FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases

BLUE SKY - This flawed but intelligent drama focuses on a family grappling with various problems during the post-World War II era. The husband is a career military officer with growing moral qualms about the dangers of atomic-bomb testing; his wife is a creative but mercurial woman who finds it difficult to cope with daily pressures; their children are bright young girls doing their best to grow up under strained and unstable circumstances. Directed by the late Tony Richardson and released years after its completion because of financial problems at Orion Pictures, the movie paints a vivid portrait of a troubled household while exploring large issues of personal responsibility vs. claims of professional and patriotic duty. Unfortunately, the screenplay runs out of momentum in the final scenes, resolving the story in a rush of superficial plot maneuvers. Tommy Lee Jones and Jessica Lange head the generally impressive cast. (Rated PG-13)

IMAGINARY CRIMES

A teenage girl recalls the frequent difficulties and occasional rewards of growing up with a widowed father who's always in trouble for the latest dubious investment, shady deal, or outright swindle he's tried to pull off. He's in search of the American dream and determined to give his daughters a better life. Harvey Keitel offers a remarkably strong and sensitive performance as the misguided dad, who genuinely wants to be an excellent parent but seems to be forever falling short. Fairuza Balk, best known to moviegoers for her work in the poignant ``Gas Food Lodging,'' is equally inspired as his long-suffering oldest child. Vincent D'Onofrio and Seymour Cassell stand out in secondary roles. The literate screenplay by Kristine Johnson and Davia Nelson has been directed with subtle imagination by Anthony Drazan, fulfilling the promise he showed in his earlier ``Zebrahead'' and marking himself as a potentially major filmmaking talent. (Rated PG)

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