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Ararat (R)

Director: Atom Egoyan. With David Alpay, Arsinée Khanjian, Christopher Plummer, Elias Koteas. (116 min.)

Sterritt ** A young man explains to a troubled customs official why a film he's making - about the horrific treatment of Armenians by Turks in the World War I era - has strong reverberations in his own Armenian-Canadian family; this sparks a densely structured series of flashbacks, film-within-a-film scenes, and episodes from the present day. Egoyan is one of Canada's most ambitious and original filmmakers, but the power of this intricate drama falls short of its aspirations, despite his personal investment in the subject, since he is of Armenian ancestry himself.

El Crimen del Padre Amaro (R)

Director: Carlos Carrera. Gael Garcia Bernal, Sancho Gracia, Ana Claudia Talancón, Damían Álcazar. (120 min.)

Sterritt **** A young Roman Catholic priest takes a position in a rural Mexican church and gets caught in a tangled web of temptations involving an older priest with ties to organized crime, a local drug kingpin, an idealistic cleric who believes the church must engage in active struggle on behalf of oppressed people, and a woman he falls in love with despite his vow of chastity. Excellent acting, intelligent screenwriting, and dynamic filmmaking give this Mexican production a forceful emotional and intellectual charge. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Half Past Dead (PG-13)

Director: Don Michael Paul. With Morris Chestnut, Steven Seagal, Nia Peeples.


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