LAWRENCE OF ARABIA - This was always a big film rather than a great one. It's more like a ceremony than a movie, since you always know what's going to happen next: The plot unfolds in largely static set pieces; and there's only one character with any psychological complexity. Still, the cast is spectacular, and the desert has never looked more awe-inspiring. It's also interesting to see about 40 minutes that were trimmed from the picture after its first release in 1962, although the restored sound track is a bit lumpy at times. (Rated PG) NEW YORK STORIES - Who needs Hollywood when New York serves up such treats? This anthology offers three movies for the price of one, and each of them's a winner. ``Life Lessons'' is an excursion to downtown Manhattan, where a burly artist is overflowing with unrequited love; Nick Nolte gives a powerhouse performance for filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who does his best directing since ``After Hours,'' which covered some of the same turf. ``Life Without Zoe'' is an exuberant fairy tale about a little girl who's so rich that life really is all roses; directed by Francis Coppola, it's bursting with energy and color. The capper, ``Oedipus Wrecks,'' is a quintessential Woody Allen fable about a middle-aged man with the ultimate nagging mom. As a bonus, the three unrelated stories were photographed (respectively) by three of the greatest cinematographers now practicing their art: Nestor Almendros, Vittorio Storaro, and Sven Nykvist. A few moments may be too sexy for some viewers, however. (Rated PG)

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