Featured Stories

ANTWONE FISHER (PG-13)

Denzel Washington's directorial debut is an engaging tear-jerker about Antwone (Derek Luke), a sailor who's prone to violent outbursts. Under the care of a fatherly psychiatrist (Washington), Antwone sorts through the harrowing events of his childhood. The film occasionally lapses into shameless, sappy moments. But gutsy acting, smart writing and beautiful camera work elevate this true story miles above the lukewarm TV movie of the week it might have been. (Stephen Blair)

Area theaters

THE PIANIST (R)

This true Holocaust survival story is rendered by director Roman Polanski (who lost his own parents to the camps) as a grim and relentless descent into nightmare. Adrian Brody stars as Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Jewish musician who lives through the German partitioning of Warsaw and the taking of his family, only to be reduced to a near feral state as he repeatedly and barely eludes the Nazis. Brody's performance is gripping, and Polanski etches another unsettling study in psychological disintegration. To his credit, his treatment is methodical and free of emotional grandstanding, though this also risks a sense of the same note being played for

2 1Ú2 hours. But the director's powerfully clear-eyed vision is often memorable and startling Ñ and difficult to shake off. (Pat Holmes)

Fox Tower