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THE PRODUCERS Writer-director Mel Brooks' first foray into feature films pushed enough envelopes that it became an instant box office success -- and earned him an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, to boot. The basis for the Broadway smash, this 1968 effort finds Zero Mostel and then-newcomer Gene Wilder (himself earning a Best Supporting Actor nom) in terrific comic form as, respectively, an unscrupulous producer and a sensitive accountant who figure out they can get rich by backing a theatrical flop. The Springtime for Hitler sequences are renowned ("Don't be stupid, Be a smarty, Come and join the Nazi Party!"), but the inspired lunacy extends to all corners of this madcap comedy which Brooks once insisted "rises below vulgarity." DVD extras include an informative hour-long documentary, an outtake, and a photo gallery. 1/2

Also New:THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES Why should fictional movie characters be the only ones to have any fun in being placed at the center of madcap "mistaken identity" farces? Here, Napoleon (nicely played by Ian Holm) is dumped into an innocuous comedy in which the French leader switches places with a peasant and discovers romance. 1/2

HUMAN NATURE Being John Malkovich scripter Charlie Kaufman strikes out with this often intolerable oddity about an abnormally hirsute woman (Patricia Arquette), a repressed behaviorist (Tim Robbins) and the ape man (Rhys Ifans, in a wondrous bit of physical comedy) they try to civilize. 1/2

K-19: THE WIDOWMAKER If there's anything to add at this late date to the sub-genre of sub flicks, this film's makers don't even come close to finding it, preferring instead to trot out a creaky vessel that seems stitched together, Frankenstein-style, from past underwater adventures. Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson don shaky Russian accents to star in this half-hearted Mutiny on the Bounty knock-off.

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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