A weekly update of film releases

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER - Moving from the Dark Ages of old Europe to the Lite Ages of new California, this brash comedy pits a Valley Girl against a vampire. Kristy Swanson heads the likable cast, with Donald Sutherland and Paul Reubens in standout supporting performances. Directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui from Joss Whedon's screenplay. (Rated PG-13) DEATH BECOMES HER - Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn give rip-roaring performances as women whose romantic rivalry is literally endless, since they've swallowed a magic potion that confers eternal life. This pitch-dark comedy may be seen as a biting satire on the tendency to fetishize personal appearance and youthfulness. But its inventiveness quickly wears thin, and the filmmakers show an unhealthy fascination with the spectacle of mutilated women. Directed by comedy specialist Robert Zemeckis. (Rated PG-13) DEEP BLUES - A guided tour of blues in the deep South, directed by Robert Mugge and narrated by Robert Palmer, a music critic with a Southern background and blues experience of his own. Commendably, the filmmakers focus on musicians chosen for skill and soul rather than fame and fortune, and there are real revelations along the way, as when the link between blues and fife-and-drum music is entertainingly shown. In all, a modest but toe-tapping little movie. (Not rated)

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