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DEEP CRIMSON. In real life they were known as the Lonely Hearts Killers. They were called ""The Honeymoon Killers'' in Leonard Kastle's 1970 cult movie. Now the tale of the couple who murdered lonely widows has been stunningly remade as ""Deep Crimson'' by Arturo Ripstein, Mexico's finest living director. An obese nurse whose breath reeks of the morgue (Regina Orozco) falls for a gigolo (Daniel Gimenez Cacho) who reminds her of Charles Boyer. Abandoning her children to be with him, she poses as his sister as the two, answering lonely-hearts ads, cross the Mexican countryside in the 1940s fleecing and slaughtering their victims. Ripstein and his wife, writer Paz Alicia GarcIadiego, lure us in with black comedy, inviting us to feel pity for the grotesque nurse and the vain gigolo, only to horrify us when the movie wades into the deep end of evil. A former assistant to Luis BuNuel, Ripstein shares with him a coolly unsentimental vision flecked with perverse wit. This monstrous love story serves up film noir at its most darkly authentic: it plays for keeps.

TELLING LIES IN AMERICA. Here's a surprise. Joe Eszterhas, the writer who inflicted ""Showgirls'' and ""Basic Instinct'' upon the world, redeems himself with this autobiographical tale of Hungarian-born teenager Karchy Jonas (Brad Renfro) struggling to decode the American way of life in early-'60s Cleveland. His mentor in mendacity is a slick, corrupt deejay named Billy Magic, a cynical hipster played to sleazy perfection by Kevin Bacon. While the elements in this coming-of-age saga may seem familiar--losing one's virginity to a doo-wop beat, payola in the music biz--Eszterhas brings a fresh, immigrant's-eye perspective to his tale. Sensitively directed by Guy Ferland, it features fine turns by Calista Flockhart as the grave, working-class girl Karchy desires and Maximilian Schell as Karchy's father. ""Telling Lies'' tells bittersweet truths about the moral cost of success in America.

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