FREEZE FRAMES

GABY - A TRUE STORY - Refusing to accept limitations, a severely handicapped girl matures into a happy, creative, and even stylish woman, with support from loving parents and a devoted companion. The film deals explicitly with Gaby's disabilities and a sexual relationship she develops with a handicapped young man. The overall impact is compassionate rather than clinical, however. As played by a superb cast, the characters are endlessly fascinating in their ever-so-human mixtures of goodness and frailty; the story is so skillfully told that it would be moving even if the heroine faced much less towering challenges. Based on the actual experiences of Gabriela Brimmer, who collaborated on the project. Directed by Luis Mandoki. (Not rated) HOPE AND GLORY - A young boy and his family endure the bombing of London during the German blitz, and filmmaker John Boorman looks beyond the horrors of the situation to find evidence of fine human qualities: courage, resilience, generosity, love. Although the performances and music frequently tug at the audience's heartstrings, sentimentality is offset by the seven-year-old hero's matter-of-fact attitude toward wartime travails. On reflection, Boorman's view of violence as spectacle may seem superficial, and unresponsive to political and psychological issues raised by an event as complex as the blitz. The movie's optimism is irresistibly buoyant, however. (Rated PG-13) HOUSE OF GAMES - Frustrated by the limitations of her therapeutic work, a book-writing psychiatrist gets professionally and sexually involved with a scruffy con artist. Schemes within schemes are the subject of David Mamet's screenplay, which springs many surprises before turning predictable long before the finale. Mamet makes a very impressive directorial debut, giving the film a stylized twist that softens the sting of the ultimately cynical plot. Most of the acting is deftly in tune with his punchy dialogue and sardonic visual style. (Rated R) THE SICILIAN - This violent melodrama is based on the exploits of Salvatore Giuliano, who started as a modern Italian version of Robin Hood and became a powerful warlord with enemies galore. Steve Shagan's screenplay is incredibly stilted, and the performers can hardly get their mouths around his dialogue. So director Michael Cimino tries his usual trick of camouflaging bad material with eye-catching cinematography. Once again, the trick fails. (Rated R) SUSPECT - Pleading the case of a deaf-mute charged with murder, a dedicated public defender finds herself on the track of skulduggery in high places, with clues tossed her way by an overeager juror. The story is slick and suspenseful, and most of the performances are vivid. The movie doesn't add up to much, though. With so many judges and political operators running around, it could have been more than a fairly entertaining thriller. Directed by Peter Yates, who adds some unexpectedly violent moments to the drama. (Rated R)

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

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