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On The Screen

onHHHH: Excellent

HHH: Good

HH: Average

H: Poor

HHHH Before the Rain

This movie tries too hard to be everything to everyone. While director Milcho Manchevski scores big by beginning his movie in a Dostoyevski-era Russian Orthodox cathedral, he ultimately teases the audience by beginning an innocent love story and then shooting holes in the leading lady. Because the movie is about war, its violent content is to be expected, but Manchevski' s move to switch the emphasis from a mute monk to a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer without finishing his original story could be construed as sneaky. However, the film is filled with stunning images, with an intricate structure that ties three separate stories together under an artistic exploration of life and death. If you like artsy political statements, this film's for you. -Teresa Esser. Brattle Theatre; Wednesday, June 14.

HHHH Blade Runner: The Director's Cut

The classic film Blade Runner celebrated its 10th anniversary (in 1992) with the release of the film director Ridley Scott originally wanted to make - without the annoying voice-over and the upbeat ending. The result is a wonderful, Kubrickian film with a meditative mood and a soaring Vangelis score. Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young give career performances in an apocalyptic urban nightmare of the future that was and may still be years ahead of its time. Worth seeing over almost any "new" movie currently playing. Brattle Theatre; Sunday, June 11.

HHH Crimson Tide

Tony Scott's latest action film (produced by the Simpson-Bruckheimer team behind Scott's Top Gun and Days of Thunder) stars Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman as a pair of feuding commanders on the U.S.S. Alabama, a submarine poised to deliver nuclear warheads to a Russian rebels who seize a missile base and put the world on the brink of World War III. Predictably, in the tradition of submarine films like The Hunt for Red October, the suspense factor is very high: The main characters are positioned for a face-off concerning a order to launch the missiles and an incomplete message which could possibly revoke the order. With Hackman as the hawkish commander and Washington as the idealistic lieutenant, the remainder of the plot details effortlessly fall into place; however, the film is so skillfully done, you don't mind being shown these situations again when you're enjoying the ride. -Scott Deskin. Sony Cheri.

HHH1/2 The Englishman

The Englishman is a low-budget, feel-good movie that excels at providing an in-depth look at provincial life in early twentieth-century Wales. The plot is simple: Two English surveyors (Hugh Grant and Colm Meaney) discover that "The First Mountain in Wales" is but a 984-foot hill. Outraged, the townspeople take it upon themselves to add sixteen feet of dirt to their beloved Fillan Garoo. Humor and World War I references add poignancy to this piece; in all, it is extremely well done, if a bit too patriarchical. -TE. Sony Nickelodeon.

HHH French Kiss

French Kiss is an very good movie with a strong cast and well-crafted humor. Kate (Meg Ryan) chases her fickle fiancé Charlie (Timothy Hutton) to Paris to win him back from a beautiful French woman (Susan Anbeh). On the plane trip, she encounters a mysterious Frenchman named Luc (Kevin Kline), who immediately cures her fear of flying. Luc, however, is not all that he appears to be. He offers to help Kate win back her fiancé only so he can recover a necklace which he has hidden in her bag. As Luc challenges Kate to rethink her life, she gradually becomes less fearful and more confident - even the man who abandoned her hardly recognizes her after a reunion. Luc's growth in integrity parallels Kate's growth in capability. Both Kline and Ryan are veteran performers who execute punchlines flawlessly. -Jimmy Wong. Sony Copley Place.

HHH I.Q.

Those who enjoyed Sleepless in Seattle may initially be shocked that Meg Ryan has become a doctoral candidate in mathematics in her new movie, I.Q.. Tim Robbins plays a mechanic who falls for Catherine (Meg Ryan), who happens to be Albert Einstein's niece. Her strong performance, as well as an exceptional performance by Walter Matthau as Einstein, makes this film a good addition to the romantic comedy genre. Surprisingly, it is not Ryan or Robbins who stand out in the film, but Matthau. His crafty Einstein comes up with a crazy plan that begins innocently but soon draws President Eisenhower to Princeton University. -JW. LSC; Friday, June 16.

HHH1/2 Naked Lunch

The perfect companion piece to Barton Fink, David Cronenberg's adaptation of William S. Burroughs' novel focused on the creative process behind the book, rather than on the text itself. While Barton Fink dealt with a writer who could not find inspiration, Naked Lunch involved a man whose entrance into a world of drugs and homosexuality was inspiration enough that his book practically wrote itself. Peter Weller gave a droll performance as the exterminator-turned-writer, Bill Lee; and the drug-induced settings of Interzone were very well made. The man behind the remake of The Fly and Dead Ringers has created another morbidly intelligent, horrific and surprisingly funny film. Brattle Theatre; Sunday, June 11.

HH1/2 While You Were Sleeping

A romantic comedy with a lot of classic scenes. Sandra Bullock plays Lucy, a lonely Chicago Transit Authority worker who falls in love with Peter, a nice guy who rides the train to work every day. She's waiting for the right opportunity to meet him when one day, she saves him from a speeding train. He's at the hospital in coma, and through some misunderstandings, his family believes that she's his fianceé. Then she meets Peter's brother, Jack, and the plot thickens. The film is entertaining because from the starting situation, the story and characters evolve in a likeable way. It isn't jaded or cynical; it's a funny love story that your younger siblings, your girl/boyfriend, or your parents can enjoy. -Kamal Swamidoss. Sony Copley Place.