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FREEZE FRAMES

May 29, 1987



AMAZING GRACE AND CHUCK - As a quiet protest, a boy gives up his favorite sport after seeing a nuclear missile for the first time. When a basketball star imitates him, their gesture grows into a movement that touches the consciences of American and Soviet leaders. This movie has nothing but good in its heart, and its performances are winning. But the plot and dialogue are frequently awkward. And the resolution of the story would seem a lot more credible if it didn't so closely resemble the recent Reykjavik summit conference, which had less spectacular results. Sincerely but flatly directed by Mike Newell. (Rated PG) BEVERLY HILLS COP II - Eddie Murphy is back as a freewheeling, foul-mouthed policeman who leaves his native Detroit to crack a case in posh California surroundings. Tony Scott, of ``Top Gun'' fame, directed this mind-numbing concoction of caveman dialogue, overcooked action, and performances that'll do anything for an effect. (Rated R) DEVIL IN THE FLESH - A young man gets sexually involved with a neurotic woman who's supposed to marry an accused terrorist. Directed by the highly regarded Italian filmmaker Marco Bellocchio, who uses graphic eroticism and domestic drama to pursue his familiar theme of emotional freedom vs. social control. As often in the past, he buries that theme in layers of fussy storytelling that the movie would be stronger without. (Rated X) MEMED MY HAWK - A likable young rogue feuds with a corrupt old landowner in rural Turkey during the 1920s. Besides hamming it up deliciously in one of the leading roles, Peter Ustinov wrote and directed this comedy-adventure, which resembles costume dramas of the '40s and '50s except for a couple of bawdy scenes. Unfortunately, his filmmaking is less effective than his acting. The picture goes limp whenever he's not on screen, and sometimes when he is. (Rated PG-13) SALVATION! - Very dark comedy about a hypocritical TV preacher and a chaotic family who play nasty games of sex and blackmail with each other. Directed by Beth B, a seasoned veteran of low-budget cinema. Her style veers crazily from melodrama to farce to music video, and with nobody minding the controls, the effect is more exasperating than exhilarating. Also annoying is her apparent contempt for just about all the characters, including the ordinary working-class folks. (Rated R) SUMMER HEAT - A farmer's wife falls for the hired hand, with murderous results. The plot borrows heavily from ``The Postman Always Rings Twice'' and its offspring. But the characters are played as people instead of ready-made villains and victims, and there's a refreshingly upbeat finale after the dark doings have played themselves out. Directed by Michie Gleason. (Rated R) SWEET LORRAINE - A small, sweet comedy about the last summer of a once-ritzy Catskills resort, as experienced by its aging owner-operator and her bright-eyed granddaughter. Maureen Stapleton heads an amiable cast, and filmmaker Steve Gomer evokes a world of quiet emotions without lapsing once into sentimentality. (Rated PG-13) RATINGS: Films with ratings other than G may contain varying degrees of vulgar language, nudity, sex, and violence.

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