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Capsule reviews of Perfect Stranger and Into Great Silence.

Perfect Stranger
When the powers-that-be fuck her over on her exposé of an intern-fucking U.S. senator, star newspaper reporter Halle Berry says "Fuck you" to the world of print journalism -- until, that is, her old childhood friend (Nicki Aycox) washes up dead in the Hudson and Berry sets out to put the screws to the smarmy ad exec (Bruce Willis) who was fucking the dead woman behind his wife's back. Pulling her best Lois Lane, Berry goes undercover in Willis' glass-and-steel office and, with a little IT help from her own Jimmy Olsen (Giovanni Ribisi), starts giving the boss virtual cock-teases under the IM handle "Rocketgirl." Directed with palpable fatigue by James Foley (who once made good movies -- At Close Range), Perfect Stranger derives some novelty value from both its color-blind casting and being the most ludicrous Hollywood fuck-fest since the Willis-starring Color of Night (minus that movie's comic self-awareness). But as a thriller, it's so by-the-numbers that it's hardly worth keeping count. In the end, so much damning evidence has been amassed against nearly all the main characters that the final revelation feels like the one that merely tested the best. Perhaps, Clue-style, they should have included them all. It certainly would have lent new meaning to the expression, "Colonel Mustard did it in the pantry." Rated R. Opens Friday. ­ Scott Foundas

Into Great Silence
Silence has always functioned as a form of resistance, but perhaps never more so than it does today, when being "unreachable" is a cardinal sin. "The silent treatment" can be the most heinous of punishments because it feels almost inhuman, though for the subjects of Into Great Silence , Philip Gröning's painstaking meditation on the cloistered life, that's not a bad thing. "Behold, I have become human . . . join me in becoming God." is one of the many quoted religious passages. Gröning became interested in making a film about the Carthusian monks at France's Grande Chartreuse monastery in 1984 and wrote them saying so; in 2000 he got the all-clear. Well, semi-clear: In the six months he spent at the 17th-century compound, Gröning could use only natural light, had to abide by monastery rules, and was allowed no crew. The result is less a documentary than a Dogme treatment of some hermits keeping it real in the French Alps. Gröning traces the passing of the seasons with outdoor beauty shots of God's creations, while life inside is constructed as a series of human set pieces: Monk mops the floor, monk gets a haircut, and -- big finish -- monk eats lunch. The simplicity can seduce, but the point is solidly made by the two-hour mark of this 162-minute film, when you may tire of exalting the supposedly pure existence of a bunch of men playing house on a hill, oblivious (and useless) to the world of need and suffering beneath them. Not rated. Opens Friday at the Cedar Lee Theatre. ­ Michelle Orange

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