FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases

* THE LAST SEDUCTION - In his previous picture, the highly praised ``Red Rock West,'' director John Dahl showed his affinity for the sinister film noir style that fascinated moviegoers in the 1940s and '50s. Here he returns to similar territory, again placing a story of deception and betrayal in a small-town setting far from the city streets where most classic noirs transpired. This time the protagonist is a femme fatale who lures a new boyfriend into her web after stealing a pile of ill-acquired cash from an earlier lover. Some of the action is more violent and sexually explicit than old-time noirs could have gotten away with, but Dahl pays worthy tribute to his roots in terms of savvy filmmaking, surprising plot twists, and knowing performances by Linda Fiorentino and Bill Pullman, among others. Written by Steve Barancik. (Rated R)

* THE ROAD TO WELLVILLE - Alan Parker's frantic comedy is based on the life and work of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, who hit his peak around the turn of the century as a cereal magnate and creator of various schemes for prolonging life and health. He was also proprietor of a Michigan sanitarium crowded with outlandish contraptions that were as physically uncomfortable as they were scientifically dubious, at least that's the way this movie tells it. There's a hilarious film lurking in this material, but Parker hasn't managed to find it, even with assistance from such able collaborators as Anthony Hopkins as the doctor, Matthew Broderick and Bridget Fonda as two of his clients, and Dana Carvey as his wildly disreputable son. The early scenes have a few good laughs to offer, aiming well-deserved satire at the fads and foibles that result from needless obsessions with bodily functions. But the story and its talented cast quickly sink under the weight of the picture's nonstop vulgarity. (Rated R)

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