FREEZE FRAMES

BROADCAST NEWS - A romantic comedy where, surprisingly, none of the romances quite come to pass. The characters are TV people: an energetic producer, an anchor who reads the news better than he understands it, and a go-getter who's stuck permanently in second place. Although it's written and directed by James L. Brooks, the picture is less pretentious and much funnier than ``Terms of Endearment,'' his last outing. Holly Hunter becomes an instant star, and Albert Brooks has the most hilarious scene of the season. In all, one of the year's most enjoyable surprises. Look out for some rough language, though. (Rated R) THE DEAD - In the last movie of his career, the late John Huston gives us one of the decade's most vital and moving films. Based on James Joyce's great story, the action takes place mostly at a Dublin dinner party. Then it follows a couple to their home, overhears a sad conversation, and glides touchingly into the landscapes of Ireland itself, taking us with exquisite grace from the particular to the universal. The movie is a triumph of acting, directing, and storytelling. And not incidentally, it's Irish to its very bones. (Rated PG) OVERBOARD - Silly farce about a rich woman who loses her memory and falls into the clutches of a working-class man who has reason to despise her. There are a few good laughs and a few crude ones. More important, the movie seems superficial, and perhaps hypocritical, in its celebration of the hard life over luxury. Do the filmmakers really feel that beer and bowling make for more fulfillment than yachting and skeet shooting? And aren't there other alternatives? Directed by Garry Marshall. (Rated PG) MOONSTRUCK - Our heroine is engaged to an Italian charmer, but when he goes back to Sicily to see his mother, she falls in love with his cantankerous brother. Cher and Nicolas Cage have a ball in this ethnic comedy of manners, and there are moments of pure magic when moonlight does its romantic work. Too bad Cage throws the movie's tone off a bit when he takes his character's earthy feelings too seriously. Directed by Norman Jewison, back in top form again. (Rated PG) SEPTEMBER - Woody Allen's most somber film since ``Interiors'' focuses on a family with a haunted past: Years ago, the teen-age daughter shot and killed a man her mother was having an affair with. The story also probes present-day tensions among the relatives and their neighbors, including a romantic rivalry between best friends. Allen has put his material together in a way that resembles a play as much as a movie, and the plot's revelations seem stagy at times. But the acting is splendid, even though Woody himself stays out of the picture. And the sound track pulses with classic jazz. (Rated PG) WALL STREET - In his first movie since ``Platoon,'' director Oliver Stone suggests that the financial world is as amoral and destructive as the battlefield. Charlie Sheen plays a minor wheeler-dealer who becomes the prot'eg'e of a major wheeler-dealer. Michael Douglas gives his most searing performance ever as the foul-mouthed financier who believes that ``greed is good,'' as he proudly puts it. Stone's nervous visual style gives the action an extra charge of energy. Quite a shocker. (Rated R)

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