FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases THE HOT SPOT - Yet another drifter moseys into yet another small town, setting off a round of crime, romance, and treachery. This moody film noir knockoff is smartly directed by Dennis Hopper, who dreams up a surprising number of genuinely startling moments. Still, the morbidity and double-dealing get monotonous after a while. (Rated R) PACIFIC HEIGHTS - A tenant terrorizes the nice young couple who have rented him an apartment in their house. The plot isn't fresh, but the performances are solid and the suspense is strong. Directed by John Schlesinger. (Rated R)

REVERSAL OF FORTUNE - Drama based on the real-life case of Claus von Bulow, who engaged Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz in an attempt to overturn his conviction for trying to murder his wealthy and drug-dependent wife. Barbet Schroeder directed the ingeniously made film, which weaves fact, hypothesis, and conjecture into a harrowing yet continually gripping and often highly amusing narrative. (Rated R)

TO SLEEP WITH ANGER - A mysterious old friend moves in with a middle-class family he hasn't seen for years, bringing new tensions and discords into their home. Independent filmmaker Charles Burnett wrote and directed this brilliantly acted and profoundly touch-ing drama, which examines African-American life with a subtlety and delicacy almost unknown in today's movie world. Danny Glover heads the excellent cast. (Rated PG)

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