In Shifting Sands Directed by Scott Ritter (Five Rivers, opens December 27, at the Quad) The UN's former chief weapons inspector in Iraq, Scott Ritter has caught grief for veering wildly between wanting to kick Saddam's ass and blasting the U.S. for warmongering. Hawks loved the voluble ex-marine when he was painting a grim scenario of Iraq's weaponry. These days they hate him because he's now telling anyone who will listen that U.S. officialswhether under Clinton or Dubyanever wanted Iraq to disarm peacefully. Ritter's point is that the U.S. has tried to set up confrontations between the inspectors and Iraq to give the U.S. an excuse to bomb Baghdad and oust Saddam. Why should anyone be surprised by Ritter's disillusionment and schizo behavior? He was a pawn in a deadly chess match, and pawns get sacrificed. Ritter himself aside, his 90-minute documentary is an interesting cross between a Frontline exposé and World's Scariest Weapons Inspections Videos. And basic truths seep out sideways: Yes, it's all about oil. And, yes, Saddam is a demon who's perfect for further demonization. Ward Harkavy
Kaante Directed by Sanjay Gupta (Pritesh Nandy, at the Loews State) Shot in Los Angeles, this Bollywood thug meditation is another in a recent spate of crossover bids aiming for stateside audiences. Rounding out at two-and-a-half hours, Gupta's film is ostensibly concerned with a bank heist gone awry, butactually seems more intent on proving that five tough guys in suits walking towards the camera in slow motion really is the coolest thing ever. Similar Reservoir Dogs homagesbroken up by some typically incongruous Bolly-pop featuring the requisite scantily clad Indian J.Lostand in for plot, creating a slothfulhybrid of Hollywood gangster flicks and genre garishness that may be a new animal. Just like last summer's Fish From Hell. Nat Johnson
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