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Freeze Frames

October 25, 1996

Freeze Frames: The Monitor Movie Guide

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Here are the week's reviews of both the latest releases and current films, rated according to the key below (''o'' for forget it). The capsule reviews are by Monitor film critic David Sterritt; the one liners from a panel of at lease three other Monitor reviewers. Movies containing violence (V), sexual situations (S), nudity (N), and profanity (P) are noted.

o Forget it

* Only if it's free

** Maybe a matinee

*** Worth full price

**** Wait in line

New Releases


** Whoopi Goldberg is winning as a Wall Street wheeler-dealer who cooks up a fictitious male partner so traditional business types will take her one-woman firm more seriously. Dianne Wiest and Eli Wallach head a strong supporting cast, but the pace is too stretched-out and the plot is too tricky for the movie's stock to pay maximum dividends. Also contains a surprising amount of nudity and scatological humor. Daniel Petrie directed. S N P V


* A dozen African-Americans head for the Million Man March on a chartered bus. Spike Lee gets surprising comic and dramatic mileage out of a few characters in a limited setting. There is much extremely vulgar language, however, including explicit dialogue about sexual activity. The lively cast includes Ossie Davis, Charles Dutton, Richard Belzer, and Andre Braugher. P V

*** Message-oriented, clever dialogue, funny.


* A young man and his cousin fall in love despite their marriages to other people, and encounter much unhappiness in a conservative society that won't tolerate their relationship. The basic plot of Thomas Hardy's great novel "Jude the Obscure" comes through accurately enough, but its sublime irony and sardonic wit apparently got lost in the misty English countryside. Christopher Eccleston and Kate Winslet star, and Michael Winterbottom directed. Contains explicit sex, animal slaughter, and a horrifying scene of death involving young children. S N V


** Al Pacino's inventive movie alternates scenes from Shakespeare's darkly dramatic "Richard III" with amusing real-life material about the challenge of making Shakespeare plays alive and fresh for contemporary audiences. The cast includes Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, Kevin Spacey, Aidan Quinn, and Estelle Parsons, and documentary scenes feature James Earl Jones, Vanessa Redgrave, Kevin Kline, and John Gielgud, among others. Contains violence and vulgar language, though. V P


* A bold Irish fighter spearheads rebellion against British rule, and he holds a running argument over the proper form of the struggle with a politician who advocates different means to the same end. Liam Neeson and Alan Rickman give sturdy performances, but Neil Jordan's historically based drama seems oddly cool and distant with regard to its incendiary subject. Contains much foul language and a great deal of killing and other mayhem, some of it extremely graphic. V P


* Three young men plan a robbery that they mistakenly think will revitalize their aimless lives, and they totally botch the job. Alan Taylor's dark comedy is amusing but unmemorable. Vincent Gallo, William Forsythe, and Adam Trese head the cast. V P


* The long, sordid story of four youngsters who get sent to a reform school where they are subjected to terrifying sexual abuse, then grow up and plot a complicated revenge against the guards who were responsible. The excellent cast includes Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Bacon, Brad Pitt, Bruno Kirby, and Jason Patric. Barry Levinson's filmmaking style is often imaginative. The story contains horrific scenes of sexual torture as well as sadistic killings and other disturbing material, though. S V P