International Movies Surface in February

Many international movies are also arriving in theaters. The critically acclaimed Live Flesh, from popular Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodvar, is about a paralyzed policeman, his beautiful wife, his former partner, and the man jailed for causing his injury. Some action is lurid, but passionate performances help make this Almodvar's most successful movie since "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown."

Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai has pleased many American moviegoers with "Chungking Express" and "Happy Together," and he brings similar energy to Fallen Angels, about an assassin and the women in his life. The action has Wong's usual blend of inventiveness and pop-culture panache.

Also from Asia is Gonin, directed by Japanese filmmaker Takashi Ishii and featuring Takeshi Kitano. An entrepreneur, an out-of-work businessman, and a former cop are among the characters of this violent melodrama, which lacks depth.

Full Speed focuses on a young writer caught in shifting relationships with friends of different races and genders. Gael Morel directed the offbeat drama, which casts more light on France's multicultural society than on the inner lives of its characters.

Harder to describe is The Dress, about a housedress that passes from one person to another, bringing its owners all sorts of emotional adventures. Dutch filmmaker Alex Van Warmerdam directed the black comedy, which combines the hilarious and the unsettling in roughly equal proportions.

* 'Live Flesh,' rated R, contains graphic sex and violence. The other movies are not rated, but each contains some degree of sex, violence, and vulgarity.

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