FREEEZE FRAMES

By

DEADLINE - A lazy and self-satisfied reporter finds he must face up to danger and confusion while covering the Arab-Israeli conflict. As directed by Nathaniel Gutman, the movie socks across the chaotic drama of warfare as vividly as any picture in ages, including ``Platoon'' and its Vietnam-war cousins. The story risks losing its bearings in the turmoil, and events are sometimes muddled, but Christopher Walken gives a smart and savage performance that glues the action firmly together. (Rated R) HEY BABU RIBA - Yugoslav teen-agers come of age during the 1950s, when their society is divided between Soviet influences and new tides of Western culture embodied by popular movies, slang, and songs with nonsense phrases like ``hey babu riba!'' in their lyrics. With its social, political, and sexual dimensions, the film is complex and many-faceted, if not particularly memorable. Jovan Acin was the director. (Rated R) MAURICE - A young homosexual wrestles with his conscience and his conservative Edwardian culture, eventually facing both on his own terms, in this forthright screen version of E.M. Forster's posthumously published novel. Directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant, who show the same literate skill and the same fidelity to their source that marked ``A Room With a View.'' They raise serious questions of responsibility and taste, however, with their uncritically romantic view of homosexual practices, especially in light of the current AIDS crisis. (Not rated) ORPHANS - A flamboyant thug becomes a father-figure for two parentless brothers whose unguided lives have drifted toward eccentricity and even derangement. The beginning of the movie is hokey, and the melodramatic ending is badly overdone. But the long midsection is darkly fascinating if you can overlook the staginess of Lyle Kessler's script, based on his play, and Alan J. Pakula's directing style. Albert Finney is in top form as the demented daddy-surrogate, and Matthew Modine and Kevin Anderson are hot on his heels. (Rated R) A PRAYER FOR THE DYING - A former IRA fighter is blackmailed into working for an English mobster. The violent action is sometimes horribly lurid, and director Mike Hodges has disowned the film because of displeasure with the final editing. The acting is solid, though. Mickey Rourke is at his virile best; Alan Bates gives his best screen performance in a long time; and Bob Hoskins is far more subtle and intense than in ``Mona Lisa'' last year. (Rated R) TOUGH GUYS DON'T DANCE - Norman Mailer wrote and directed this delirious adaptation of his own nasty novel. It's about an alcohol-fogged man who can't figure out whether he's a villain or a victim when he finds two severed heads in his marijuana cache. In terms of technique, Mailer sustains a vividly nightmarish tone, making this the most eerily outrageous drama since ``Blue Velvet.'' But he fails to let us know why we should look at, much less care about, such repulsive doings by such repellent characters. (Rated R) RATINGS: Films with ratings other than G may contain varying degrees of vulgar language, nudity, sex, and violence.

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