“Markus Raetz,” sponsored by the Art Club of Chicago, is a multimedia exhibition by one of Switzerland’s most respected artists. The exhibit will showcase a variety of Raetz’s work, including figurative, still-life and landscape subjects exploring perspective, optical illusions and more. (Tues. thru Fri., 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 2 to 5 p.m. Show runs through Dec. 14. The University Gallery at the UMass Fine Arts Center. Call 545-3670.)
Academy of Music Theater
In the fictional “Ghost World,” best friends and fellow misfits Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson unite against post-graduation suburban stupidity. Director Terry Zwigoff evokes the same mix of alienation and heartbreak that made “Crumb” one of the best documentaries of the ’90s. Deliciously snotty and ultimately sad, this sleeper gives indie films a good name. Ubiquitous indie-man Steve Buscemi co-stars.
Cinemark at Hampshire Mall
In Kevin Smith’s latest, “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” when they learn that their likenesses will be featured in a movie-and they won’t see any of the profits. The Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of New Jersey finally get their own movie, although Smith must have confused “slacker comedy” with “slack comedy.” Probably pretty funny when you’re high, though.
Leelee Sobieski and Trevor Morgan are stuck in “The Glass House” with the adoptive parents from hell (Diane Lane and Stellan Skarsgard) in this paranoia thriller.
“Hardball” recycles “Bad News Bears” hijinks for a new generation. It’s based on a true story, though, and athletic roles bring out the best in leading man Keanu Reeves (“The Replacements”) and co-star Diane Lane.
A high school drama based on Othello, “O” is mostly ludicrous, although the oval imagery is neat. Mekhi Phifer, Josh Hartnett and Julia Stiles star.
“The Others,” a horror film starring Nicole Kidman as a mother whose children see dead people (damn, that’s original) is notable for Kidman’s layered performance and as the English-language debut of Chilean director Alejandro Amenabar. He directs this somewhat familiar tale with visual flair, delivering some genuine frights along the way.
“Rock Star,” the musical equivalent of “Rocky,” features winning performances by Mark Wahlberg as the “wannabe who got to be” and Jennifer Aniston as his girlfriend, but what should have been a lighter-than-air comic souffle eventually settles into heavy-handed show-biz schmaltz.
Pleasant Street Theater
“Beau Travail” is a devastating tale of the life of Galoup (Denis Lavant), an Ex-Foreign Legion officer. Galoup led what once was a contented existence in the Gulf of Djibouti, taking comfort in the routine and discipline inherent to his job and the troops he was in charge of. Trouble arises, however, when his life spirals into a tangled web of jealousy and betrayal within his own ranks.
“Bread and Tulips,” which takes place in the breathtaking venue of Venice, Italy, follows the life of disaffected housewife Rosalba (Licia Maglietta). When Rosalba gets separated from her family during a vacation, she takes advantage of her newfound freedom.
“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” makes the transition from stage (it was an off-Broadway sensation) to screen with aplomb. Hedwig, a German transvestite rock and roll singer, engages in gender warfare of the bizarrest sort when a botched sex change operation leaves him/her with a remaining “angry inch.”
“The Curse of the Jade Scorpion,” the latest 1940s mystery/farce from Woody Allen, is not a bad movie, but it pales beside the Woodman’s tremendous back catalog. Helen Hunt is just godawful as Allen’s requisite younger love interest, but David Ogden Stiers is marvelous as a larcenous hypnotist.
Kota Yamazaki of Rosy Co. will perform contemporary Japanese dance. (Fri. and Sat., 8 p.m., Dance Studio Theater in Kendall Sports Complex. $5 w/ student I.D. Call 538-2455.)
Pulitizer Prize-winning playwright and Mt. Holyoke alumna Wendy Wasserstein will discuss her work and read from her book “Shiksa Goddess (or, How I Spent My Forties).” (Fri., 7:30 p.m., Hooker Auditorium, Mount Holyoke College. Call 534-7307.)
Michael Shifter, senior policy scholar at the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, D.C., will speak on “Plan Columbia,” as part of the Lecture Series on Globalization Pressures on Latin America. (Mon., 6:30 p.m., Cole Assembly Room. Free.)
Trinkett Clark, curator of modern art at the Mead Art Museum, will lecture on “A New York View: Modern Art from the Collection of Steven M. Jacobson ’53.” (Tues., 12:15 p.m., Gallery of Mead Art Museum. Free.)
Maurizio Barbetti will perform a program of New European music for solo viola. (Sat., 8 p.m., Bezanson Recital Hall at UMass. $8, $4. Reservations are strongly encouraged; call 545-2227.)
“Witchcraft in the Old World and the New” is a one-day symposium on witchcraft in 17th-century Europe and America, with a special presentation on a local witch trial. (Sat., UMass Renaissance Center. Free.)