Director: Mamoru Oshii. With voices of Akio Ôtsuka, Atsuko Tanaka, Koichi Yamadera, Yutaka Nakano. (99 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt ** In the not-so-distant future, a cyborg - partly human, mostly machine - investigates bizarre events involving female robots manufactured for sexual purposes. Ingeniously crafted with flashes of intelligence, if not very memorable. In Japanese and Cantonese with subtitles.
Director: Tsai Ming-liang. With Shiang-chyi Chen, Tien Miao, Kang-Sheng Lee, Shih Chun. (81 min.)
Sterritt **** Customers and employees - and maybe a ghost or two - wander through a movie palace showing a huge historical epic to almost no audience. This is a funny, sad, stunningly smart movie about the end of movies, made in Tsai's inimitable, unblinking style. No movie lover should miss it. In Mandarin and Taiwanese with subtitles.
Director: Zak Penn. With Werner Herzog, Zak Penn, Kitana Baker, Michael Karnow. (94 min.)
Sterritt ** Herzog, the legendary German director, sets out to make a documentary about searching for the Loch Ness monster, with a second documentary crew shooting a "making of" movie at the same time. Or is everything a set-up meant to result in sheer confusion, which is exactly what happens? This exercise in Chinese-box filmmaking starts cleverly but becomes more preposterous as it goes along.
Director: Babette Mangolte. With Pierre Leymarie, Martin Lassalle, Marika Green, Babette Mangolte. (89 min.)
Sterritt **** Documentary by cinematographer Mangolte about her effort to track down and interview some of the chief actors in "Pickpocket," the 1959 masterpiece by Robert Bresson, who called his performers "models" because he didn't want regular acting to distract from the ideas and aesthetics of his films. Touching, wistful, and surprising. In French with subtitles.
Director: Charles Stone III. With Bernie Mac, Paul Sorvino, Angela Bassett, Chris Noth. (104 min.)
Staff *** Milwaukee slugger Stan Ross (Mac) retires from baseball midseason after reaching 3000 hits. Nine years later, statisticians discover that he only scored 2997 hits. To be eligible for The Hall of Fame, Stan must shape up, return to the lineup as a real team player, and get three more hits - at age 47. The subtlety of Mac's acting in this unusual, coming-of-age comedy may surprise some fans. By M.K. Terrell
Director: Jennifer Elster. With Jennifer Elster, Gale Harold, Larry Pine, Leslie Lyles. (101 min.)
Sterritt ** A young artist meets a troubled but attractive man, and it's clear they could change each other's lives if they could overcome the family baggage and psychological problems that weigh them down. This uneven drama might have been more effective if someone with more on-screen charisma than writer-director Elster had played the main character.
Director: John Sayles. With Chris Cooper, Daryl Hannah, Danny Huston, Maria Bello. (129 min.)