FREEZE FRAMES

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A weekly update of film releases DANCES WITH WOLVES - A disenchanted Civil War soldier takes over a frontier outpost and becomes intimately involved with his Sioux neighbors. This is a western in the grand tradition, smoothly directed by Kevin Costner, who also gives a sensitive performance in the leading role. The screenplay is often trite, however, and there's no reason for the picture's three-hour length. (Rated PG-13)

FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND - A 21st-century inventor travels back in time and meets the all-time-favorite mad scientist. Roger Corman hasn't directed a movie in almost 20 years, and this comeback film doesn't match the imaginative power of lowbrow classics like ``X - The Man With the X-Ray Eyes'' or the best of his Poe chillers. There's lots of color and energy, though, to offset the moments of obligatory horror-movie gore; nobody directs this kind of fantasy with more verve or conviction. (Rated R)

JACOB'S LADDER - Reality, memory, and hallucination get hopelessly mingled in the life of a Vietnam veteran who fears demons are pursuing him. Tim Robbins gives a strong performance in this first-class horror yarn, which has a surprisingly strong political edge. Beware some excessive gore, though. Adrian Lyne directed. (Rated R)

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