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*** Sentimental, gentle, depressing.Skip to next paragraph
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PURPLE NOON (PG-13)
** Reissue of Rene Clement's minor classic about a young man who kills a wealthy friend and takes over his identity as well as his bank account. The story is involving and suspenseful, but it falls far short of Patricia Highsmith's original novel "The Talented Mr. Ripley," which has more psychological depth on every page than the movie offers in its whole two hours. Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet, and Marie Laforet star in the French production, first released in 1960 as "Plein Soleil." V
STEALING BEAUTY (R)
* A young American comes of age while visiting old friends of her parents in the Italian countryside. Bernardo Bertolucci's romantic drama has great visual beauty but little new to say about life or love. Jeremy Irons, Sinead Cusack, Jean Marais, and newcomer Liv Tyler head the cast. Contains explicit sex and a frequently sensual atmosphere. S N P
** Picturesque, voyeuristic, slow.
* After losing her secretarial job, a woman becomes a stripper to support her daughter. She caters to the whims of a demented politician in hopes of regaining custody of the child from her ex-husband, a petty crook. Andrew Bergman's comedy is aggressively vulgar every chance it gets and surprisingly violent to boot. Demi Moore, Burt Reynolds, and Ving Rhames head the cast. N V P
* Daft, excessive, boring.
* The life and times of several young Scottish drug addicts. It's hard to recall a movie that etches the horrors of drug dependence more shatteringly than this British tragicomedy, which Danny Boyle has directed with ferocious energy. But moviegoers should be strongly warned that it contains over-the-top vulgarity of every description in nearly every scene. S V N P
** Iconoclastic, jarring, complex; ranges from the hilarious to the horrific; compelling but difficult to watch.
TWO-LANE BLACKTOP (R)
* Revival of Monte Hellman's minor 1971 classic about two car-crazed drifters and an aimless yuppie who race their souped-up autos across the Southwest, meeting new acquaintances and wallowing in existential angst. Much of the acting is barely recognizable as such, but the movie provides a vivid portrait of styles, attitudes, and behaviors once considered quintessentially cool. James Taylor and Warren Oates star. P S
THE VISITORS (R)
* Relentlessly silly comedy about a medieval knight and a bumbling servant who're abruptly transplanted to the 20th century. The humor is fast, furious, and vulgar. Jean Reno and Christian Clavier star, but Valerie Lemercier steals the show as their quick-talking modern friend. Jean-Marie Poire directed the farce, originally called "Les Visiteurs" and a record-breaking hit in its native France. P V S
VIVE L'AMOUR (Not rated)
* French title, Taiwanese movie. The main characters are a real-estate broker and two largely aimless men who form a love triangle even though they only occasionally cross one another's paths. Stylishly directed by Tsai Ming-Liang, who seems more interested in shots of Taipei than in the people of the tale. Contains explicit sex. S N V
WHO KILLED PASOLINI? (Not rated)
* Poet, novelist, and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini was among the most noteworthy figures in postwar Italian culture, but his violent death was shrouded in mystery and innuendo related to his open homosexuality. This capably made docudrama suggests his murder was encouraged by government figures outraged at his intolerance for corruption and dishonesty. Marco Tullio Giordana directed the Italian production. V S N