Freeze Frames. A weekly update of film releases

BRAZIL -- Terry Gilliam's visually dense comedy is like a Monty Python version of ``1984,'' with a mild-mannered bureaucrat daring to buck the system in a futuristic society that demands conformity at all costs. Technically and intellectually, it's a stunning achievement. But don't go unless you're prepared for a violent assault of aggressive images and sounds, many of them as ugly and disturbing as they are satirical and cautionary. Gilliam wrote the screenplay along with Tom Stoppard and C harles McKeown. Jonathan Pryce heads the cast, which includes Robert De Niro in the supporting role of a guerrilla air-conditioning repairman. (Rated PG-13) THE COLOR PURPLE -- In filming this story about the hard family life of a poor black woman in the South, director Steven Spielberg throws out the proud ethnicity and deliberately rough-hewn style of Alice Walker's prize-winning novel, and somewhat tones down its sexual aspects. What he keeps is the sentimentality of the book, heightening its folksy feelings with the skill of a born Saturday-night entertainer. The result is a simplified and neatened-up version of the tale, shallow but s triking in the old Hollywood tradition. (Rated PG-13)

YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES -- A rehash of the old detective series, geared for today's teen-age tastes, but with a warmer atmosphere and a more leisurely pace than most youth-market items of the '80s. The hero and his sidekick, looking rather like a scaled-down Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, ferret out an evil London cult while investigating a series of unexplained deaths. Many episodes have an appealingly old-fashioned air, but the classic mood is disrupted by some violent hallucination s cenes with jarringly modern special effects. Directed by Barry Levinson from a screenplay by Chris Columbus. (Rated PG-13)

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