FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases

* FEDERAL HILL - The setting is a blue-collar neighborhood in Providence, R.I., where a young working-class man falls in love with a well-to-do university student, sparking jealousy and hostility among his surprised friends. At a time when many new filmmakers want to be Quentin Tarentino clones, it's kind of refreshing that director Michael Corrente has the old-fashioned ambition of being a Martin Scorsese clone. While his movie is far less urgent and original than Scorsese's early efforts, it's crisply photographed and has some reasonably convincing atmosphere. (Rated R)

* SILENT FALL - A vicious murder has been committed, and only an autistic child knows who the killer is. Despite good intentions and some hard-working performances, Bruce Beresford's melodrama is contrived and fatuous from start to finish. (Rated R) * VANYA ON 42ND STREET - After rehearsing Anton Chekhov's drama ``Uncle Vanya'' for several years, director Andre Gregory and a gifted cast joined forces with filmmaker Louis Malle to make a cinematic record of their work. Performed with no costumes and a minimum of props in a run-down Manhattan theater, their production is touching, sensitive, and at times downright magical. Top honors go to Wallace Shawn, even though he pushes Vanya's biggest scene a little beyond his capabilities, and Brooke Smith as Sonya, his lonely niece. David Mamet wrote the modern adaptation of Chekhov's text. (Not rated) * WES CRAVEN'S NEW NIGHTMARE - After glutting the market with ``Nightmare on Elm Street'' horror movies, filmmaker Wes Craven tries to revive the series by putting himself at the center of the story. The film-within-a-film scenario focuses on his efforts to write a new screenplay while mysterious violence breaks out against people who've participated in the earlier ``Nightmare'' episodes. The basic idea points the way to a genuinely original yarn, but Craven and company get bogged down in the usual blood-and-gore cliches. (Rated R)

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