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) CROSSING DELANCEY - The heroine is bright, attractive, and contented with unmarried life. Which boyfriend will she choose - the pretentious but glamorous author, or the plain but earnest pickle merchant the local marriage broker keeps pitching at her? Amy Irving is bewitching in the leading role, and Peter Reigert gives an intelligently understated performance as the pickle man. Directed by Joan Micklin Silver with a warmth, wit, and sensitivity that surpass her own ``Hester Street'' for charm. But it's unfortunate that one character, a pushy grandmother, is so overwritten and overacted that she almost sours the whole movie. (Rated PG) 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) 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 which went immediately out of business, possibly through the machinations of the Big Three automakers. 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 enthusiasm by a terrific cast. 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) THE WASH - In the Japanese-American community of a southern California city, a woman decides to leave her husband of 40 years and start a new life with a new man. Gently but rather drably filmed by Michael Toshiyuki Uno. Nobu McCarthy and Mako play the leading roles. (Not rated) RATINGS: Films with ratings other than G may contain varying degrees of vulgar language, nudity, sex, and violence.

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