FREEZE FRAMES

UNE FEMME EST UNE FEMME - Reissue of the great Jean-Luc Godard's eccentric musical comedy. It's about a woman who wants a baby, and a boyfriend who sees fatherhood as too much bother. The story is microscopically thin, but the mood is exuberant and the cinema is sometimes explosive. ``A Woman Is a Woman'' is the English-language title. (Not rated) THE HOUSEKEEPER - She can't read or write, and this secret drives her to madness and murder. Some moments are laughably bad, others are mildly suspenseful. It's good to see Rita Tushingham on screen after a long absence, but one wishes she'd chosen a less trivial showcase. Ousama Rawi directed the Canadian production. (Not rated) MY LIFE AS A DOG - When his mother becomes ill, a Swedish boy is carted off to live at a relative's home, where he has comic misadventures and learns the serious business of coping with loss and uncertainty. Splendidly acted, and directed with touches of visual poetry by Lasse Hallstr"om, but a little heavy on trite sexual-awakening scenes. (Not rated) PROJECT X - A young military pilot is assigned to a laboratory that carries out experiments with chimpanzees, and he suspects the research is more sinister than it appears. Matthew Broderick is likable but unexciting in this likable but unexciting movie. Directed by Jonathan Kaplan on his best behavior; one misses the freewheeling emotional charge of his ``White Line Fever'' and ``Heart Like a Wheel.'' (Rated PG) RIVER'S EDGE - A dull-witted adolescent kills his girlfriend, and his friends disagree over turning him in, covering it up, or just forgetting about the whole thing. The screenplay takes a wildly cynical view of today's teen-agers, softened by just a few glimmers of hope, and some scenes are so pessimistically perverse that they're almost sick jokes. The film amounts to a stifled cry of sorrow, however, at the parents and culture that could produce such morally vacuous creatures and then be oblivious to their symptoms. Directed by the talented Tim Hunter. (Rated R) THE STEPFATHER - After murdering his family because they ``disappointed'' him, a madman who worships ``family values'' starts a new life with a new household and begins the same vicious cycle over again. This thriller has violent and even grisly episodes, along with much pitch-black humor. But it's also a biting and sardonic commentary on our time, when ``family values'' are sometimes trumpeted most loudly by people steeped in self-will and self-interest. Vigorously directed by Joseph Ruben. (Rated R) LA VIE EST A NOUS - This fascinating 1936 propaganda film, made for the French Communist Party by Jean Renoir and others, is finally having its American theatrical debut. The early portions amount to a genuinely experimental movie, full of unexpected devices and effects. The rest consists of sensitively dramatized scenes and, coming into the homestretch, a good deal of heavy preaching. One needn't share the politics of the film to appreciate its reflection of a time when ideals were so deeply felt and proudly proclaimed. ``Life Is Ours'' is the English-language title. (Not rated)

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