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Freeze Frame

The Monitor Movie Guide

December 5, 1997



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.

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o Forget It

+ Poor

++ Fair

+++ Good

++++ Excellent

New Releases

ALIEN RESURRECTION (R)

++ Deep in outer space, a woman, an android, and various smugglers and scientists battle terrifying monsters unwittingly spawned from the woman's own body. Heavy on violence and special effects, light on everything else. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who recaptures the surreal look of Jeunet & Caro movies like "The City of Lost Children" for a little while, then submits to the demands of the hugely profitable "Alien" franchise. Series regular Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder head the hard-working cast. V P N

+ Overdone, gross, gooey.

BANG (Not rated)

+ After a jolting encounter with a male-chauvinist movie producer, an Asian-American actress steals a police officer's uniform and cruises Los Angeles looking for ways to exercise the temporary power it gives her. Written and directed by a filmmaker called Ash, the picture is more excitable than coherent but generates fleeting power in some scenes. V P S N

A COUCH IN NEW YORK (Not rated)

++ William Hurt and Juliette Binoche play a Manhattan psychoanalyst and a Parisian gadabout who swap apartments, then get involved in each other's lives. The story is a trifle and the comic rhythms are skewed, but Belgian director Chantal Akerman provides some glowing images along the way. A minor work by a major filmmaker. P

DEAD HEART (R)

+ Well-meaning but heavy-handed melodrama about a rural Australian cop whose relations with the local population become increasingly strained when he investigates the death of a tribesman involved in a sexual affair with a white woman. Contains some informative lore about Australian racial strife, but similar terrain has been explored with much more depth and power in movies like "Walkabout" and "The Last Wave." Bryan Brown stars. Written and directed by Nick Parsons. Contains graphic violence and an extremely explicit nude sex scene intercut with a church service. S N V P

FLUBBER (PG)

++ Disney's popular comedy "The Absent-Minded Professor" rides again in this remake, centering on a charmingly mad scientist who invents a green goo with antigravity powers and uses it to win a basketball game, save his college from bankruptcy, and regain his exasperated fiance. Robin Williams is no Fred MacMurray, but he plays the hero with his customary energy. Les Mayfield directed. V

+++ Imaginative, goofy, energetic.

SICK (Not rated)

++ Documentary about a performance artist who mutilates his body in his work. The movie has received rave reviews from mainstream critics who normally have little interest in such extreme subject matter, perhaps because the style remains conventional even when the material becomes almost unwatchable. No star rating could be appropriate, since most audiences will find the very idea of the film repugnant, but some may be interested in its suggestion that suffering is more a mental than a physiological state. Directed by Kirby Dick. V S N P

TAR (Not rated)

++ The tangled story of an African-American policewoman and her high school boyfriend, now an outlaw but still dangerously appealing to her. Goetz Grossman's melodrama is unevenly written and directed, but it breaks into thought-provoking territory with its portrait of the divided loyalties felt by a contemporary black woman making her way through a sadly racist society. V P S N

WELCOME TO SARAJEVO (R)