FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases

AMERICAN ME - The story of a Los Angeles hoodlum who becomes leader of the so-called Mexican Mafia, running a crime network both inside and outside the California prison where he spends much of his career. Based on true events, the movie calls attention to the horrors of gang-bred violence, but has little to suggest in the way of solutions. Cinematically, it resembles both "The Godfather" and "Short Eyes" at times, although it lacks the scope of the former and the fierce concentration of the latter. Direct ed by Edward James Olmos. (Rated R) ANDREI ROUBLEV -

Admirers of the best Soviet filmmaking have Kino International to thank for the renewed availability of this towering work by Andrei Tarkovsky, chronicling the life and times of a 15th-century icon painter as he travels through Russia and observes the best and worst in human nature. (Not rated) OTHELLO - Orson Welles directed and starred

in this 1952 adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy, now reissued in a restored print with a newly enhanced sound track. Blending sublime visual poetry with touches of rollicking Hollywood melodrama, the film is vintage Welles from start to finish, packing more artistry into a single frame than most movies can offer in two hours. Even at this, it's far from Welles's greatest work in classics like "Citizen Kane" and "Touch of Evil." But it's a great, galloping masterpiece all the same. (Not rated)

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