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Short Subjectives

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

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Opening Friday
THE INHERITANCE (NR) See review.

OCEAN'S TWELVE (PG-13) See review.

SEX IS COMEDY (NR) See review.



Duly Noted
COLLATERAL (R) Tom Cruise takes a change-of-pace role as a perfectionist hitman who forces Jamie Foxx's hapless cabbie to chauffeur him around for a night of mayhem. A taut, essentially two-character piece that criss-crosses L.A., Collateral resembles Training Day as another slick, tightly written B-movie with big name actors. The film lives up to director Michael Mann's reputation for precise shots and polished editing, even if the final showdowns feel like a burnished version of a made-for-cable crime thriller. Dec. 9. Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. 404-651-3565. www.cinefest.org. -- Curt Holman

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993) (PG) The skeletal lord of Halloween gets a serious case of Christmas spirit and decides to replace Santa Claus, with chaotic results, in this stop-motion animated musical produced by Tim Burton. With more big laughs and fewer downbeat Danny Elfman songs, it could be a genuine classic, but as is, it offers such visual delights that nearly every frame qualifies as a work of art. Dec. 15, 8 p.m. Echo Lounge, 551 Flat Shoals Ave. 404-681-3600. www.kingblind.com.-- CH

NOI (R) See review.

THE OTHER FINAL (2003) (NR) When Holland failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, Dutch filmmakers Johan Kramer Matthijs de Jongh made a film about the world's two lowest ranked teams. The Other Final presents, with affectionate humor, the subsequent match between Bhutan in the Himalayas and Montserrat in the Caribbean. Through Dutch Eyes. Dec. 11, 8 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Auditorium. 1280 Peachtree St. $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 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.

Continuing
AFTER THE SUNSET (R) Pierce Brosnan's diamond thief pulls off one last score and retires to the Bahamas with his partner/girlfriend (Salma Hayek), only to be trailed cat-and-mouse-style by an FBI agent (Woody Harrelson). Despite Hayek's remarkable bikini-filling skills, the film's real strength is the downright cute interaction between Brosnan and Harrelson: though played for laughs, their homoerotic chemistry drives the movie. Rush Hour director Brett Ratner tries too hard to make After the Sunset a sultry and sexy tropical thriller, and instead mixes a frothy umbrella drink of a movie that goes down smooth, but provides no real kick.-- Cary Jones

ALEXANDER (R) Alexander the Great (Colin Farrell) conquered the known world but collapses in a brooding heap in Oliver Stone's botched biopic of nearly three hours. Alexander's enlightened internationalism makes him ahead of his time, just as his unmistakable bisexuality makes him ahead of our own. But apart from Angelina Jolie and Val Kilmer's campy excesses as Alexander's parents, the film offers no colorful relationships, memorable dialogue or even coherent battle scenes. Alexander could put the entire genre of epic film in bad odor for years. -- CH

ALFIE (R) In 1966 Michael Caine rocketed to stardom by playing a misogynist playboy in glum working class England. Director Charles Shyer gives the remake a sunnier, bubblegum feel for more denial-prone times. A chick-flick cautionary tale about a decent-at-heart English chauffeur living in Manhattan who changes his lothario ways, this Alfie benefits immeasurably from Jude Law's comic timing and pretty-boy charm.--Felicia Feaster

BEING JULIA (R) Based on Someset Maugham's novel Theatre, this stage drama stars Annette Bening as London's leading actress in the 1930s and features such supporting players as Jeremy Irons, Michael Gambon and Juliet Stevenson.

BIRTH (R) Sexy Beast director Jonathan Glazer gets a little spooky in this nod to Rosemary's Baby's New York gothic. Nicole Kidman plays a widow approached on the eve of her second marriage by a creepy 10-year-old kid claiming to be her dead husband. The claustrophobic tone and supernatural flourishes seem cribbed from better movies, and many viewers will have to suspend major disbelief to buy scenes like the one where Kidman bends herself in half to soulfully kiss her miniature reincarnated husband. Some may find Birth intense and spooky, but others may have a hard time suppressing a laugh at Glazer's pretentious ghost story.--FF

BLADE TRINITY (R) See review.

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