unbridled sexism); 2) young Jeanne Moreau looking like a typical starlet of the period -- see her watch her feet in a brief dance number but make it look sexy!; and 3) casual drug use and nudity you couldn't have seen on U.S. screens at the time. At Lefont Garden Hills. --Steve Warren

Opening Wednesday

Duly Noted
BOONDOCK SAINTS (1999) (R) Troy Duffy's violent, Tarantino-esque thriller depicts two brothers on a mission to reduce Boston's criminal element. Featuring Willem Dafoe and Scottish comedian Billy Connolly. Dec. 11. Cinefest, GSU Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565.

BOTTLE ROCKET (1996) (R) Rushmore director Wes Anderson made his scruffy debut with this likable tale of three larcenous slackers, led by the engagingly motormouthed, idealistic Dignan (co-writer Owen Wilson). The film never quite measures up to its hilarious early scene when Dignan's "gang" knocks over a book superstore. Dec. 11. Cinefest, GSU Student Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. $5 ($3 until 5 p.m.). 404-651-3565. --CH

HISTORY OF THE WORLD -- PART 1 (1981) (R) Sid Caesar's caveman provides the most graceful comedy in Mel Brooks' occasionally funny overview of human affairs, which features chapters in the Roman Empire, the French Revolution and the Spanish Inquisition -- the latter rendered as a lavish musical number. Dec. 17, 7 p.m., Mick's Bennett St. 2110 Peachtree Road. Free with dinner. 404-355-7163. --CH

LOCALS ONLY: A CELEBRATION OF ATLANTA FILMMAKERS (NR) IMAGE Film & Video Center presents an evening of short works from the Atlanta filmmaking community. Dec. 11, 7 p.m., Atlanta Fulton Public Library, One Margaret Mitchell Square. Free. 404-352-4225.

THE MARK OF ZORRO (1920) (NR) Douglas Fairbanks first buckled his swash in this stirring tale of the masked swordsman. Featuring musical accompaniment by Don Saliers. The Silent Film Society of Atlanta. Dec. 12, 8 p.m. Eyedrum. 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. $5. 404-522-0655.

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