FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases

* BEING HUMAN - The adventures of five men named Hector in five different periods of history, from cave-dwelling times to the present. All the Hectors are played by Robin Williams, and the picture might have presented a bravura display of his energy and versatility if it weren't weighed down by droopy dialogue and an even droopier visual style.

Written and directed by Scottish filmmaker Bill Forsyth, it tries to duplicate the low-key charm of his 1983 masterpiece, ``Local Hero,'' but never finds a clear focus for its wandering stories of romance, parenthood, and relationships of various kinds.

The screen temporarily perks up when John Turturro arrives as a Roman slave owner, and again when Vincent D'Onofrio plays a medieval cleric. The rest of the supporting cast is largely wasted, though, despite the presence of such talented folks as Lorraine Bracco and Lindsay Crouse; and Williams's acting is as listless as the anecdotes he's trapped in.

The only notable virtues of the movie are Michael Coulter's cinematography, which finds moments of striking beauty amid the sleepy goings-on, and Michael Gibbs's music, which has occasional bursts of unexpected vitality. The rest comes perilously close to being a total loss, right down to the sappy narration by Theresa Russell, which tries vainly to glue things together. (Rated PG-13)

* LA SCORTA - This topical Italian melodrama focuses on the relationship between a crusading judge and his four-man ``escort'' of bodyguards, whose loyalties and abilities are tested well beyond the norm when their boss needs help with a dangerous investigation in a troubled Sicilian city. Directed by Ricky Tognazzi, the movie is unmemorable in its style and performances, but deserves applause for tackling a joltingly political subject in a thoughtful and timely way. The great Ennio Morricone composed the music. (Not rated)

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