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FREEZE FRAMES

The Monitor Movie Guide

By David Sterrit and Staff Panel / February 2, 1996



FEBRUARY 2, 1996

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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 other viewers. Look for more guidance in our full reviews.

EVALUATION SYMBOLS

David Sterritt Monitor 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

ANTONIA'S LINE (Not rated)

uu A strong-willed woman returns to her ancestral home in the Netherlands after World War II and sets up an unusual household, run by and for the females of the family. Directed by Dutch filmmaker Marleen Gorris, known for her longtime interest in gender and sexuality, this feminist fable would be more effective if the male characters were well-rounded human beings instead of two-dimensional symbols who'd be more at home in a medieval morality play. Contains violence as well as sexual and homosexual activity. S N V P

FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (R)

uu On the run after a crime spree, two psychopathic brothers take a pastor and his family as hostages, and the whole gang runs into a passel of vampires in a sleazy Mexican saloon. The combination of director-editor Robert Rodriguez and screenwriter-actor Quentin Tarantino means plenty of surprises, almost all of them nasty. Tarantino stars with George Clooney, Juliette Lewis, and the wonderful Harvey Keitel. Contains extremely graphic violence. V S N P

O\ Bizarre, lame, gory.

THE JUROR (R)

uu Chosen for the jury in a mobster's murder trial, a woman fights for her son's life after he's kidnapped by a psychotic crook who wants a not-guilty verdict for his boss. Everybody betrays everybody in this twisty-turny thriller, which is basically just another Hollywood exercise in tormenting female characters so audiences will cheer the vengeful finale. Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin cook up an effective mix of chemistry and tension. Contains sex and violence. S V N P

THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU'RE DEAD (R)

u Seeing this movie isn't one of them. Accepting one last job, a retired hit man finds himself on the wrong side of a vicious enemy, and the outcome is like a nincompoop version of ''The Usual Suspects,'' which unfolds a some- what similar story with more success on every level. Gary Fleder directed Scott Rosenberg's screenplay. Andy Garcia and Christopher Walken head the unfortunate cast. Con- tains much violence and other unpleasant stuff. S N V P

VUKOVAR (Not rated)

u A modern variation of ''Romeo and Juliet,'' focusing on a Croatian woman and a Serbian man who marry just before civil war erupts in Yugoslavia, separating them from each other and their dreams of a contented family life. The drama doesn't have as much emotional impact as one would hope, but it's a vivid reminder of war's unspeakable consequences. Directed by Boro Draskovic on real locations in Vukovar, a bombed-out border town where Serbs and Croats used to intermarry without a second thought. V S N P

WHITE SQUALL (PG-13)

uu Based on real events, this old-fashioned boys' adventure details the troubled voyage of a square-rigged sailing ship run by a salty adventurer-turned-teacher and crewed by 13 teenagers learning responsibility and teamwork on the high seas. The psychology of the story is shallow, but the action scenes pack a good visual punch. Jeff Bridges leads the mostly young cast. Directed by action specialist Ridley Scott. V S P

Currently in Release

THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT (PG-13)

uuu Comedy about a well-meaning but wishy-washy chief executive who happens to be a widower. He learns a few things about principle and commitment when political enemies make a phony character issue out of his romantic relationship with an attractive lobbyist. Michael Douglas and Annette Bening head the well-chosen cast, but what gives the movie substance is its willingness to take real stands on real political issues. Rob Reiner directed. P