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Auto Focus (R)

Director: Paul Schrader. With Greg Kinnear, Willem Dafoe, Rita Wilson, Ron Leibman. (107 min.)

Sterritt *** See review, page 15.

Fidel (Not rated)

Director: Estela Bravo. With Fidel Castro, Alice Walker, Sydney Pollack, Harry Belafonte. (91 min.)

Sterritt *** In place of the cold-war biases that have affected most American treatments of Castro's career, this well-produced documentary offers a sympathetic view of the Cuban leader's aims and ambitions. If anything, Bravo works too hard at extolling Castro, treating some of the issues – such as the case of Cuban boy Elian Gonzales – with sketchy, imprecise strokes that weaken her overall argument. The film's historical footage is compelling, though, and provides plenty to think about.

The Ring (PG-13)

Director: Gore Verbinski. With Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox, David Dorfman. (109 min.)

Staff ***1/2Rachel, a no-compromise reporter for a Seattle paper, is asked to investigate the strange deaths of four teens, all seven days after watching a haunted video tape. Urban legend, or deadly curse? Rachel must watch and find out. But soon, her own family is in danger. Will she solve the mystery in time, or will haunting visions from the tape overcome her? The film is one of the most intelligent and genuinely scary ghost stories to come around in a long time. The acting is adequate, and Verbinski directs with a Hitchcock confidence and menace, filling his compositions with subtle nuances and homages to horror classics. By Alex Kaloostian

Solaris (Not rated)

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky. With Natalya Bondarchuk, Donatas Banionis, Nikolai Grinko. (165 min.)


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