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FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases

By David Sterritt / July 26, 1991



DUTCH - He is just an ordinary guy, faced with escorting a rich and snobbish brat to his mom's home for Thanksgiving vacation. Needless to say, the kid learns lessons from his working-class mentor, but not enough to make the movie worthwhile. It's clumsily made and hackneyed from beginning to end. Peter Faiman directed John Hughes's dull screenplay.(Rated PG-13) LIFE STINKS - Mel Brooks made this goofball comedy about poverty and homelessness, of all things. And he plays the hero: a millionaire who bets he can survive a month in the Los Angeles slums. The very idea of such a movie is outrageous, but the film itself is surprisingly solid, showing a welcome awareness of desperate urban problems and giving the greedy '80s a much-needed comeuppance. If it gets moviegoers thinking about improving today's cities, life may stink a little less tomorrow, and that's a worthy goal. (Rated PG-13)

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MY MOTHER'S CASTLE - A young boy and his family commute between their city home and a provincial retreat, but run into trouble when they wear out their welcome with a country landowner. Yves Robert's comedy-drama is much richer and deeper than "My Father's Glory," which told about earlier adventures of the same characters without acknowledging the dark side that even a happy life may have. Memoirs by Marcel Pagnol, a great filmmaker of old, are the basis for this lovely and lovable French tale. (Rated PG)