A weekly update of film releases

* MEDICINE MAN - He's discovered that the cure for a dreaded illness can be extracted from an obscure Amazonian flower. But wouldn't you know, the plant only grows in a patch of the rain forest that's about to be leveled by road-builders. Can our hero and his new assistant save the day? This romantic adventure is corny fun, and it's amusing to hear Sean Connery's elegant Scottish accent jangle against Lorraine Bracco's feisty Bronx twang. The movie is more picturesque than memorable, though. John McTiern an directed. (Rated PG-13)

* SECRET FRIENDS - A long train ride and the lurching transitions of a man's thoughts, from present to past and reality to fantasy, are key ingredients of this tricky thriller. In his first theatrical film as both writer and director, Dennis Potter toys with the sort of provocative mind-games that he examined more thoroughly and more tantalizingly in such legendary television productions as "The Singing Detective" and "Pennies From Heaven." At least the cast is strong, headed by a dour-looking Alan Bates, and the action moves

at a rapid pace. (Rated R)

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