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NEW RELEASES
City of Ghosts (R)

Director: Matt Dillon. With Dillon, Natascha McElhone, James Caan, Gérard Depardieu. (116 min.)

Sterritt ** Dillon makes his directorial debut with this thriller about a con artist dueling with his accomplice in Bangkok, which is photographed as a web of rich exoticism and decadent sleaze. He also plays the leading role. The film has plenty of shortcomings, but it's fun to see Caan back in action.

Confidence (R)

Director: James Foley. With Edward Burns, Rachel Weisz, Andy Garcia, Dustin Hoffman. (98 min.)

Sterritt * A con artist plans his last big scam, motivated by revenge and dogged by mobsters who feel he owes them. The film is as tricky and superficial as its low-life characters, using visual flimflam to mask its lack of substance. The confidence-game scenes work reasonably well, since they allow characters to interact with a little intensity; the rest is awful.

Cremaster Cycle (Not rated)

Director: Matthew Barney. With Matthew Barney, Ursula Andress, Richard Serra, Norman Mailer. (397 min.)

Sterritt *** A major figure in the New York art scene, Barney mixes ancient legends, contemporary myths, dreamlike visions, and his distinctive visual stylistics in this five-part series of plotless meditations on the human imagination. At its best it's evocative and riveting. Too bad its longest portion, the three-hour "Cremaster 3," is also the weakest.

House of Fools (R)

Director: Andrei Konchalovsky. With Julia Vysotsky, Bryan Adams, Sultan Islamov, Elena Fomina. (104 min.)

Sterritt ** The setting is an out-of-the-way mental hospital beset with even more chaos than usual by the violence of the Chechen war; the main character is a lovelorn woman who keeps despair at bay with daydreams of the pop icon she idolizes. Konchalovsky keeps the action reasonably quick, but sentimental storytelling eventually swamps the picture. In Chechen and Russian; English subtitles.

Identity (R)
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