A weekly update of film releases

JUICE - Already faced with violence in their daily surroundings, a group of African-American youngsters confront its worst possibilities when a close friend becomes obsessed with the power of the gun. Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson, best known as Spike Lee's regular cinematographer, the drama has been expertly filmed with a knowing eye for color and composition; while some of its action scenes are uncomfortably strong, its moments of mayhem are fairly restrained by current standards, and its message is aga inst violence. The film can't be called a thorough success, though, since the acting is uneven and the screenplay is unconvincing at times.

(Rated R) PAPER MASK - A man impulsively assumes the identity of a recently deceased physician, going to work in a hospital where a nurse teaches him enough to pull off his masquerade for a dangerously long time. Christopher Morahan directed the capably made but unmemorable story. (Rated R) ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS - Master filmmaker Luchino Visconti directed this legendary Italian drama in 1960, but its full three-hour length has waited until the '90s to reach American screens. The plot focuses on a rural family that comes to Milan in search of a better life; beneath the realistic surface are subtexts dealing with everything from the pitfalls of passion to the failings of capitalism. Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale lead the superb cast. (Not rated)

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