And the Let's Skip the Movies and Rent a Video feature of the week? On a lean Friday for theatrical releases, it's easy: "Instinct." Starring Anthony Hopkins as a homicidal anthropologist in prison for acting like an animal and Cuba Gooding Jr. as his across-the-table Clarice Starling, this is directly targeted at the I-can't-wait-for-Hannibal-the-sequel crowd. Instead, stay home with the fava beans, the Chianti and "Silence of the Lambs." That's one option -- "Manimal" reruns are another -- but for hairy hearts of darkness, why not skip right to "King Kong"?
"Happy Xmas, War Is Over," said the walrus, and now that Christmas has apparently come in June it's time to look toward the holiday hangover. What will partitioned Kosovo look like in a month or so, when the victims, the villains and the victors all walk the same bomb-pocked streets? Maybe like the postwar Vienna of "The Third Man" (1950). Written by Graham Greene, lensed by the great Carol Reed (the just-deceased Oliver's uncle), and peopled with a pitch-perfect cast of Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Trevor Howard and a ravishing, gut-wrenching Alida Valli as the bad guy's girlfriend, this is quite simply one of the five best movies ever made, no taste-accounting necessary. Don't expect Kosovo to be as stylish, but the amoral flush of fresh peace (and fresh chaos) will no doubt be just as potent in Pristina as it was on the silver screen.