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FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases

By David Sterritt / March 20, 1992



AMERICAN DREAM

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Documentary director Barbara Kopple set out to film a strike at a Midwest meat-packing plant; but instead of David and Goliath heroics, she found a labor situation fraught with internal divisions. Her on-the-spot confrontation with unexpected realities makes this film even more fascinating and moving than "Harlan County USA," her near-legendary study of a coal-miners' strike. (Not rated) BASIC INSTINCT

A heterosexual cop falls in love with a bisexual novelist while trying to figure out whether she's the vicious killer he's supposed to track down. Paul Verhoeven's lurid thriller has moments of welcome self-parody, but most of the action manages to be sensationalistic, homophobic, and tedious at the same time. Michael Douglas stars, offering an encore to the antifemale nastiness of his earlier "Fatal Attraction." (Rated R) SHADOWS AND FOG

Woody Allen's movie is filmed in moody black-and-white with, you guessed it, lots of shadows and fog. Yet it's a comedy, and a silly one, about a meek little man chasing a murderer through a vaguely East European city. It's fun to watch a talented director/writer/star play around with themes from Kafka, images from Bergman and Fellini, and gimmicks from German expressionism and 1930s horror movies. But the romantic scenes are dull, and the whole affair is ultimately as forgettable as a misty morning in w inter. (Rated PG-13)