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Short Subjectives

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Opening Friday
ANACONDAS: THE HUNT FOR THE BLOOD ORCHID (NR) Remember that monster movie from a few years back with the giant snake that swallowed Jon Voight and then regurgitated him? No? Well, here's a sequel about a team of scientists in the Amazon who become snake-bait.

THE BEST TWO YEARS (PG) A group of Mormon missionaries face apathy and complications while seeking converts in the Netherlands in this film approved by the Church of Latter-day Saints.

CODE 46 (R) Michael Winterbottom, director of 24 Hour Party People, helms a sci-fi thriller in which the illicit love affair of one couple (Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton) defies the segregated society of the near-future.

DANNY DECKCHAIR (PG-13) The feel-good movie of the moment, Danny Deckchair has a sweet, Capra-esque quality in its story of an Australian (Rhys Ifans) who literally floats into a new life and becomes a national folk hero (though his picture is never shown on the telly, which really strains credibility). Lord of the Rings' Miranda Otto plays the new woman in his life -- assuming his idyll can last forever. Jeff Balsmeyer's movie can inspire you to live your dream, though it may not work out as well as Danny's. -- Steve Warren


FATHER AND SON (NR) Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov (Russian Ark) denies any homoerotic intent in this beautifully photographed film about the codependency of a 40ish father and his 20ish son, but with no plot to speak of, the viewer must try to make something of the visual clues, which include a lot of male physicality and not a lot of clothing. For starters, why make the innocent opening scene look so sexual if that's not what it's about? Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. -- SW


HERO (PG-13) See review.

SUPERBABIES: BABY GENIUSES 2 (PG) The brain-boosted talking toddlers of Baby Geniuses get new powers, costumes and allies to battle a nefarious media mogul, played by Jon Voight. (Hey, didn't he get regurgitated in that Anaconda movie?)

SUSPECT ZERO (NR) You could call this thriller The Silence of the Sexy Beast as two FBI investigators (Aaron Eckhart and The Matrix's Carrie-Anne Moss) trail a mystery man (Ben Kingsley) who may be murdering serial killers.Duly NotedTAXI DRIVER (1976) (R) "Are you talkin' to me?" Martin Scorsese's unnerving classic of urban alienation is talking to all of us. Robert De Niro's performance as antiheroic -- yet not unsympathetic -- psycho Travis Bickle deserves its legendary status. Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader reveal insight into the nature of violence, the political process and heroic quest stories in what could have been a grim, blinkered character study. Fri.-Sat., Aug. 27-28, midnight. Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive. -- Curt Holman

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 Meat Loaf gets killed. Dress as your favorite character and participate in this musical on acid. Midnight Fri. at Lefont Plaza Theatre and Sat. at Peachtree Cinema & Games, Norcross.

ATLANTA UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL Highlights include MOVE, a documentary on the radical 1970s political movement in Philadelphia (Fri., Aug. 27, 6 p.m., Art Farm, 835 Wylie St.; Sun., Aug. 29, 7:30 p.m., Eyedrum, 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive); Nothing Really Happens (Memories of Aging Strippers), a drama about three different women (Fri., Aug. 27, 8 p.m., Art Farm); "Tephrasect," a stop-motion animation experimental short (Fri., Aug. 27, 11:30 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 28, 3:30 p.m., Art Farm); Inflated, a mock porn flick starring blow-up dolls (Fri., Aug. 27, 10 p.m., Art Farm); Playground, a documentary about three skateboarding, breakdancing teens (Wed., Aug. 25, 9 p.m., Eyedrum; Sat., Aug. 28, 5 p.m., Art Farm); "Kaleidos," an experimental short featuring a roller coaster ride and kaleidoscopic images (Sat., Aug. 28, 11:30 p.m., Art Farm); "Somebody's Watching Me," a short about a security company employee who spies on a sexy customer (Sat., Aug. 28, 11:30 p.m., Art Farm; Mon., Aug. 30, 7:30 p.m., the Earl.) The film festival runs through Tues., Aug. 31.

VAN HELSING (PG-13) Bram Stoker's elderly vampire hunter becomes a buff, gadget-toting action figure (played by Hugh Jackman). Writer/director Stephen Sommers blows a fortune in computer effects to desecrate our memories of Dracula, the Wolf Man and the Frankenstein monster. Overblown and dimwitted in every respect, Van Helsing unintentionally reaches heights of comedy and camp undreamed of by The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival. Mon., Aug. 30, 8 p.m. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. $8. 404-881-2100. -- CH

ALIEN VS. PREDATOR (PG-13) "Whoever wins ... we lose." Wrong! At first Aliens and Predators alike kill off minor human characters, but eventually root for one side to prevail. There's not much plot and what there is, is crap. Predators and Aliens fight every hundred years in a pyramid buried under Antarctic ice. Sanaa Lathan leads the archaeologists who get caught in this century's pissing match. On a visual, visceral level, AVP is mildly effective, but keep your expectations low. --SW

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