* THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION -- (R, Castle Rock Entertainment). When he was living on the outside, Andy Dufresne was an honest man. It wasn't until he came to prison that he became a crook. So jokes Andy (Tim Robbins), who is locked up for life for a crime he didn't commit. Andy shows courage and resourcefulness, refusing to let grim surroundings and brutal treatment quash his hope for freedom. He and fellow prisoner Red (Morgan Freeman) develop a profound friendship, which provides the film's richest moments. Based on a short novel by Stephen King, the picture is often disturbing but gloriously uplifting in the end. Acting is superb. (Sept. 27, 1994)
Jennifer G. Wolcott
* BLUE SKY -- (PG-13, Orion Home Video). With all the ''Forrest Gump''-''Pulp Fiction'' hype last year, this smart, intense drama got lost in the fray. Made in 1991 but delayed in release when the production company filed for bankruptcy, the film stars Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones. They portray a couple trying to make their marriage work while balancing his Army career and her sultry, somewhat disturbed personality. Set in the 1960s, the story addresses moral questions faced by the couple, as well as those raised by the Army's testing of nuclear weapons. Lange won a best-actress Oscar for her powerful performance; Jones is equally engaging.
* SPEECHLESS -- (PG-13, MGM/UA Home Video). An equally fitting title for this film might be ''Sleepless,'' since the plot revolves around two speechwriters who both have trouble falling asleep at night. Kevin (Michael Keaton) and Julia (Geena Davis) meet during a heated Senate race in New Mexico, but it isn't until after romance blooms that they discover they work for opposing candidates. Although Keaton and Davis both shine with funny moments, the attraction between their two characters is never quite convincing. Still, the film is an entertaining look at the sound bites and media spins that have become a mainstay of American political campaigns. (Dec. 16, 1994)