FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases

A MIDNIGHT CLEAR Near the end of World War II, some American soldiers meet a quad of Germans who don't want to fight any longer. Although the drama pushes its war-is-hell message too hard at moments, sensitive filmmaking and imaginative acting bring valuable post-Vietnam insights to what could have been an ordinary exercise in an outdated genre. Keith Gordon directed from his own screenplay. (Not rated) RAISE THE RED LANTERN The atmospheric tale of a young woman who becomes the latest wife of a powerful Chinese lord. The drama's oddly static quality suggests that distinguished Chinese director Zhang Yimou has become overcautious after his government's hostile reaction to "Ju Dou," his previous picture. Yet the film is a work of rare visual beauty, with a sublime sense of color and a transfixing performance by Gong Li. (Rated PG)

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