* ED WOOD - Tim Burton has painted sympathetic portraits of oddballs, misfits, and outsiders through most of his career, from ``Pee-Wee's Big Adventure'' to ``Edward Scissorhands'' and even the ``Batman'' pictures. Here he focuses on Edward D. Wood Jr., a real-life filmmaker who specialized in Grade Z exploitation movies like ``Glen or Glenda'' and the legendary ``Plan 9 From Outer Space,'' hailed by some as the worst picture in Hollywood history. Burton presents him as a would-be Orson Welles who'll make any sacrifice to get a picture in production, and who's so in love with movies that even the most howling mistakes look terrific to him.
Among the other characters are Wood's ambitious girlfriend, devoted fiancee, and longtime friends, including the great Bela Lugosi, who joined Wood's entourage near the end of his life. Although it's shot in modest black-and-white, Burton's biography is much too polished to recall the true Wood spirit. On the plus side, it takes a well-balanced approach to material that could easily have been sensationalized, such as Lugosi's drug addiction and Wood's fondness for wearing women's clothes. The story hops along so quickly that there's rarely a dull moment, although there is some needless vulgarity along the way.
Johnny Depp gives an infectious glow to the title character, and Martin Landau is positively sublime as Lugosi, an indomitable second-rater who's determined to keep plugging away until the very last camera stops turning. (Rated R)
* I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT - Charlotte is a dwarf whose mother refuses to acknowledge her daughter's unusual size. So nobody knows what to do when a handsome bachelor moves into town, falls in love with Charlotte, and insists on treating her like a thoroughly ordinary woman. Marcello Mastroianni heads a fine cast in this engrossing Argentine drama, directed with skill and sensitivity by Maria Luisa Bemberg. (Not rated)