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Movie Guide

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Ace in the Hole (Not rated)

Director: Billy Wilder. With Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Richard Benedict, Ray Teal. (111 min.)

Sterritt **** Few films of bygone decades have retained their relevance as stingingly as this 1951 satire about a journalist who eagerly exploits the plight of a man trapped in a collapsed mine in order to restart his own failing career. It's dark, funny, ferocious, and vintage Wilder all the way. Originally released as "The Big Carnival."

City by the Sea (R)

Director: Michael Caton-Jones. With Robert De Niro, Frances McDormand, James Franco. (105 min.)

Sterritt ** See review, page 17.

The Decalogue (Not rated)

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski. With Krystyna Janda, Henryk Baranowski, Maria Pakulnis. (550 min.)

Sterritt **** An apartment complex in Warsaw is the primary setting for this series of 10, approximately hour-long dramas, loosely based on the Ten Commandments and exploring a wide range of moral, ethical, and psychological issues, from the motivations for capital punishment to the meaning of God in the modern world. Most are enthralling; some are small masterpieces. Originally produced as a miniseries for Polish television.

The Execution of Wanda Jean (Not rated)

Director: Liz Garbus. With Wanda Jean Allen, Ruby Wilson. (88 min.)

Sterritt *** A nonfiction chronicle of events leading to the execution of a mentally slow African-American woman in Oklahoma for the 1989 murder of her female lover. The documentary is revealing and chilling, although it doesn't explore the inner workings of the American criminal-justice system as thoroughly as one might wish.

Heartbreak Hospital (Not rated)

Director: Ruedi Gerber. With Chelsea Altman, John Shea, Diane Venora, Demián Bichir. (91 min.)


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