FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases

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THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - A fast-talking con artist finagles his way into Congress, finds that its traditions are too slick and selfish for even a crook like him to put up with, and decides to support the forces of decency for a change. Eddie Murphy does his patented routines effectively, and the dialogue has some pungent moments, but the movie doesn't succeed as the "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" update it would like to be. Jonathan Lynn directed. (Rated R) INDOCHINE - Indochina's long struggle against French colonialism is the setting for this epic story of a French landowner, her adopted Asian daughter, and their conflicting love for a French naval officer. Catherine Deneuve gives a full-fledged star performance and the movie's locations, including areas of Vietnam and Malaysia, provide a vivid backdrop. The emotions of the tale fail to come across strongly, however, and the film has little enduring dramatic power. Directed by Regis Wargnier. (Rated PG-13) SCENT OF A WOMAN

- A retired military officer, blind and embittered about life, dragoons a young college man into traveling with him to New York, where he plans to have a wild weekend and then commit suicide. The screenplay has enough plot twists and character conflicts for two movies, and the story is rarely dull. But it's never profound, either, and Al Pacino's virtuoso performance gets repetitious and tiring after a while. Martin Brest directed. (Rated R)

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