Capsules by Michael Sragow. Full reviews are at baltimoresun.com/movies.
Flash of Genius : **** ( 4 STARS) The true-to-life story of how Robert Kearns (Greg Kinnear) invented the intermittent windshield wiper and then, in the courts, took on Ford Motor Co. for stealing his device. The whole movie is haunting and memorable, with flashes of high comedy. And it's exhilarating in an authentic, pathos-streaked way to see Kearns, through Kinnear's inspired characterization, represent himself during his trial. PG-13 110 minutes
I Served the King of England: **** ( 4 STARS) A randy Czech waiter with a gift for garnishing dishes (including his lovers) hones his talents during the rise of the Third Reich and keeps practicing them while Hitler annexes the Sudetenland and then takes all of Czechoslovakia. He comes to be the worst kind of escapist: the kind who diddles while his country burns. The brilliance of the film is that it consistently makes its points through comedy. R 120 minutes
Miracle at St. Anna: *** ( 3 STARS) It follows four "Buffalo Soldiers" - African-Americans fighting in segregated units - as they leapfrog over the rest of the Army's positions and land in a hamlet filled with terrified villagers. Even when the scene-making is prosaic, as they talk about interacting more easily with Italians than with white Americans, the actors' total identification with their roles transcends everything that's awkward or obvious. Omar Benson Miller brings a touch of the poet to a bighearted GI who becomes known as "the Chocolate Giant." R 155 minutes
Religulous : *** 1/2 ( 3 1/2) Bill Maher brings his disarmingly direct humor to the topic of organized religion in this bracing and funny documentary. Maher's central subject is religion as it is really practiced in the suburbs, the country and the streets (and even, increasingly, in our halls of government); until the heavy-handed ending, he manages to debunk blind faith with a twinkle in his eye. R 110 minutes