FREEZE FRAMES

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THE DECEIVERS - Set in 1825, this drama takes its cue from the true story of a British East India Company officer who infiltrated the Thugs, a secret society of murderous robbers. The story is promising; the movie is handsome but hackneyed. Directed by Nicholas Meyer and produced by Ismail Merchant for Merchant Ivory Productions. (Rated PG-13) THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT - Michael Nyman based his chamber opera on Oliver Sacks's essay about a gifted musician with a strange neurological disorder that altered his perceptions. Christopher Rawlence's film version has little cinematic interest, and Dr. Sacks has written essays more absorbing than this one, although his on-screen comments on the narrative are the movie's most engaging element. The cast is headed by Emile Belcourt, Frederick Westcott, and Patricia Hooper, all in reasonably good voice. (Not rated) EIGHT MEN OUT - Based on real events of 1919, when the Chicago White Sox conspired with gamblers to throw the World Series, which they were favored to win. Written and directed by John Sayles, who spins a fascinating baseball yarn that's also a moody character study, probing the fears and antipathies that joined with greed to overcome the scruples of normally honest men. The story is lumpy in spots, but fine performances and expressive camera work carry the day. (Rated PG) ROCKET GIBRALTAR - During a family visit, an old man's grandchildren face the prospect of his impending death, and the youngsters are inspired to carry out a bold and unconventional plan when this occurs. The movie strains for a romantic and even upbeat attitude toward a subject that's normally considered sad and grim, but the filmmakers fail to master the story's complex blend of moods. The result is sentimental and confused, just the opposite of what it wants to be. Daniel Petrie directed from an Amos Poe screenplay. (Rated PG) THE THIN BLUE LINE - Documentary about a man serving a life sentence in Texas for a murder that filmmaker Errol Morris thinks he didn't commit. Interviews, filmed in Morris's usual straightforward style, alternate with reenacted scenes of the crime and other shots that have a primarily rhythmic and allusive effect. The result is a fact-filled study that's also a full-fledged work of cinema art. (Not rated) THE WIZARD OF LONELINESS - Beautifully filmed story of a boy growing up during World War II in a difficult family situation. As the main character, Lukas Haas gives a performance of startling maturity. Jenny Bowen directed and contributed to Nancy Larson's screenplay; Richard Bowen did the fine cinematography. (Rated PG-13) THE YEAR MY VOICE BROKE - Yet another bittersweet tale of a young person coming of age, with the usual attention to sexual and emotional awakenings. Capably written and directed by Australian filmmaker John Duigan. (Rated PG-13)

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

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