Breaking the Waves

Also just released from Kino, and an essential part of any film library, are three beautifully restored volumes of The Chaplin Mutuals, 12 shorts made in 1917 and 1918 as Chaplin broke away from the limitations of Mack Sennett's slapstick style and, for better or worse, began seeing himself as a real artist.

Contact Kino at 800-562-3330 or www.kino.com.

JACKIE 007: The likable but unimpressive Rush Hour (New Line) may be the film that finally established Jackie Chan as a presence in American action comedies, but Chan's new fans would do better to check out Jackie Chan's "Who Am I?" (Columbia TriStar, Feb. 2, rental only), one of his biggest hits overseas but heading straight to video in the U.S. after a brief run on HBO. Chan plays a CIA commando who gets amnesia while on a mission in Africa and spends the rest of the film dodging the attacks of his former employers. OK, the story is the usual James Bond stuff, but the action sequences are among Chan's best ever, including a truly spectacular stunt where Jackie slides down the side of a 21-story building.

WHITE-COLLAR CRIME: In her photographic work, Cindy Sherman has re- created an imaginary world of Hollywood melodrama and tragedy, starring the photographer herself, using the form of the movie still to suggest a haunting subtext of loneliness and despair behind the celluloid past. Produced by avant-garde mogul Christine Vachon, Sherman's first movie, the barely released Office Killer (Dimension, Feb. 9, rental only), takes its inspiration from a less predictable source: gory horror thrillers from the '70s like Deranged and Don't Look in the Basement. Carol Kane plays Dorine, a mousy copy editor at a New York magazine who reacts to downsizing at the office by going on a killing spree, then preserving the corpses of her victims in her rec room. Despite a prestigious cast (Jeanne Tripplehorn, Molly Ringwald, Eric Bogosian and Barbara Sukowa) and the occasional reminder of the photographer's fascination with women's faces, there's not a trace of modernist detachment or postmodern irony in sight. Perhaps that's the real joke: Just as Sherman uses photography to create imaginary found objects from Hollywood's past, her first film is a relic of a different kind, a painstaking re-creation of something that might have comfortably fit on a double bill with Alice, Sweet Alice or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 25 years ago.

FAST FORWARD: Recently released: Hal Hartley's Henry Fool*, Susan Skoog's Whatever* and Brian Gilbert's Wilde* (all from Columbia TriStar), Vincent Gallo's Buffalo '66* and Richard Kwietniowski's Love and Death on Long Island* (both from Universal), Stephen Soderbergh's Schizopolis and Michael Haneke's Funny Games* (both from Fox/Lorber), Takeshi Kitano's Fireworks* (New Yorker), Nick Broomfield's Kurt and Courtney* (BMG Independents). Coming on Feb. 2: John Cassavetes' Husbands (Columbia TriStar). Coming on Feb. 9: Radley Metzger's The Dirty Girls and The Princess and the Call Girl (First Run Features), Emir Kusturica's Underground* (New Yorker), Brad Anderson's Next Stop Wonderland* (Miramax) and John Carpenter's Vampires (Columbia TriStar). Titles marked with an asterisk are for rental only.

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