Director: Charles Shyer. With Hilary Swank, Jonathan Pryce, Adrien Brody, Simon Baker, Christopher Walken, Brian Cox, Joely Richardson. (120 min.)
Sterritt ** Check off the ingredients for an old-fashioned historical melodrama: an orphan with noble blood, a secretly sinful churchman, an imperious queen, a mystic who may or may not know the future, and a piece of spectacular jewelry that becomes the center of an explosive 18th-century scandal. This sort of material goes back to D.W. Griffith and beyond, and Swank's persona seems too modern to compete with Lillian Gish on her own turf. The movie has almost enough corny appeal to offset its lack of originality, though, and Walken is fun as Cagliostro, the court's great prognosticator and all-around weirdo.
Director: John Moore. With Gene Hackman, Owen Wilson, David Keith, Joaquim de Almeida. (105 min.)
Staff ** See review, page 15
Director: Peter Weir. With Richard Chamberlain, David Gulpilil, Olivia
Hamnett. (106 min.)
Sterritt **** A corporate lawyer in Sydney, Australia, agrees to defend a group of Aboriginal men against a murder charge, only to find that his clients are reluctant to discuss some aspects of their lives. Probing deeper, he learns that tribal mysteries aren't as absent from the modern Australian city as he thought, and before long his findings take on increasingly apocalyptic implications. Weir had a truly magical touch in early films like this 1977 masterpiece, which offers a transfixing excursion into the "dream time" of Australian myth.
Directors: Charles Broune Jr., Joel Holt. With Jayne Mansfield, Mickey Hargitay. (90 min.)
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