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Cowards Bend the Knee (Not rated)

Director: Guy Maddin. With Darcy Fehr, Melissa Dionisio, Louis Negin, Amy Stewart. (64 min.)

Sterritt **** Canada's most rollicking and imaginative moviemaker does it again, setting a silent-movie plot about jealousy, insanity, and hands with a murderous mind of their own against backgrounds as different as a beauty salon and a hockey arena that houses a forgotten wax museum. There's a new visual idea every second, each teeming with energy, pitch-dark comedy, and inspired cinematic lunacy. Shown with two zany Maddin shorts, "Sombra Dolorosa" and "Sissy-Boy Slap-Party," and "The Phantom Museum," a typically eccentric stop-motion concoction from the Quay Brothers of England.

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (Not rated)

Director: Robert Greenwald. With James Wolcott, Peter Hart, Al Franken, Eric Alterman. (77 min.)

Sterritt **** Documentary arguing exactly what the title indicates. It's not "fair and balanced," but why should it be, at a time when that phrase so frequently captions material that's really the Orwellian opposite? This is an op-ed polemic, and it's refreshing to see one so skillfully produced by filmmakers with a shoestring budget and meager access to mainstream distribution. A must-see movie, no matter what your politics are.

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (PG)

Director: Garry Marshall. With Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews, John Rhys-Davies, Hector Elizondo. (120 min.)

Staff ** Apart from a scene in which Julie Andrews sings - an all too rare occasion nowadays - this sequel holds few surprises. Princess Mia (Hathaway) is the princess of Genovia, a golf-course-size country on the Continent, which looks about as European as Disneyland Paris (the citizens speak in a SoCal dialect, too). She's set to inherit the throne from Queen Renaldi (Andrews), when Genovia's 10-member parliament rules that the princess must be married before her coronation. Soon Mia has to choose between an arranged marriage with a Prince Charles-like dweeb or a hottie who looks like Rob Lowe Jr. Hathaway is delightful, but this lazily plotted "Bachelorette" for tweens ends with the least dramatic wedding ceremony ever. By Stephen Humphries

Tom Dowd & the Language of Music (Not rated)
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