A weekly update of film releases

* A DANGEROUS WOMAN - Debra Winger plays a mentally troubled woman whose condition makes her at once more honest, more tactless, and more unpredictable than the neighbors and relatives who have to cope with her on a regular basis; they include her beautiful aunt, her long-suffering employer, and a new man in town who finds her both off-putting and attractive. Winger gives a brave performance, getting solid support from Barbara Hershey and Gabriel Byrne as the aunt and the potential boyfriend. Naomi Foner's screenplay grows more contrived as it proceeds, though, culminating in a melodramatic climax that's as unconvincing as it is violent. Based on a novel by Mary McGarry Morris, the picture was directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal, who shows more skill at building narrative tension than at resolving the complex human issues raised by the story. (Rated R)

* EQUINOX - Matthew Modine plays identical twins in this quasi-intellectual crime thriller about the nature of identity, the antagonism between good and evil, and other themes far too grand for such a superficially conceived movie to handle. Written and directed by Alan Rudolph, who can't quite mesh his idiosyncratic style with the action-oriented approach he essays here. (Not rated)

* JOSH AND S.A.M. Thrown into confusion by the instability of their divorce-afflicted family, two young brothers run away from home, school, and society after one of them thinks he's killed a man in a scuffle caused by mistaken identity. This pre-teen road movie is handsomely produced and capably acted, but the story doesn't make much sense and the filmmakers seem uncertain over the handling of their most important subplot, revolving around the younger boy's belief that he's a sort of bionic kid programmed for action in a far-off war. Billy Weber directed. (Rated PG-13)

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