Out on Video
A weekly update of video releases
MAYA LIN: A STRONG CLEAR VISION - A nonfiction look at the wonderful life and inspiring work of Maya Lin, who launched her remarkable career by winning the design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, then weathered a firestorm of controversy over its artistic quality and political meanings. The film includes a lively account of her early years in the only Asian-American family of her Midwestern community. She also guides us through the creative process behind more-recent memorials - dedicated to the civil rights movement and the growing presence of Ivy League women. Freida Lee Mock wrote and directed the picture, which won the Academy Award for best feature documentary in 1995. (Not rated; American Film Foundation)
IT'S A PLEASURE!
Sonja Henie made her name in the world of sports, becoming a champion skater in her native Norway and blitzing the Winter Olympics three times in a row during the 1920s and '30s. Her movie career flourished for a while but turned slippery before this romantic musical hit the screen in 1945. Using a slender story - a skating star marries a hockey pro with a drinking problem - the film bridges idle moments between ice-arena production numbers. The music is peppy and the Technicolor hues are vivid in this good video transfer, but only nostalgia fans and skating buffs will sit through the whole picture. Directed by William A. Seiter. (Not rated; MGM/UA Home Video)
KILLER: A JOURNAL OF MURDER - Less lurid than its title, this fact-based drama juxtaposes the personalities and experiences of two very different people whose lives came together in the 1920s: a murderer with a depraved yet intelligent mind and a young prison guard with an idealistic temperament and a desperate desire to help society's lost souls. James Woods is his usual intensive self as the convict, and Robert Sean Leonard is convincingly decent as his would-be mentor. Written and directed by Tim Metcalfe, who based his screenplay on the real-life criminal's autobiographical book. (R; Republic Pictures)