FREEZE FRAMES

DARK EYES - Marcello Mastroianni gives a splendidly varied performance in this comedy-drama about a buffoonish Italian man who falls in love with a Russian woman even though they're both married. Other assets are lovely cinematography and a lush music score. The main character has a streak of triviality deep inside him, though, and it ultimately weakens the movie as a whole. Directed by Soviet filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov; based on Chekhov stories. (Not rated) HELLRAISER - A ghoul seduces a woman in this particularly intense, particularly disgusting shocker. Written and directed by Clive Barker. (Rated R) I'VE HEARD THE MERMAIDS SINGING - An ordinary young woman develops a complex relationship with a sophisticated art-gallery curator. There's a subplot about homosexuality and a bit of four-letter language. The film's main business, however, is to tell a simple and delicate story that celebrates the unique importance of every human personality. Written and directed by Patricia Rozema, a gifted Canadian newcomer. (Not rated) LIKE FATHER LIKE SON - A mysterious potion puts dad's mind into son's body and vice versa. The joke is, dad's a workaholic doctor and son's an amiable teen goof-off, so the switch causes complications galore. The story has dull and vulgar spots, and some of the dialogue flies way beyond bounds of good taste. But director Rod Daniel concocts the most hilarious scenes of the year, in a hospital, of all places. And star Dudley Moore is at his 100 percent funniest. (Rated PG-13) THE PICK-UP ARTIST - James Toback, the director of intellectual duds like ``Fingers'' and ``Love and Money,'' aims at the teen scene with this dark comedy about a young Romeo whose new girlfriend is indebted to a dangerous crook. The filmmaker works his usual obsessions with sex, gambling, thuggery, and teaching into the screenplay. Still, most of the movie looks and sounds like standard youth-market fare. (Rated PG-13) THE PRINCESS BRIDE - Some of the violence seems way too intense for younger children. Otherwise, action and laughs blend deliciously in this fairy-tale spoof about true lovers who must defeat all sorts of villains to reach true happiness. Cary Elwes is a marvelously funny as the hero; Mandy Patinkin and Wallace Shawn energetically lead the colorful supporting cast. Rob Reiner directed the romp, from William Goldman's screenplay. (Rated PG) STACKING - Following the recent fashion in independent films, yet another rural teen-age girl comes to grips with family relations and her own sexuality, accompanied by the folksy strumming of a guitar on the sound track. Although it's rarely surprising, this drama is distinguished by an intelligent screenplay, rich photography, and bright performances by Christine Lahti, Frederic Forrest, and young Megan Follows. Produced and directed by Martin Rosen, who's best known as a maker of animated films; written by Victoria Jenkins. (Not rated)

RATINGS: Films with ratings other than G may contain varying degrees of vulgar language, nudity, sex, and violence.

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