FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases

THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS - The great scout Hawkeye gets involved with warring Europeans and Indians in the colonial American wilderness. Toning down the rhetoric and the racism of James Fenimore Cooper's imposing but ponderous novel, director Michael Mann puts his distinctively careful and contemplative visual style to ambitious use. But the screenplay is so wooden and the performances are so distanced that hardly a shred of real emotion manages to shine through all the action, violence, and pictorializatio n. (Rated R) OF MICE AND MEN -

John Steinbeck's classic tale of a soft-hearted drifter and his mentally backward friend. Gary Sinese and John Malkovich give performances that are more sturdy than inspired, and the rest of the picture moseys along in the same vein. Mr. Sinese directed from Horton Foote's screenplay. (Rated PG-13) BLADE RUNNER - The absence of narration and a more downbeat finale are the biggest differences between this "director's cut" and the original 1982 version of Ridley Scott's science-fiction epic, with Harrison Ford as a 21st-century private eye who tracks down rebellious robots. As before, the movie is more impressive for its finely detailed vision of Los Angeles as a futuristic slum than for its story, acting, or message. It's all downhill after the first few eye-dazzling minutes. (Rated R)

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