shadow

Freeze Frames

CAT'S EYE -- The wanderings of an alley cat link three stories in the old horror-comic tradition. Concocted by shock specialist Stephen King, the unsurprising plots deal with a murderous wager, a troll in a little girl's bedroom, and a sinister way of getting people to quit smoking. The screenplay filches from Ben Hecht and ``Gremlins,'' among other sources. Meanwhile the director, Lewis Teague, punctuates the action with references to King's previous work, as if this minor yarn-spinner were an old master overdue for tribute and homage. (Rated PG-13) FRATERNITY VACATION -- True to its title, and as deep as you'd expect. A couple of restrained performances lift the proceedings a notch above the ``Fandango'' level, and director James Frawley works up genuinely high spirits in a few scenes. But it would take more effort and skill to transcend the sex-and-sun stupidity that's built into the factory-made script. (Rated R)

FRENCH CANCAN -- A reissue of Jean Renoir's 1956 classic. The plot is a trifle about l'amour backstage, but the real point is Renoir's visual magic, which sets the screen ablaze with color, dance, and sheer human warmth. (Not rated)

THE MAKIOKA SISTERS -- Radiantly filmed and deeply Japanese in its outlook, this character study focuses on four well-born women and the earnestly formal yet subtly shifting society they inhabit. Directed by Kon Ichikawa with an assurance born of long experience. (Not rated)

MASK -- A teen-ager with a disfigured face confronts life with spunk and humor in this winning drama, based on a true case history. The emotions of the story are artificially boosted by slick plot maneuvers and a willingness to gloss over harsh details, but it's all in the good cause of celebrating the resilience of the human spirit. Directed by Peter Bogdanovich. (Rated PG-13) RATINGS: Films with ratings other than G may contain varying degrees of vulgar language, nudity, sex, and violence.

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