The following summaries of current widely shown films are provided to help readers plan what to see. If additional coverage of a film has appeared in the Monitor, the date of the article is given in italics after the summary. Inclusion of a movie does not imply Monitor endorsement. The movie guide is scheduled to appear on the first and third Thursdays of the month.m
A NOS AMOURS - Some harrowingly insightful family scenes punctuate this typically French tale of a teen-age girl's sexual and emotional maturing. Directed by Maurice Pialat, who sensitively plays the heroine's father, too. (Rated R; contains sex and vulgarity.)
THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE 8TH DIMENSION - The humor is so laid back it's downright sleepy in this science-fiction romp about a hip hero vs. a gaggle of aliens. Unevenly directed by W. D. Richter. (Rated PG; contains sexual humor and some violence.) Nov. 2.
AMADEUS - A handsome, feisty, and eminently musical entertainment about a rowdy genuis named Mozart and the less-gifted composer Salieri, whose insane jealousy is matched only by his desperate admiration for the scamp who's stealing all the glory in the emperor's court. Intelligently directed by Milos Forman from a screenplay by Peter Shaffer, based on his Broadway hit, and glowingly photographed by Miroslav Ondricek. (Rated PG; contains a good deal of vulgar language.) Sep. 20.
AMERICAN DREAMER - After a bump on the head, an American in Paris thinks she's a daring sleuth on the trail of a mystery. Energetically directed by Rick Rosenthal, but he runs out of ideas long before he runs out of film. (Rated PG; contains some violence and sex.) Nov. 13.
BODY DOUBLE - There's as much good taste as you'd expect in this sardonic thriller about a peeping tom who witnesses the apparent murder of the woman he's been spying on. Directed by Brian De Palma with little seriousness but much stylishness, a lot of it based on shameless borrowings from Hitchcock movies. (Rated R; contains sex, nudity, violence, and explicit language.) Nov. 13.
CARMEN - Bizet's opera, sung by Placido Domingo and Julia Migenes-Johnson, among others. Directed by Francesco Rosi in a flabby, academic style that illustrates why the romantic-realistic tradition of cinema must be abandoned if an opera-film is to have any chance of coming to life. (Rated PG; contains a graphic bullfight scene and some lascivious posing.) Sep. 20.
CHOOSE ME - A sexual round robin involving a talk-show psychologist, a former prostitute, a French hoodlum, and a man who may be a pathological liar, among others. Directed by Alan Rudloph, who has loads of style but needs some substance to match. (Rated R; contains sex and vulgar language.)
CRIMES OF PASSION - A prostitute has an affair with a married man and dodges a crazed clergyman who wants to save her soul by murderous means. Directed by Ken Russell, who uses the plot as an excuse for wildly excessive flights of visual imagination. (Rated R; contains sex, violence, and very vulgar language.) Nov. 5.
THE FAMILY GAME - Odd comedy about an unscholarly teen-ager and his peculiar tutor. Directed by Yoshimitsu Morita, who doesn't always keep his material under control but rarely shies away from its most outrageous implications. (Rated R; contains vulgar conversation.)
FIRSTBORN - A divorced woman gets involved with a shady boyfriend, and her teen-age son tries to interfere. Directed with an excellent sense of detail by Michael Apted, but marred by a fatuous last scene that wipes out everythingthe engaging drama has already accomplished. (Rated PG-13; contains vulgar language and harrowing family situations.)
GARBO TALKS - Sentimental comedy about a man who tracks down the great movie star so his dying mother can meet her. Directed by Sidney Lumet but single-handedly carried by Anne Bancroft as the mom. (Rated PG-13; contains vulgar language.) Nov. 1.
GIVE MY REGARDS TO BROAD STREET - Paul McCartney plays a wealthy rock singer whose musical empire will be wrecked if he doesn't find the missing tapes of his next album within a few hours. The half-baked, lethargic plot is just an excuse for a string of numbers by the star and his associates. (Rated PG; contains a little vulgarity.)
THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL - An actress from the United States is recruited by an Israeli agent to lure a Palestinian foe into his trap. Directed by George Roy Hill, whose preoccupation with story mechanics doesn't leave much room for thoughtful characterization or ideas. (Rated R; contains some sex, violence, and vulgar language.) Oct. 29.
NINJA III THE DOMINATION - The spirit of a vicious Japanese killer moves into the body of an innocent woman and almost ruins her job with the phone company. Sam Firstenberg directed the mindless mayhem. (Rated R; contains constant violence.)
ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA - Running nearly four hours, the complete version of Sergio Leone's crime epic is more forceful and coherent than the short edition released a few months ago, though it loses momentum during the second half. Robert De Niro and James Woods deliver strong performances as gangsters coming of age during the Prohibition years. (Rated R; contains graphic sex and violence.)
THE RAZOR'S EDGE - In his first serious role, Bill Murray has dignity and humor as the hero of W. Somerset Maugham's rather ponderous tale of a man who becomes disillusioned with everyday life and seeks enlightenment from Eastern gurus. But director John Byrum's idea of evoking the past is to usher a parade of overblown cliches across the screen. (Rated PG-13; contains battlefield scenes and some vulgar language.) Oct. 25.
SWANN IN LOVE - Some early pages of ''Remembrance of Things Past,'' focusing on Swann's obsessive love for the courtesan Odette, are fastidiously captured by director Volker Schlondorff, who lingers in a Proustian way on nuances of time, place, and behavior. Though only an echo of its literary source, it's a faithful echo, veering sharply from Proust's tone only in its most clinical sexual encounter, and in the unsettling absence of major characters, including the narrator. (Rated R; contains sex, including a bluntly shot brothel scene.)
STOP MAKING SENSE - A concert by the Talking Heads rock group, featuring the inventive David Byrne and his colleagues. Directed by Jonathan Demme, who keeps the soundtrack lively but lets the images look a little drab. (Rated PG; contains a bit of vulgarity.)
TEACHERS - A troubled urban high school is the setting for this mishmash of drama and comedy, with several subplots revolving around a lawyer pressing for high standards and a social studies teacher with tarnished ideals. Lumpily directed by Arthur Hiller. (Rated R; contains sex, violence, and vulgar language.) Nov. 2.
THE TERMINATOR - Arnold Schwartzenegger mows down everything in his path as a programmed killer sent on a vendetta from the future. Sharply directed by James Cameron. (Rated R; contains much violence.)
TERROR IN THE AISLES - Compendium of ''the good parts'' from almost 75 horror flicks, including some relatively tame classics and many unrestrained ''splatter'' movies of recent years. Directed by Andrew J. Kuehn and edited by Gregory McClatchy, who keeps the pace hopping when the dopey narration doesn't get in the way. (Rated R; contains some nudity and almost nonstop violence.) Nov. 5.
THIEF OF HEARTS - A young burglar steals the diaries of a married women, then seduces her using his ill-gotten knowledge of her private life and thoughts. It's a potentially involving premise, but director Douglas Day Stewart falls back on run-of-the-mill gimmicks like tough-guy cliches and intrusive rock music. (Rated R; contains sex and violence.) Nov. 5.
THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK - There's terrific momentum to this thoughtful documentary about the first avowed homosexual to win elected office in a major American city, only to be assassinated by a fellow San Francisco official. Deftly assembled by director Robert Epstein and producer Richard Schmiechen. (Not rated; contains discussion of homosexual issues.)