Director: Billy Wilder. With Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Richard Benedict, Ray Teal. (111 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt **** Few films of bygone decades have retained their relevance as stingingly as this 1951 satire about a journalist who eagerly exploits the plight of a man trapped in a collapsed mine in order to restart his own failing career. It's dark, funny, ferocious, and vintage Wilder all the way. Originally released as "The Big Carnival."
Director: Michael Caton-Jones. With Robert De Niro, Frances McDormand, James Franco. (105 min.)
Sterritt ** See review, page 17.
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski. With Krystyna Janda, Henryk Baranowski, Maria Pakulnis. (550 min.)
Sterritt **** An apartment complex in Warsaw is the primary setting for this series of 10, approximately hour-long dramas, loosely based on the Ten Commandments and exploring a wide range of moral, ethical, and psychological issues, from the motivations for capital punishment to the meaning of God in the modern world. Most are enthralling; some are small masterpieces. Originally produced as a miniseries for Polish television.
Director: Liz Garbus. With Wanda Jean Allen, Ruby Wilson. (88 min.)
Sterritt *** A nonfiction chronicle of events leading to the execution of a mentally slow African-American woman in Oklahoma for the 1989 murder of her female lover. The documentary is revealing and chilling, although it doesn't explore the inner workings of the American criminal-justice system as thoroughly as one might wish.
Director: Ruedi Gerber. With Chelsea Altman, John Shea, Diane Venora, Demián Bichir. (91 min.)
Sterritt * An actress lands the not-so-juicy role of a bandage-covered coma patient in a TV soap opera, sparking complications in her off-screen romantic life and lunacy in an eccentric neighbor who's got a crush on the leading man of the series. Everyone tries very hard to make the story sweet and funny, but the soggy screenplay defeats them every time.
Director: Jean-Luc Godard. With Bruno Putzulu, Cécile Camp, Jean Davy, Françoise Verny. (98 min.)
Sterritt **** See review, page 17.
Director: John Polson. With Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen, Kate Burton, Shiri Appleby. (85 min.)
Sterritt ** "Fatal Attraction" goes to high school, as a pretty psychopath stalks a swimming-team hunk with deadly results. Polson's well-filmed thriller swims down the usual lanes for this sort of story, and everyone looks way too old for senior year; but many of the suspense scenes work fine, and Bradford is terrific as the endangered hero.
Director: John Stockwell. With Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Matthew Davis, Mika Boorem. (103 min.)
Sterritt ** They're chambermaids by night, surfin' girls by day, and one of them has the makings of wave-riding stardom. Moviegoing tip: Skip the first hour or so, but grab a seat in time for the surfing contest that climaxes the picture, complete with mile-high waves and the most graceful ocean-gliding this side of "The Endless Summer."
Staff **1/2 Stunning surf footage, exhilarating, insipid dialogue.