A weekly update of film releases

* HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK - After boarding the wrong plane for a family vacation, our hero takes Manhattan while his parents land in Florida and try to figure out his whereabouts. Although it's slavishly similar to the original "Home Alone," which was a colossal hit, this sequel has lots of color and Christmas warmth to recommend it. Its portrait of urban American is ridiculously romanticized, though, and the climatic fight with two silly-sinister bad guys is as nasty as it is cartoonish. Chris Colum bus directed for producer John Hughes, whose interest in young protagonists is longlasting but not as thoughtful as it once appeared to be. (Rated PG) * THE LOVER - Sexually explicit story of a French teenager's love affair with an older Chinese man, set in Vietnam during the French occupation there. The delicate prose of Marguerite Duras's novel loses its resonance when translated into the uninspired imagery of Jean-Jacques Annaud, who directed the film and also wrote the screenplay with Gerard Brach. (Rated R) * NIGHT & DAY - A young French woman falls in love with two Parisian men who share her affections just as they share the taxicab they drive. Directed by the gifted Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman, the movie is exquisitely filmed, with loving care to light and color in every shot. The story is negligible, though, and the dialogue is more fey than genuinely poetic. (Not rated)

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