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Freeze Frames

(Page 4 of 5)

*** Wild, riveting, beautifully filmed, contains violent hunting scenes.

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**** Reissue of George Stevens's much-loved 1956 epic about a quarter of a century in the lives of a Texas cattle rancher and his steadily growing family. Elizabeth Taylor is lovely and gifted, Rock Hudson shows a little more personality than usual, and James Dean manages to steal every single scene he's in. V


*** The adventures of a boy raised in the South by his highly eccentric aunts and their feisty maid. Much of the action is likable and good-natured, especially when the main characters take to living in a tree. But director Charles Matthau doesn't give it the warmth and energy that make Truman Capote's original novel and play so compelling. Starring the director's father, Walter Matthau, along with Edward Furlong, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, and Nell Carter. P


*** Bright young scientist Richard Feynman falls in love, marries, and cares for his increasingly ill spouse while developing his expertise in physics and working on the Los Alamos nuclear project in the 1940s. Directed by Matthew Broderick, who earns credit for taking on a real-life hero involved with interesting real-world issues. But he exercises poor judgment by reducing his material to ordinary domestic drama and barely acknowledging the profound moral issues raised by Feynman's actual career. Broderick and Patricia Arquette star. S P


**** A seven-year-old girl grows up in a humanly made city between the Earth and the moon, and looks on as her father singlehandedly solves a water-supply problem that threatens the community's existence. The story is short and simplistic, but the Imax 3-D visual effects are astonishing. Tony Myers supervised the production and Allan Kroeker directed the live-action material.


*** A delightful journey through the life and work of Al Hirschfeld, the legendary show-business caricaturist. A huge assortment of stars and fellow artists comment on his unique contribution to several decades of American culture, and the nostalgia is nicely tempered with intelligence and wit. Directed by Susan W. Dreyfoos. N


* Fast-talking private eye Samuel L. Jackson helps amnesiac Geena Davis uncover her past as a government assassin and fight her way through a vicious battle with enemies on every side. The suspense sequences are straight from the standard Hollywood blueprint, and the movie as a whole is so sloppily assembled that it's almost incoherent at times. Directed by mayhem specialist Renny Harlin. S V P

* Painfully loud, shallow, stupidly violent.


**** A closeup look at the world of insects, using cinematic tools that multiply the sizes of very small creatures until they fill the wide screen, showing a color and variety that are nothing short of amazing. Vividly directed by French filmmakers Claude Nuridsany and Marie Perennou.


* Friendship develops between a young American writer and an aging woman whose lively spirit is troubled by memories of her European past. The story is sometimes ragged and uneven, but the screenplay by Jean-Marie Besset and George Trow explores interesting angles of the social, cultural, and political mixing that characterizes the contemporary world. French actress Jeanne Moreau, still one of the screen's most lovable icons, heads a varied cast including Sam Waterston, Sean Young, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Austin Pendleton, and Josh Hamilton. Energetically directed by Ismail Merchant. S P