Freeze Frames/A weekly update of film releases
ANIMALS ARE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE -- The title is the tip-off to this manipulative documentary, which views African desert wildlife in terms of a narrow, self-serving anthropomorphism. Nature's beauty is allowed to speak for itself at times, but most of the footage is slanted by rigged editing and a shamelessly hokey narration. Made almost single-handedly by Jamie Uys, who also gave us ``The Gods Must Be Crazy'' not long ago. (Rated G) BEFORE STONEWALL -- ``The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community'' is the subtitle of this documentary about the growth of homosexual-rights movements in the United States, portraying them as responses to a history of prejudice and oppression. Informative, but sources of information and film clips are poorly identified. Directed by Greta Schiller with Robert Rosenberg. (Not rated)
FRIGHT NIGHT -- Three teen-agers and a washed-up movie star take arms against a suburban vampire. Directed by Tom Holland, who serves up the oldest horror-yarn clich'es with a straight face, keeping the action good-natured and even humorous until the gory climax. (Rated R)
MY SCIENCE PROJECT -- ``Go ahead. Make my semester,'' says a gun-toting high-schooler to a foe from another dimension. And that's the only memorable line in this feeble fantasy about a ``space-time warp'' machine in the hands of some befuddled pupils and a spaced-out teacher who never outgrew the psychedelic '60s. The messy screenplay was written and directed by Jonathan Betuel for Touchstone Films, the non-kiddie branch of Walt Disney Pictures. (Rated PG)
PERIL -- After getting erotically entangled with a married woman, a music teacher makes friends with a hired killer and enters a murky scheme involving a cache of microfilm. Stylishly directed by French filmmaker Michel Deville, but the action doesn't add up to much, despite its implicit comments on the diversity of human relationships. (Rated R)
REAL GENIUS -- A young science prodigy joins a group of immature whiz-kids in a physics project with secret military connections. The action pokes fun at intellectuals without losing respect for their talents, while taking nastier swipes at the military-industrial mentality. Directed with great skill and control by Martha Coolidge, and acted with surprising subtlety by a cast of strong ensemble performers. All told, the best and most intelligent entry in the crowded teen-movie sweepstakes, a lthough a few of the gags are pointlessly vulgar. (Rated PG) RATINGS: Films with ratings other than G may contain varying degrees of vulgar language, nudity, sex, and violence.