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Critics' Pix

April 15, 1990|Sheila Benson | Noteworthy films, with mini-reviews by Times critics

Eight Men Out (Showtime Sunday at 2 p.m.): As he spins his mesmerizing story of the fixing of the 1919 World Series, John Sayles moves to a new level of dexterity as a writer-director. This 1988 film has the very devil of a story to tell with either urgency or clarity; it's a tragedy in farce tempo with Damon Runyon characters and an O. Henry kicker. Yet Sayles has done it, weaving each of the story's complex strands--moral, psychological, political, journalistic, personal--into a watershed American drama that's rich and clear. And he's even cast himself as Ring Lardner, whom he resembles uncannily.

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