FREEZE FRAMES

By

CLOCKWISE -- A school headmaster, fastidious and punctual to the second, runs a gamut of absurd interruptions and delays as he travels to a conference. The farce never picks up all the momentum it wants, but there are some hilarious moments. Credit for all of them goes to star John Cleese, who's never been better, even in his vintage days with the Monty Python comedy troupe. Directed by Christopher Morahan from a screenplay by Michael Frayn. (Rated PG) HEIMAT -- If it weren't more than 15 hours long, this West German saga wouldn't have attracted as much attention as it has. Chronicling the experiences and adventures of a single family between 1919 and 1982, it's commendable for depicting key events in German history as parts of everyday life for everyday people. The screenplay has dull and vulgar stretches, though, as well as engrossing and revealing ones. Only the last half-hour, a visionary coda to all that's happened earlier, is really exciting. Directed by Edgar Reitz. (Not rated) THE LIGHTSHIP -- A smooth-talking psychopath barges onto a ship at sea with a couple of dopey henchmen and has a war of nerves with the captain, who's insecure enough to begin with. Directed by the ingenious Jerzy Skolimowski in his usual breakneck fashion but sorely lacking the visual inspiration that distinguishes his best work, including his masterpiece, ``The Shout.'' (Rated PG-13) MENAGE -- A cocky criminal meets a married couple who feud constantly, and talks them into joining him on a burglary spree. In the middle of it, he falls in love with the husband. The technical skill of director Bertrand Blier is more finely honed than ever. His attitude toward women is as nasty as ever, too, and now he extends his baiting to homosexuals as well. Like most of his pictures, this would-be comedy is sour, distasteful, and ill-mannered. (Not rated) PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED -- A woman stuck in a mediocre marriage goes to her 25th high-school reunion in the mid-'80s, finds herself mysteriously thrown back in time to 1960, and vows to do things differently this time, especially when it comes to choosing a husband. Rousing performances by Kathleen Turner and Nicolas Cage are the most pleasing spices in this gently nostalgic comedy, directed by Francis Coppola in a surprisingly mellow mood. (Rated PG-13) TRUE STORIES -- David Byrne, leader of the Talking Heads rock group, is the on-screen narrator of this soft-spoken, sometimes surrealistic visit with the denizens of a small Texas town. The episodic screenplay, based on articles from cheap tabloid newspapers, isn't very inspired. But it's fun to poke into the lives of people like Louis, who's positively itching to raise a family, and Miss Rollins, a woman so wealthy she doesn't have to get out of bed anymore. And there's a terrifically laid-back wit to Byrne's portrayal of a tourist who finds charm and pleasure in everything he sees, from highways to shopping malls. Byrne directed the picture, too, in a promising debut. (Rated PG) RATINGS: Films with ratings other than G may contain varying degrees of vulgar language, nudity, sex, and violence.

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