Snap Judgment: Movies

Infernal Affairs Directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak

Finally arriving stateside, this 2002 Hong Kong hit thriller has already spawned two sequels and a planned U.S. remake by Martin Scorsese. Tony Leung and Andy (not director Andrew) Lau star as two moles--Leung a cop posing as a gangster, Lau a gangster who's also a respected cop--each of whom needs to root out the other before his cover is blown. The pace and plot are dizzying, but the movie also works as a study of fractured identity: the two have led double lives so long they're no longer sure who they are. Expect to be confused for 10 minutes. Then sit back and enjoy the ride.

A Dirty Shame Directed by John Waters

Leave it to the raunchy, shameless Waters to concoct a comedy that features an entire town going into heat. Starring a fearless and hilarious Tracey Ullman as a square middle-class mom who gets a bump on the head that turns her into the embodiment of raging lust, this exercise in bad taste is the "Dawn of the Dead" of nymphomania. Never mean-spirited, "A Dirty Shame" has some big laughs, but it's a one-joke movie that shows its strain well before the finish line. --D.A.

Shaun of the Dead Directed by Edgar Wright

Electronics-store clerk Shaun (Simon Pegg) is wasting his life downing pints at the local pub with his obnoxious flatmate Ed and underappreciating his way-out-of-his-league girlfriend Liz. He's such a zombie that an entire day passes before he notices a virus is spreading through London, turning everyone into actual zombies--the grunting, gnashing, undead kind. Can he survive? Will he bother trying? The zombie-movie genre already has some wink-wink funny entries, but this U.K. smash hit, written by Pegg and Wright, takes the prize. It's a bloody hoot.