FREEZE FRAMES

By

HOTEL TERMINUS: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF KLAUS BARBIE - A massive, deeply intelligent, thoroughly gripping documentary on the Holocaust and the Nazi era, centering on the infamous war criminal known as the ``butcher of Lyon'' for his role in the murder, torture, and deportation of victims numbering in the thousands. The film considers not only the World War II period but later times, as well, when Barbie established a comfortable life in Bolivia after being aided and employed by the United States government. Directed by Marcel Ophuls, who manipulates his familiar 4-hour format with even more assurance than he showed in earlier films on related subjects, ``The Sorrow and the Pity'' and ``The Memory of Justice.'' (Not rated) IMAGINE: JOHN LENNON - This documentary on rock star John Lennon may seem almost tame after the lurid allegations of drug abuse and other lapses that have been periodically aimed at Lennon since his untimely death. The filmmakers may be softening the facts and unduly glamorizing the Lennon image; still, it's refreshing to see Lennon emerge as a flawed but loving man who at least aspired to a sense of stability and maturity, however short of those goals he may have fallen. The movie has stunning moments: The shots of early Beatles performances are exhilarating, and the scenes of John talking with a spaced-out fan are touching and compassionate. Other portions of the film go on too long, and sometimes appear to dodge the most sensitive issues raised by Lennon's life and career. Directed by Andrew Solt. (Rated R) MEMORIES OF ME - A young physician tries to improve relations with his eccentric father in this mostly limp comedy-drama. Directed by Henry Winkler. (Rated PG-13) PUNCHLINE - Except for the foul language, this comedy-drama is almost a throwback to show-biz movies of bygone years. Sally Field plays a middle-class mother who's hooked on delivering one-liners at a New York comedy club, and Tom Hanks is a burned-out medical student with the same passion for performing. The film doesn't probe its most fascinating undercurrents very deeply, suggesting but never exploring a streak of mental instability in the Hanks character. It's refreshing to see a love angle that doesn't become a sex angle, though, and the supporting cast is superb. Directed by David Seltzer from his own screenplay, which is distasteful and manipulative at some moments, and smoothly on target at others. (Rated R) RED SORGHUM - A young woman survives a forced marriage, the predations of a bandit, and other hardships in the Chinese countryside during the 1930s; her story reaches a brutal climax in a confrontation between her compatriots and Japanese invaders. Although the story is uneven, director Zhang Yimou punctuates it with vivid images and bittersweet metaphors for the earthy challenges of peasant life. Produced by the Xian Film Studio, a stronghold for the innovative ``fifth generation'' movement in Chinese cinema. (Not rated) SALAAM BOMBAY! - Ousted from his home by his parents, a 10-year-old boy struggles to survive on the teeming streets of Bombay, where he's drawn into a sordid world of hustlers, prostitutes, and other low-life characters. The hero never loses his spirit, though, and ultimately the film can be seen as an affirmation of his resilience and resourcefulness. His story would be stronger if it were more tough-minded; after such hard-hitting films as the Brazilian drama ``Pixote,'' the West German drama ``Christiane F.,'' and the American documentary ``Streetwise,'' this production seems to let its hero slip too easily out of difficult situations. The movie is terrifically well acted and beautifully filmed, however, marking an auspicious feature-film debut for Indian-American director Mira Nair. (Not rated)

Recommended: Default

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...