FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases

JOURNEY OF HOPE - Seeking a better life, a Kurdish couple makes the dangerous trip across sea and mountains from Turkey to Switzerland, hindered along the way by swindlers, smugglers, and false friends. Xavier Koller directed this timely Swiss drama, which won the Academy Award for best foreign-language film of 1990. It has many poignant and engaging moments, but would be more effective if the filmmakers had supported the good performances with more down-to-earth authenticity and fewer eye-catching landsca pes. (Not rated)

SPARTACUS - Stanley Kubrick's epic, with Kirk Douglas as a rebellious Roman slave, was first released in 1960. Its new restored version replaces moments cut from the original prints, including a scene with homosexual overtones and a few details of battlefield and gladiatorial violence, which were too strong for their own day. The picture is big, beautiful, and ultimately rather dull, with little of the visual imagination that Mr. Kubrick displayed in "2001: A Space Odyssey" and some of his other films. So me of the performances are superb, though, especially when Charles Laughton and Peter Ustinov share the screen. (Rated PG-13)

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