FREEZE FRAMES

BATMAN - The caped crusader battles his worst enemy, the Joker, in this moody new version of the old comic-book myth. Directed by Tim Burton in a style that combines dark film noir atmosphere with the violence and derring-do required by summer blockbusters. Michael Keaton makes a credible hero, and Jack Nicholson is downright manic as his nemesis. (Rated PG-13) DO THE RIGHT THING - A cross-section of Brooklyn ghetto life on the hottest day anyone can remember, building to an outburst of racially motivated violence. The language is foul, the humor explosive, the view of festering racism sharp and provocative. Directed by Spike Lee, the most prodigiously gifted of today's young black filmmakers. (Rated R) A TAXING WOMAN'S RETURN - She's the most resourceful tax collector in Japan, and her new adventure recalls the original ``A Taxing Woman,'' with its blend of dark humor and absurdist drama. The director, Juzo Itami, may be the most resourceful satirist in current Japanese cinema. This biting comedy goes on too long, though, allowing the fast pace and stylish images to wear thin. (Not rated) VAMPIRE'S KISS - A yuppie thinks he's turning into a vampire, but nobody else can tell because he's so obnoxious to begin with. This oversexed horror comedy starts like a hallucination and gets stranger by the minute, spurred by Nicolas Cage's wild-eyed performance and Robert Bierman's delirious directing style. The action ranges from crude to nightmarish, and a couple of scenes, including one where Cage crazily recites the alphabet, may become classics of lowdown camp. (Rated R)

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