FREEZE FRAMES

BLACK RAIN - A pair of tough New York cops, one of them possibly crooked, visits Japan to deliver a prisoner, who escapes at the last minute. Despite their ignorance of Japanese life, they decide to hunt the criminal down. In the process one is killed, and the other learns a few lessons about integrity and professionalism from a Japanese counterpart. Like other movies directed by Ridley Scott, the production is stylishly filmed, but cold and hard in its attitude toward human nature. It's also relentlessly violent. Note: This should not be confused with another current film also called ``Black Rain,'' by Japanese director Shohei Imamura, based on Masuji Ibuse's sad and delicate novel about survivors of the Hiroshima bombing. (Rated R) A DRY WHITE SEASON - A white South African schoolteacher puts himself and his family at risk by investigating the deaths of two blacks, his gardener and the gardener's young child, during the early stages of the Soweto Uprising in 1976. Apartheid is a crucial subject for movies to examine, but this film seems almost as stilted and forced as ``Cry Freedom,'' another disappointing look at the topic. Marlon Brando does a virtuoso turn in his first screen appearance since 1980, but be warned that he's only in the picture for about ten minutes. Directed by Euzhan Palcy, a filmmaker from Martinique, who doesn't fulfill the promise of her earlier ``Sugar Cane Alley.'' (Rated R)

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