- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The documentary feature The Heart of the Game and the suspense thriller The King provide an exemplary contrast of the heartwarming and unnerving this weekend. The former concludes a six-year labor of faith by the Seattle-based filmmaker Ward Serrill, who decided to chronicle the fortunes of an unorthodox, untested high-school basketball coach, Bill Resler, entrusted with the girls’ team at Roosevelt High. An advocate of tireless defensive pressure and fast-breaking, he transforms the team into an annual contender for the state title but faces numerous challenges along the way. The King envisions William Hurt and Gael Garcia Bernal as an estranged father-and-son combination while evoking a good deal of the sinister, homicidal ambience that distinguishes Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley novels. Completing a hitch in the Navy, Mr. Bernal’s protagonist, a disarming psychopath named Elvis, is determined to insinuate himself in the life and respectable family of Mr. Hurt, a thriving evangelist in Corpus Christi, Texas. The interloper proves persistent with an appalling vengeance. Director James Marsh demonstrates an aptitude for naturalistic, enveloping menace that may seem tantamount to psychological torture. He leaves you feeling persuasively devastated. With Pell James in a stunning ingenue performance as Mr. Hurt’s susceptible daughter.

— Gary Arnold

American precisionist Charles Sheeler infused a seductive formal exactness and beauty in his work as the National Gallery of Art’s Charles Sheeler: Across Media handsomely shows. The exhibit concentrates on the often paradoxical relationships between his use of the different mediums of painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, film and drawing. The show focuses on a group of Sheelers recently added to the gallery collection, including the painting “Classic Landscape” (1931) and classic, well-known Conte crayon drawings “Interior with Stove” (1932). Probably best-known and appreciated are the paintings and drawings made from his “River Rouge Plant” photographs commissioned by the Ford Motor Co. in 1927. National Gallery of Art, Constitution Avenue and Fourth Street NW, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday; through Aug. 27. Free.

— Joanna Shaw-Eagle

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