BERKELEY IN THE SIXTIES (Unrated) --
Mark Kitchell's imaginatively assembled documentary shines new, evocative light on an otherwise well-trod era. He covers the Free Speech Movement, the Black Panther rising, the antiwar demonstrations and a score of other radical happenings in Berkeley, Calif., with an enthralling mixture of footage -- then and now. Kitchell produces some priceless, firsthand testimony from people who lived through this time, watched it from the sidelines, helped it along, or fought it tooth and nail. A bemused Bobby Seale, for instance, recalls that it was plain-old capitalistic profit-making, rather than radical ideology, that made the Panthers sell Chairman Mao's Little Red Book on street corners. Activist/anthropologist Jentri Anders recalls how she and a Buddhist demonstrator sat on train tracks before an oncoming troop train to protest the Vietnam War. When the train kept going, she leaped from the tracks. But the Buddhist stayed resolutely where she was. Only later, when Anders bumped into the woman, did she find out someone had pulled her off the tracks just in time. The highlights are plentiful: A police officer watches with less than rapture as University of California students, protesting curbs on free expression, surround a squad car for two days. A burly, crewcut draftee, on his way to war, threatens a leafletting, antiwar demonstrator with his fists. California Gov. Ronald Reagan demonstrates his contempt for a film projected on a wall during a protest, which displayed "naked torsos -- on occasion." Later, his troops come in to surround a peaceful rally, while a helicopter bombs the crowd with nausea gas. Haight-Ashbury hippies dance in a blissful stupor. Black Panthers stand to rigid attention . . . It plays for one week only; catch it while you can. Biograph.
I COME IN PEACE (R) --
Dolph Lundgren may be the only screen personality capable of making Arnold Schwarzenegger look like an actor. This time, the Swedish-accented hunkaton (that's hunk and automaton) is no Russian boxer, Master of the Universe or army mercenary, he's a cop. The usual kind, that is. The kind who's on-the-rocks with his woman (Betsy Brantley), loses his partner to a mysterious killer and gets stuck with a partner (FBI man Brian Benben) he doesn't like. To screenwriters Jonathan Tydor and Leonard Maas Jr.: I have to say that is a truly excellent concept. Actually, in all fairness, it should be pointed out that this has got to be the first movie in which the murder weapon is a CD. That's right, the circular little music disc. But this is no ordinary Kemp Mill $10.99 CD: It's a killer disc, with nasty edges, which can slice fatal slits in your throat. While bickering with his FBI partner about whether to solve crimes by the book (Benben's way) or by hunch (Lundgren's), our intrepid Dolph gets an inkling that the killer may not be of this world. You know, there's not a whole lot more to say about this . . . Area theaters.