{sstar} Crash

R, 2004, 100 minutes, Lions Gate

The aftermath of Rodney King and 9/11 seems to sear the nostrils of every Los Angeleno in Paul Haggis's white-knuckle hatefest among characters of almost every ideological, cultural or religious stripe. Asians, Latinos, whites, blacks, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian all clash in this multi-character story that features Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges. If "Crash" only showed the dark side of humanity, it would barely be worth the viewing. But the movie is also about the best in people. Contains sexual scenes, obscenity and violence.

* Extra: Commentary by Haggis, writer-producer Bobby Moresco and Don Cheadle.

-- Desson Thomson

Save the Green Planet!

Unrated, 2003, 118 minutes,

Koch Lorber Films

"You probably think I'm crazy." These are the first words the audience hears -- spoken via voiceover by protagonist Lee Byeong-Gu (Shin Ha-Gyun) -- in this bizarre yet occasionally compelling sci-fi/thriller/comedy hybrid. Within moments of Lee's confession, we find out he believes Kang Man-Shik (Baek Yun-Shik), the CEO of a major chemical company, is an extra-terrestrial plotting with other aliens to destroy the Earth. So, with help from submissive girlfriend Sooni (Hwang Jung-Min), Lee kidnaps Kang and proceeds to inflict a wide variety of physical atrocities upon him. Amidst all the tonal and storyline shifts, first-time director Jang Jun-Hwan attempts to slip in some blistering social commentary on the evils of big corporations. Contains violence, scenes of torture and foul, subtitled language. In Korean with English subtitles.

* Extra: Behind-the-scenes featurettes.

-- Jen Chaney

{sstar} 3-Iron

R, 2004, 90 minutes, Columbia Tristar

Boy (Jae Hee) meets Girl (Lee Seung-yeon) after breaking into Girl's house. Boy beats up Girl's abusive husband by whacking him with golf balls. Boy and Girl run off together, get into trouble with law. Boy is sent to jail; Girl back to husband. Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk adds touches of magical realism. It's a haunting, poetic meditation that gives new meaning to the term "dream date." Contains violence, nudity, brief sensuality and obscenity. In Korean with subtitles.

* Extra: Director commentary.

-- Michael O'Sullivan