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A weekly update of film releases

* I ONLY WANT YOU TO LOVE ME - Filmed in the mid-1970s but never released in the United States because of legal entanglements, this low-key melodrama by German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder focuses on a man who desperately wants to assure the happiness of his wife and family, but recognizes no way of accomplishing this except to shower them with gifts and conveniences he can't afford. Although less ingenious than Fassbinder's greatest works, the movie makes a pungent statement about the insidious effects of materialism and consumerism on postwar European life. (Not rated)

* IN CUSTODY - Ismail Merchant is best known as the producer half of the Merchant Ivory filmmaking team. In his first full-length movie as a director, he returns to his native India for the story of a schoolteacher who wants to record the recitations of his favorite poet for posterity, but is defeated by the eccentricities of the great author and of the changing society that surrounds him. Merchant has a directorial voice that's very much his own, capturing the rhythms and colors of his tragicomic tale with first-rate assistance from Larry Pizer's exquisite cinematography. The story is slender, though, and the screenplay by Anita Desai and Shahrukh Husain strings it out much longer than necessary, allowing a regrettable number of dead spots that weigh the movie down. (Rated PG)

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* SERIAL MOM - On the outside she's a suburban homemaker straight from ``Leave It to Beaver'' territory, but inside she has a murderous streak a mile wide. As usual, filmmaker John Waters piles up pitch-black comedy and over-the-top bad taste. But between the outrageous jokes there's a smidgen of serious thought about the yen for violence that shows itself in a wide range of contemporary activities, from gawking at wrongdoers on the talk-show circuit to cheerleading for capital punishment. (Rated R)

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