CRIMES OF THE HEART - One sister has just shot her husband, another has lost her bid for Hollywood success, and the third is having a crisis of loneliness. Together in their Mississippi home, they come to grips with the past and present, as individuals and as a family. Beth Henley, who wrote the movie from her Pulitzer Prize-winning play, knows how ironically close weeping and laughter can be; and three of today's most celebrated movie actresses are on hand to interpret her wry vision of the Southern personality. But the director, Bruce Beresford, is so eager to crowd the screen with eccentric details of behavior and setting that the verbal subtleties and rhythms get twisted out of shape. Sissy Spacek, Jessica Lange, and Diane Keaton give all-out performances that occasionally jell into true ensemble work. (Rated PG-13) NUTCRACKER - Lively rendition of the classic Tchaikovsky ballet, with an unusually large amount of plot material from E.T.A. Hoffmann's original story to stitch the dances together. Carroll Ballard directed the movie, which was designed by Maurice Sendak and choreographed by Kent Stowell, whose Pacific Northwest Ballet is the collective star of the show. While the production sets no high new standards for the dance-film genre, it's always perky and sometimes very inventive. (Rated G) PLACE OF WEEPING - South African drama about a sadistic farmer who goads a black woman into taking a stand against him. The filmmakers do a competent job of exploring how people from different groups and classes, including a reporter and a revolutionary, might react to such a crisis. The action is too roughly crafted and thuddingly pessimistic to be as effective as it might have been, though. Directed by Darrell Roodt. (Not rated) STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME - If this keeps up, we'll have more Trekkie film sequels than original TV episodes. And that's fine if they're all as charming as this one. The crew members of the spaceship Enterprise time-travel to 1986 in search of some humpbacked whales, which they need to solve a 23rd-century crisis. Like interstellar cousins of Crocodile Dundee, they hilariously grope their way through today's San Francisco, finding each aspect of the '80s urban scene more inexplicable than the last. In comparison with a ``Star Wars'' or Indiana Jones hit, the visual humor is refreshingly gentle and the dialogue is witty, wistful, and even wise at times. Leonard Nimoy, who plays his perennial role of Spock with ease and assurance, also directed this unexpected treat. (Rated PG) THERESE - Simply but richly filmed French biography of 19th-century nun Th'er`ese Martin, who realized the only ambition she ever had: to enter a convent and spend her life in prayer and poverty. The account ends with her death in 1897, long before her canonization in 1925. Directed by Alain Cavalier, whose style combines the sublime austerity of Robert Bresson with the loving compassion of Fran,cois Truffaut. (Not rated) RATINGS: Films with ratings other than G may contain varying degrees of vulgar language, nudity, sex, and violence.

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