FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases

* THE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS - The saga of a South American family whose members include a ruthless patriarch turned conservative politician, a beautiful wife with supernatural powers, and an illegitimate son who foments revolution among the masses. The movie is based on Isabel Allende's popular novel, a feverish mixture of political allegory and ``magic realism'' that gains its power from the sheer speed and energy of Allende's delivery. Directed by Bille August, whose credits include ``Pelle the Conqueror'' and ``The Best Intentions,'' the film version stresses political intrigue and revolutionary violence at the expense of the anything-goes dreaminess that gives the book its most memorable moments. A stellar cast doesn't help much, especially when the usually excellent Jeremy Irons lapses into what appears to be an ill-conceived impression of Orson Welles in ``Citizen Kane.'' (Rated R)

* JIMMY HOLLYWOOD - He's a would-be actor whose barely noticeable career gives him enough free time to ponder the problems of Los Angeles, including the apparent inability of the police to prevent street crime. Armed with a video camera and a strong feeling of righteous indignation, he and a spaced-out sidekick turn themselves into freelance vigilantes, on the lookout for petty crooks and a chance at media fame. Barry Levinson's edgy comedy-drama is chockful of mischievous twists on earlier movies, from ``Taxi Driver'' and ``The King of Comedy'' to ``The Player'' and Levinson's own ``Rain Man,'' improving on few of them but generating a likable sense of spontaneity and surprise. Joe Pesci and Christian Slater make a winning if eccentric team, and Victoria Abril is a delight as the hero's long-suffering girlfriend, sporting the most musical Spanish accent in American films today. Robbie Robertson composed the spunky score, and Peter Sova did the fetching cinematography. (Rated R)

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