Stage Beauty Directed by Richard Eyre

In 1660, when women were barred from appearing onstage, Ned Kynaston (Billy Crudup) is England's most cherished performer of female parts. But the star's world collapses when Charles II (Rupert Everett) decrees that henceforth women will play women. It's a marvelous premise, and Crudup's serpentine performance has a venomous grace. But Jeffrey Hatcher's screenplay too often sacrifices psychological insight for bogus theatricality.

Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry

Directed by George Butler

When charismatic 27-year-old Vietnam vet John Kerry testified against the war before a Senate committee, the Nixon White House knew it had a formidable enemy who had to be destroyed. (The man it recruited to do its dirty work, John O'Neill, is still at it--he's the founding member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.) Butler's stirring film wasn't made to refute its slanders, though it does. It's a richly documented history of Kerry's war- time experience and of the Veterans Against the War movement. It's hard not to be impressed by Kerry's courage and calm leadership--and to wonder if that guy will show up again.

Dig! Directed by Ondi Timoner

So you want to be a rock-and-roll star? You'll think twice after seeing this painfully funny account of the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Timoner follows their fates for seven years, focused on the love-hate relationship between the gifted, massively self-destructive Anton Newcombe, of the Massacre, and the less-talented, better-adjusted Courtney Taylor of the Warhols. It's like a spectacular roadside accident: you can't turn away.

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