FULL METAL JACKET - Stanley Kubrick views the Vietnam war through the eyes of a young Marine recruit. The first portion takes place in boot camp, dominated by a drill sergeant whose filthy, dehumanized language prefigures a climactic burst of violence. The scene then changes to the Vietnamese city of Hue during the Tet offensive, where the recruit ends up fighting a blind battle with a lost and leaderless patrol. Kubrick uses these situations to explore the ``duality'' of human beings and their contradictory urges to destroy and to heal. He also sets up a duality of his own, by filming dark and explosive material in a fluid, elegant cinematic style. (Rated R) LA GRAN FIESTA - The movie world is suddenly a richer and grander place, as Puerto Rico enters the international film circuit for the first time. This engaging comedy-drama takes place in 1942; the main setting is San Juan's casino, which the United States military is about to take over as a World War II base. The characters are a wry assortment of fussy conservatives, hopeful liberals, young romantics, and old schemers, all with axes to grind regarding their nation's future and their own places in it. The marvelously ironic story is stunningly acted, richly filmed by Marcos Zurinaga, and accompanied by the most exuberant music score this side of the big-band era. (Not rated) KARMA - In the late 1960s, the love relationship of a South Vietnamese couple is harshly disrupted by the new values thrust on them by war. Working with an all-Vietnamese cast and crew, Ho Quang Minh produced and directed this slow-moving but sometimes visually striking drama, which is the first Vietnamese feature to play theatrically in the US. (Not rated) PING PONG - She's not a lawyer, and she doesn't speak Chinese, despite her Asian ancestry. But she finds herself executing the will of a Chinese-British patriarch whose bequests are surprisingly eccentric. The story idea is clever, and there are some amusing moments. The performances don't measure up, though, and the screenplay rambles. Filmed in London by Po Chih Leong, a British filmmaker who has also worked in Hong Kong. (Not rated) RITA, SUE AND BOB TOO - Put off by his sexually apathetic wife, a randy young husband strikes up a heavy-breathing affair with two teen-age baby sitters. There's plenty of sex; the language is raunchy all the way; and the portrait of working-class English life is often grim and gritty, even though Andrea Dunbar's dialogue goes for rough comedy much of the time. Yet the film is technically first-rate, with a gallery of knowing performances and haunting images. The result is oppressively, inescapably vivid. Alan Clarke directed. (Rated R) TO NEW SHORES - Zorah Leander stars in this 1937 revival about an Englishwoman who takes the blame for a crime and gets deported to Australia so her no-good boyfriend won't suffer. Ably directed by German filmmaker Detlef Sierck before he came to Hollywood and became known as Douglas Sirk. (Not rated)
RATINGS: Films with ratings other than G may contain varying degrees of vulgar language, nudity, sex, and violence.