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FREEZE FRAMES

By David Sterritt / December 23, 1994



* LEGENDS OF THE FALL - This ambitious attempt to revivify the psychological-western genre starts out as a large-scale family saga, then narrows its focus to the rivalry between two brothers for the love of a beautiful widow. Anthony Hopkins gives one of his rare uninteresting performances as the patriarch, but he's still way ahead of Brad Pitt and Aidan Quinn as the feuding sons. While the production is attractive in a calendar-photo sort of way, there's not a speck of genuine feeling in its glossy images. Directed by Edward Zwick. (Rated R)

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* RICHIE RICH - He's the richest kid in the world, but money can't buy good movies, and our hero is a loser this time around. The other main characters are a business associate of Richie's dad, who plans to murder the whole Rich family and take their riches for himself, and a valiant butler who foils the evil scheme with Richie's help. The picture's limited fun comes from watching talented comics like John Larroquette and Edward Herrmann bring unexpected pizzazz to weakly written roles. Macaulay Culkin is predictably adorable, but he doesn't get many interesting things to do. Donald Petrie directed. Shown with the movie is a mildly amusing Roadrunner cartoon, ``Chariots of Fur,'' by legendary animator Chuck Jones. (Rated PG)

* A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE - By day, Alfie is a Dublin bus conductor. By night, he's a theater lover who's determined to stage a production of ``Salome'' with friends and neighbors as the stars. Directed for British television by newcomer Suri Krishnamma, this amiable comedy-drama gets much of its color from Alfie's amateur stage activities, and much of its complexity from his homosexual leanings, which he can't eradicate but has learned to repress so firmly that even his closest confidants are unaware they exist at all. It's a modest film in most respects, but Albert Finney as Alfie is a man of great importance indeed, reminding us again that he's one of the most towering talents in film today. (Rated R)