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Freeze Frames

The Monitor Movie Guide

By Staff Panel and David Sterritt / November 10, 1995



NOVEMBER 10, 1995

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Movies containing violence (V), sexual situations (S), nudity (N), and profanity (P) are noted. Ratings and comments by the panel (blue stars) reflect the sometimes diverse views of at least three Monitor staffers. Look for more guidance in our full reviews.

EVALUATION SYMBOLS

David Sterritt Staff Panel Meaning

O\ O\ Forget it

u u Only if it's free

uu uu Maybe a matinee

uuu uuu Wait in line

uuuu uuuu See it twice

New Releases

CARRINGTON (R)

uuu Drama about the long relationship between author Lytton Strachey and painter Dora Carrington, with emphasis on the complications raised by Strachey's homosexuality. Although it lapses into sensationalism and inaccuracy, the movie convincingly portrays unconven- tional artists who crystallized a unique moment in post-Victorian culture. Emma Thompson is appealing as the title character, and Jonathan Pryce does more acting with his bushy beard than most actors manage with their whole bodies. Christopher Hampton directed his own screenplay, and Michael Nyman composed the evocative score. S N P

THE JOURNEY OF AUGUST KING (PG-13)

uu A white mountain man helps a runaway slave escape her cruel master. The story is filmed with picturesque skill by director John Duigan, but it would seem more powerful and authentic if it paid due attention to the brave woman at the heart of the adventure, instead of following Hollywood convention and letting her white friend grab the limelight. Jason Patric and Thandie Newton star. Narrated by poet Maya Angelou. V P S

LESSONS OF DARKNESS (Not rated) AND

SATYA: A PRAYER FOR THE ENEMY (Not rated)

uuu A powerful double bill. ''Lessons of Darkness,'' directed by German filmmaker Werner Herzog, is a cinematically stunning look at the near-apocalyptic devastation caused by environmental effects of the Persian Gulf war. ''Satya: A Prayer for the Enemy'' is American filmmaker Ellen Bruno's visually poetic, verbally graphic account of Tibetan nuns who bravely resisted China's occupation of their country. Both are well worth viewing on cultural, artistic, and moral grounds. V

TOTAL ECLIPSE (R)

u A melodramatic visit with 18th-century French poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud, paying more attention to their sexual excesses than the roots of their revolu- tionary art. Many talented people make amazingly weak showings: director Agnieszka Holland, screenwriter Christopher Hampton, actors David Thewlis and Leonardo DiCaprio, and actress Romane Bohringer, all of whom are capable of much better work. S N V P

Currently in Release

A BUSINESS AFFAIR (Not rated)

uu Comedy-drama about an aspiring writer caught between her egotistical husband, an established author, and a self-important publisher who wants to steal her away from him. Carole Bouquet is an attractive heroine, and it's fun watching actors as talented as Christopher Walken and Jonathan Pryce compete for attention. Charlotte Brandstrom's directing rarely shines, though, and the jokes are more pretentious than amusing. N V P

ACROSS THE SEA OF TIME (G)

uuu Made in the IMAX 3D process, this nostalgic little drama centers on an immigrant boy who wanders the streets of New York City looking for a long-lost relative's home, guided by old photos and the words of an ancestor who made a similar voyage many years earlier. The story is sappy, and the portrait of New York is hopelessly romantic. The views of Manhattan are positively breathtaking, though, making this a strong candidate for best IMAX movie ever made.

BABE (G)

uuu He's a pig who longs to be a sheepdog, to the consternation of his barnyard friends and the confusion of the humans who own him. The movie is at times raucous, but its spirits couldn't be higher, and the tale teaches a good-natured lesson about why cooperation is better than coercion. Best of all is the very funny climax, which should have grownups brushing away happy tears along with their kids. Directed by Chris Noonan.