FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases

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* THE GOOD SON - Living with his uncle's family after the death of his mother, a young boy slowly realizes that his 12-year-old cousin is disturbed and dangerous, but nobody will believe him because the psychopathic child is also a natural-born charmer. Macauley Culkin proves that the world's most adorable actor can convincingly play the world's most outrageous brat. The movie seems unsure about its intentions, though. Too restrained for a horror picture, it's also too conventional for an art film; and it never finds the uproarious irony of ``The Stepfather,'' which is still director Joseph Ruben's best thriller. John Lindley did the gorgeous cinematography. Ian McEwan wrote the screenplay, which sometimes seems like a rehash of ``The Bad Seed.'' (Rated R)

* DAZED AND CONFUSED - The year is 1976, the place is suburbia, and the main activity is seniors hazing freshmen as high school lets out for the summer. Richard Linklater wrote and directed this post-hippie edition of ``American Graffiti,'' displaying the lively imagination and energetic style he showed in the admirable ``Slacker,'' but failing to keep his flirting, posing, dope-smoking characters very interesting over the long haul. (Rated R)

* WITTGENSTEIN - A whimsical portrait of the Viennese sage, surrounding him with characters as different as philosopher Bertrand Russell, economist John Maynard Keynes, and a little green Martian who teaches young Ludwig about adventurous thinking. Topics range from Wittgenstein's fascination with physical labor to his idealization of the Soviet Union and an apparent inclination toward homosexuality that surfaces occasionally in the film. Directed by Derek Jarman, whose affection for cinematic games is a good match for Wittgenstein's theory that ``language games'' weave the fabric of human experience. (Not rated)

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