DRAGON CHOW - Ethnic foods and folkways are the subject of this sparely but elegantly filmed drama, about Pakistani immigrants and a Chinese restaurant in West Germany. Knowingly directed by Jan Schutte. (Not rated) FUNNY FARM - Tired of the city, a couple buys a house in the country and discovers that rural living isn't all roses. The story is intermittently entertaining, but director George Roy Hill and star Chevy Chase are capable of much better work, and it's kind of embarrassing when they keep halting the action to allow for laughs that aren't forthcoming. (Rated PG) A HANDFUL OF DUST - As his marriage breaks up, a young Englishman makes various attempts to ``do the right thing'' and meets with uniformly dismal results. The original novel, by Evelyn Waugh, is at once hilarious and heartbreaking. The movie, directed by Charles Sturridge, is dimly amusing and dully sardonic by turns, eventually losing all signs of momentum. (Rated PG) THE KITCHEN TOTO - The setting is Kenya in 1950, when the struggle for independence from Great Britain started to heat up. The hero is a young black boy caught between two loyalties: to his tribe, which is becoming increasingly violent, and to the white police chief for whom he works. The drama is intelligently acted, sensitively written, and bursting with emotional energy. Harry Hook directed the movie from his own screenplay. (Rated PG-13) THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP - Reissue of a 1943 masterpiece that has been widely seen in shortened and re-edited versions. The 163-minute drama chronicles the long career of a British military man as he wrestles with complications of love, friendship, and the ethics of his profession. Written and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger; photographed by Jack Cardiff; starring Roger Livesy and Anton Walbrook, as well as Deborah Kerr in several roles. A triumph of literate filmmaking. (Not rated) THE LOVE SUICIDES AT SONEZAKI - The tragic tale of two lovers, a businessman and a prostitute, who choose death over dishonor. Directed by Midori Kurisaki and performed by bunraku puppets, not on a stage but in real Japanese settings. Almost every detail has been arranged with exquisite care, from the colors of the costumes to the textures of the music. The result is enchanting. (Not rated) SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE PALACE - A story of rage and violence in South Africa, culminating in a violent confrontation between two whites and a black at a fast-food joint after closing time. The performances have considerable power. But the movie is based on a play, and the second half of the action has an artificial ring that's less acceptable on screen than it would be on stage. Directed by South African filmmaker Robert Davies. (Rated R) SHORT CIRCUIT 2 - Cute little No. 5 is now called Johnny Five, but he's still a robot, and he still loves ``input'' from the human world. The original ``Short Circuit'' was pretty limp, and the sequel isn't much better, despite a couple of tantalizing references to surprisingly big questions, such as, Do robots have souls? Kenneth Johnson was the director. (Rated PG)

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