A weekly update of film releases

THE CRYING GAME - Sexual and political ambiguity are key metaphors in Neil Jordan's tale of an Irish terrorist who becomes emotionally involved with the lover of a man he once held hostage. Parts of the film are flatly directed, and its use of offbeat sexuality will put it off-limits for many moviegoers. It certainly keeps the audience guessing, though, and few movies explode so many stereotypes. (Rated R) HUGH HEFNER: ONCE UPON A TIME - The life and times of Playboy magazine and its founder. This documentary sheds some light on American social history of the past few decades, but its view of Hefner and his machinations is too sentimental to take very seriously. (Not rated) LORENZO'S OIL - When their child is diagnosed as fatally ill, his parents are soon disillusioned by the procedures and protocols recommended by doctors; so they embark on research motivated by their own compassion, eventually finding new hope in an oil extract that's more a food than a medication. Based on real events, George Miller's drama takes a provocative stand by suggesting that family love has powers undreamed of by the medical establishment. The story seems tied down by its docudrama framework, thou gh, and some scenes of illness and suffering are almost unbearable to watch. (Rated PG-13)

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