Out on Video

WAITING TO EXHALE

Not many commercial films probe the perspectives and aspirations of black women, but this one does so fourfold by focusing on a quartet of African-American girlfriends. The film's zippy start is promising: One friend (Whitney Houston) hopes to balance a career and a meaningful relationship; another (Angela Bassett) is faced with a difficult divorce; another (Lela Rochon) often finds herself mixed up with no-good men; and the fourth (Loretta Devine) is a divorced mother raising her teenage son. Unfortunately the story line, peppered with sexual situations and profanity, grinds to a halt halfway through, although it picks up for a strong resolution. Based on Terry McMillan's novel and featuring a Top-10 soundtrack. (R, Twentieth Century Fox) -- Judy Nichols

THE ARISTOCATS

This animated 1970 classic about a feline family finding its way home is no exception to Disney's reputation for quality family entertainment. Particularly appealing are several colorful touches, including beautifully drawn landscape scenes and a snappy jazz number. At times the adventures of mother cat Duchess and alley cat Thomas O'Malley are less than riveting, but it's delightful to listen to the two's energetic voices as performed by Eva Gabor and Phil Harris. (G, Walt Disney Home Video) -- Judy Nichols

SEVEN

This film is every bit the dark and disturbing drama it's advertised to be. Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt are convincing as detectives trying to find a serial killer who is murdering one person for each of the seven deadly sins (gluttony, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and wrath). Their acting, along with the intriguing plot and striking cinematography, make for a better-than-expected mystery. But despite its strong points, the film is still quite unnerving. Although most of the violence takes place off-screen, grisly crime scenes and gruesome murder weapons are shown. And while powerful, the ending drives the movie's morbidity home. Also starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey. (R, New Line Home Video) -- Kim Campbell

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