A weekly update of film releases

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS: THE DISCOVERY - Columbus finds America, does a little plundering, and goes home. Although a few scenes depict the greed and fanaticism that played a large role in the subsequent colonization of the New World, most of the picture is so hilariously Hollywooden that nobody could mistake it for real history. Still, little good is done by lending more wide-screen currency to simplistic myths that cloud a balanced understanding of the past. John Glen directed. (Rated PG-13) LAWS OF GRAVITY - Three days in the lives of some tough Brooklyn guys, their friends, and their enemies. The superbly acted story is filmed in long, brilliantly sustained shots that capture social interactions, and the relationship between people and their environment, with amazing clarity and insight. Directed by Nick Gomez, a newcomer of astounding promise. (Rated R) WILD WHEELS - You probably wash your car and have it painted once in a while. But this documentary is about folks who paste beads, glue postcards, sew buttons, install mirrors, and grow grass on their automobiles. These activities are called "car art," and Harrod Blank's film explores them with energy, wit, and good-natured friendliness toward the people who inhabit this rarely visited terrain. The picture is surprising, splendiferous, and so tacky you can't help loving it. (Not rated)

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