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Opening Films 

by Inlander Staff

**** City of God -- An adaptation of the novel by Paulo Lins, which is a fictionalization of the author's youth in the favelas (slums) outside of Rio de Janeiro. Indelibly fun to watch -- and recently recognized with Oscar nominations -- City of God is a self-mythologizing portrait of the allure and despair of juvenile crime in a milieu that offers no other escape. It's dizzying, dazzling and never flinches from the harshness of what its many characters go through. It's the kind of art that genuinely confronts the question, "what is the value of human life?" And why are we so reckless with the fate of the youth of the world? Showing at the Met Cinema. (RP) Rated: R

**** The Fog of War -- As Errol Morris stated on Oscar night while picking up his statuette, it's about time his films were recognized. This time the documentarian plunks his Interrotron in front of former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, who served during the Kennedy and Johnson presidencies. At 85, McNamara is an amazing fount of information, with detailed recall of Vietnam-era events and major governmental mistakes (or were they lies?) made back in World War II. The film is incredibly prescient in these times of phantom WMDs. Morris never flinches in asking the tough questions, McNamara never backs down in his answers. A fascinating film. (ES) Rated: PG-13

*** Hidalgo -- A guy and his horse get on a boat... but this isn't the start of a bad joke. It's a film about Frank Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen) and his Mustang, Hidalgo -- members of the Buffalo Bill Cody Wild West Show, both a bit long in the tooth, but nevertheless expert riders. A sheikh (Omar Sharif) invites them to take part in a 3,000-mile desert race for big stakes, and the rest is a big entertaining movie, with a couple of extraneous visual effects, but some splendid action, acting and storytelling. (ES) Rated PG-13

*** Starsky and Hutch -- It's a smooth and hip translation from old TV show to new movie, with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in the leads, an emphasis on comedy, and a setting in the mid-1970s. The two "difficult" cops are teamed up to take on a murder case that turns out to be drug-related. Stiller gives us a terrific by-the-books uptight character, and Wilson is just as good going the laid-back route. With Snoop Dog as a slippery Huggy Bear, plenty of leisure suits and Afros, and the hard-charging red Torino flying through the air in slo-mo. (ES) Rated PG-13

Publication date: 03/04/04

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