FREEZE FRAMES

CLEAN AND SOBER - Sinking into a pit of drug and alcohol dependency, but quick to deny he's got a problem, a fast-living yuppie named Daryl checks into an addiction clinic as a way of dodging some people he wants to avoid. There he finds himself on the road to recovery almost in spite of himself, helped by a streetwise counselor and some other folks he never would have met in different circumstances. The film crackles with dramatic power as it traces the early stages of Daryl's improvement, and the screenplay shows unusual intelligence by refusing to oversimplify the difficulties he confronts. In the cast, Michael Keaton sizzles with skill and energy in his first serious role, backed by such first-rate actors as Morgan Freeman, Kathy Baker, and M.Emmet Walsh. With so much going for the movie, it's too bad the action bogs down in the clinic scenes after a while, then comes to a dead stop in a too-long love story. Glenn Gordon Caron was the director. (Rated R) LATE SUMMER BLUES - Set in the summer of 1970, this Israeli production follows the experiences of several young men about to be drafted into the Army. The film has little cinematic excitement, but its portraits of young people are carefully and intelligently crafted. Directed by Renen Schorr. (Not rated) A SUMMER STORY - An aging man recalls a love affair of his youth, and we have to sit through every minute of it. Gorgeously photographed by Kenneth MacMillan, but listlessly directed by Piers Haggard. Penelope Mortimer wrote the dreary screenplay, based on a John Galsworthy story. (Rated PG-13) TUCKER: THE MAN AND HIS DREAM - Based on real events, this is the saga of Preston Tucker, who started a safety-minded car company in the 1940s and was immediately driven out of business by the Big Three auto manufacturers. The story could have been a downer, full of cynicism about the American way of business. But the filmmakers turn it into a cheerful celebration of Yankee know-how and better-mousetrap ingenuity, tempering their social criticism with unfailing humor and compassion. The result is an exhilarating twist on ``Citizen Kane,'' bursting with visual ideas and acted with nonstop enthusiasm by a terrific cast. A cruise in a Tucker couldn't be more smooth, cozy, and invigorating than this joy ride down an overlooked byway of the American past. A few bursts of vulgar language will nudge it out of the family-viewing category for some, though. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a screenplay by Arnold Schulman and David Seidler. (Rated PG-13) YOUNG GUNS - Billy the Kid and other whippersnappers avenge the killing of their best friend, a transplanted Briton who wanted to give them a dose of Old World culture. Like other attempts to revive the western genre, such as ``Silverado'' and ``Pale Rider,'' this one seems ill-destined from the start. Emilio Estevez, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Kiefer Sutherland head the mostly wasted cast. Christopher Cain was the director. The polite word for his kind of filmmaking is ``classical.'' Another word is ``trite.'' (Rated R)

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

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