BLAZE - The unlikely love affair of Blaze Starr, a stripper, and Earl K. Long, a Louisiana governor. Paul Newman is strong, if monotonous, as the politician, and there are tantalizing glimpses of the civil-rights struggle in the Deep South during the late 1950s. Too bad this fascinating history is subordinated to a romantic yarn that is as superficial as it is sleazy. Ron Shelton directed from his own screenplay. (Rated R) GLORY - The true story of the first African-American regiment in the United States, which fought in the Civil War with bravery and distinction. Unfortunately, the filmmakers have followed the cowardly Hollywood practice of giving their black story a white hero, putting their main focus on the commander of the regiment, played by Matthew Broderick in an oddly lame performance. Such gifted black actors as Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington are superb, however, in supporting roles. Directed by Edward Zwick from Kevin Jaffe's screenplay. (Rated R)

ROGER & ME - Roger is Roger Smith, the chief executive of General Motors, and Me is filmmaker Michael Moore, who wants to confront Smith about plant closings and layoffs in Flint, Mich., his home town. Bold, provocative, and hilarious, this politically charged film is one of the sharpest documentaries ever made; it's also one of the three or four best movies of 1989. Don't look for even-handedness, though. And don't depend on it for a strict accounting of facts, since Moore is slippery about the sequence of some events. (Not rated)

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