FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases

* TRADING MOM - Grounded by their mother for some minor mischief, three young children use a magic spell to make her disappear, and then visit a ``Mommy Market'' to select a new one who'll treat them more indulgently. After unhappy experiences with a pretentious upper-class mom, a high-energy athletic mom, and a boisterous circus-lady mom, they end up with their original parent again, loving her more than ever. The movie is aimed at children who may enjoy its rowdy gags and reassuring message. But there's not much appeal for grownups except watching Sissy Spacek play all four mothers, transforming herself so totally it's hard to believe you're watching the same actress. Maureen Stapleton has a few pleasant moments, too, as a kindly old friend who teaches the children their magic spell. Written and directed by newcomer Tia Brelis, based on a novel by Nancy Brelis, her mother. (Rated PG)

* WIDOWS' PEAK - Why has a beautiful and somewhat mysterious Englishwoman moved into a cozy Irish community, hired the town's most notorious gossip as her housekeeper, and picked a nasty quarrel with a likable young neighbor she hardly knows? This breezy comedy-drama targets the same audience that enjoyed ``Enchanted April'' and ``The Summer House,'' blending folksy humor with a touch of pathos and much snippy dialogue spoken by mild-looking characters with surprisingly sharp tongues. Extra interest is provided by a smartly selected cast featuring Natasha Richardson as the newcomer, Mia Farrow as the neighbor she quarrels with, Joan Plowright as a dowager who thinks the town revolves around her, and Jim Broadbent as an amorous dentist whose marriage plans are discombobulated by the feminine feud swirling around him. John Irvin directed from Hugh Leonard's screenplay, which builds to a surprising finale. Ashley Rowe did the striking cinematography in lovely Irish locations. (Rated PG)

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