By Nick Schager
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Simon Abrams
By Amanda Lewis
By Scott Foundas
By B. Caplan
Out of the Black Tyler Christopher, Tom Atkins and Sally Kirkland star in Karl Kozak's drama about brothers intent on unraveling the mystery surrounding the coal mine explosion that killed their father. Wednesday, April 10, 3 p.m.; Friday, April 12, 9:30 p.m.
Rediscovering George Washington Director Michael Pack paints a revisionist documentary portrait of the first U.S. president. Wednesday, April 10, 5 p.m.
*Return to Belaye: A Rite of Passage Can a documentary penetrate the mysteries of a rite that changes its male celebrants in deep, unseen ways? Amy Flannery is too intelligent a filmmaker to try. This documentary follows Flannery's Senegalese husband, Papis Goudiaby, back to his birthplace for his people's traditional initiation into manhood. Rather than simply casting a dispassionate eye on ancient customs, however, the highly personal film uses that engrossing story line to examine the complex dimensions of a cross-cultural marriage. Flannery employs startling juxtapositions -- cutting from their Washington, D.C., home to Goudiaby's West African village -- to highlight the vast physical and emotional distances this perceptive couple has traveled. As the initiation approaches amid a sumptuous whirl of elaborate customs and celebrations, Flannery faces her own fears that her beloved husband will return unrecognizable from the forest rite that is strictly off-limits to women. Monday, April 8, 5 p.m. (J.S.)
*The Rhino Brothers Director Dwayne John Beaver's feature film debut tackles the world of Canadian hockey through the lives of three brothers: an ex-pro player, a struggling minor-leaguer and the leader of a local amateur team called the Rhinos. Manipulating them all is their mother, Ellen Kanachowski, an aggressive, chain-smoking, hockey-obsessed nutcase. Gabrielle Rose (The Sweet Hereafter, The Five Senses) is phenomenal in the role, portraying in quick succession the drive of a coach, the pride of a mother, the jealousy of a mother-in-law and the desperation of a woman whose life has spun out of her control. The film may be named after the brothers, but the male characters in the movie mostly just grunt and skate and fight. The women are far more subtle and interesting in their struggles to protect and promote their husbands and boyfriends and sons. One touching scene has the Rhinos rolling through the streets in the back of a pickup, pathetically collecting bottles and aluminum cans to support a team the town no longer cares about. Most impressive, Beaver doesn't feel the need to force a happy ending. Wednesday, April 10, 7:15 p.m.; Friday, April 12, 3 p.m. (L.K.)
The Rose Technique A paint-by-number indie that wants to convince you it's too edgy for the mainstream, but don't be fooled. Self-help guru Dr. Lillian Rose's (JoBeth Williams) penchant for smacking people with a baseball bat and cutting off their ears and fingers does not pack the punch of an Eating Raoul or a Delicatessen, or even a Serial Mom. Nor do Rose's conversations with her mannequin friend have quite the panache of Norman Bates's rants with mother. And unlike The House of Yes, where the main character's obsession with Jackie O makes a strange sort of sense in her wacked-out universe, here such quirkiness comes off as merely stupid. There might be some gold to mine in the idea of a radio psychologist in desperate need of therapy, but writer/producer Ray Stroeber doesn't seem to realize that the insane disturb us not when they are preposterous but when they come inches from convincing us they're sane. In one promising scene, Rose inexplicably sends a young protégé who has recently had all his fingers amputated to "take care of" a snooping reporter. Just as you start to ponder the mechanics of this, a hilarious fight ensues in which the boy uses his bandaged stumps like boxing gloves. Unlike too many of the scenes in this film, this moment is far too short. Friday, April 5, 7:15 p.m.; Friday, April 12, 9:30 p.m. (D.O.K.)
Samia Moroccan-born filmmaker Philippe Faucon focuses on the rebellion of an adolescent girl who is suffocated by the rigid traditions and rules of her North African family in southern France. Tuesday, April 9, 7:15 p.m.; Wednesday, April 10, 3 p.m.
Stand-By This French drama, directed by Roch Stephanik, is about a woman devastated by her lover's announcement of his plans to leave her just minutes before their scheduled flight to Buenos Aires. Monday, April 8, 7:15 p.m.; Thursday, April 11, 9:30 p.m.
Terror from Within Jason Van Fleet directs a timely documentary about domestic terrorism in the United States. Saturday, April 6, 5 p.m.
*Tom Jones Winner of the 1963 Academy Award for Best Picture, Tony Richardson's boisterous adaptation of Henry Fielding's picaresque novel is justly famous for a hilarious scene that makes sharing a late-night chicken dinner seem like the sexiest thing two people could do with their clothes on. More important, this frolicking film turned Albert Finney -- dead-solid perfect in the title role as an upwardly mobile rake who woos and wenches his way through 18th-century England -- into an international star. Susannah York, Diane Cilento and a very young Lynn Redgrave are among the lovelies who cross his path during his romantic ramblings. But if you're not the literary type, be forewarned: This film isn't about the guy who sings "It's Not Unusual" and "What's New, Pussycat?" Sunday, April 14, 5 p.m. (J.L.)
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