A weekly update of film releases

IRON & SILK - A young American man travels to China to learn about the country's life and culture, and discovers that understanding between two peoples isn't always easy to achieve. Mark Salzman stars in this gentle but not very penetrating film, which is based on a book he wrote about his own experiences. Shirley Sun directed the picture, finishing the photography just two days before the Tiananmen Square massacre. (Not rated)

OPENING NIGHT - This belatedly released 1978 production demonstrates all the qualities that made John Cassavetes inimitable as a filmmaker. The story, about an actress who suffers an emotional crisis while rehearsing a play about an aging woman, works more by instinct and intuition than by logic or dramatic calculation. The performances by a superb cast, including Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara as well as Cassavetes himself, are as passionate as they are ingenious. The film is choppy and even confused at ti m

es, but its emotions ring true every instant. Quite simply, there's nothing like it, except a few other Cassavetes pictures that are just as brilliant and ornery. (Not rated)

WARLOCK - He hails from 17th-century Boston, but modern California is the place he's terrorizing now. When it clicks, this is the "Miami Blues" of horror movies, with touches of offbeat humor. When it doesn't, which is most of the time, it's just goofy and gory. Steve Miner directed. (Rated R)

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