Movie capsules

FRANTIC -- Directed by Roman Polanski and starring Harrison Ford, 'Frantic' is a slick suspense-thriller that admirably combines film noire, mystery and more than a touch of comedy. Polanski ('Chinatown,' 'Rosemary's Baby') brings an almost Hitchock-like touch to this tale of kidnapping and international intrigue. But he also brings his own dark vision to the screen, delighting in the sub-cultures that inhabit the back streets, nightclubs and alleyways of Paris. It's a film about ordinary people put in unordinary circumstances pressed to extraordinary levels, and the film itself becomes extraordinary by the effort. Rated R.



-- Spike Lee, who won accolades with his first movie, 'She's Gotta Have It,' follows up with this sometimes wild, occasionally uneven, and often superb satire-morality play of homecoming weekend at a mythical black college. Lee wrote, produced and directed 'School Daze' -- and stars, as well. He proves his comic genius in his first project wasn't just beginner's luck. Rated R.


-- It's good to have veteran and able actor Sidney Poitier back on the screen again, and his contribution to 'Shoot to Kill' helps make this action-thriller set in the mountain wilds of the Northwest a slick and satisfying film. Directed by Robert Spotiswoode, 'Shoot to Kill' is fast-paced and visually riveting; the tight editing of each scene helps to build the suspense. Also starring Tom Berenger and Kirstie Alley. Rated R.



-- Director John Hughes, whose success stems from a series of wise and witty movies about teenagers, takes a small leap into the world of young adults in his latest film. The characters represent Hughes' success at making the ordinary seem unique and identifiable at the same time. He did this in his movies about high school angst ('Breakfast Club,' 'Sixteen Candles,' 'Pretty in Pink') and this film proves he also can handle life on the other side of graduation. Starring Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern. Rated PG-13. THE LAST EMPEROR -- Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, the film is mesmerizing in its lush depiction of the reign of Pu Yi, who was crowned emperor of China at age 3 and died a poor and forgotten gardener in 1967. 'The Last Emperor' is satisfying both as a spectacle of history and as a chronicle of a lonely and proud man who both feared and longed for freedom for himself and his great country during the years of World War II. The emperor is played as a youngster by Richard Vuu; as an adolescent by Wu Tao, and as an adult by John Lone. Also starring Peter O'Toole. Rated PG-13.


5 CORNERS -- A new movie directed by Tony Bill, the film tells the story of a small and isolated neighborhood in the East Bronx, N.Y., with affection and wit. But the movie is more than a collection of neighborhood tales. In the tradition for which the movie 'American Graffiti' is best remembered, '5 Corners' also manages to create a singularly American story. With excellent performances from Harry Fitzgerald, John Turturro, Jodie Foster, Todd Graff and Elizabeth Berridge. Screenwriter John Patrick Shanley ('Moonstruck') said the story represented his dream 'to go back to one's childhood and get it right.' It seems he did. Rated R. RENT-A-COP -- Starring Burt Reynolds and Liza Minnelli, 'Rent-a-Cop' gives both these mega-stars yet another opportunity to do a role they've done in countless ways before. 'Rent-a-Cop' is a waste of their talents. Yet, because they already know what is expected of them, they deliver in a dutiful, and yes, entertaining way. But 'Rent-a-Cop' barely packs five bucks worth of action, suspense and romance. Rated R.


-- Molly Ringwald's newest movie has an offbeat perspective on a serious subject -- teenage pregnancy. That perspective - including several hilarious scenes of teenage bliss turned into domestic hell -- should have saved this movie. But it doesn't, and what results is a dreary television-movie-of-the-week drama, far beneath the considerable talents of the mostly gifted cast. Directed by John Avildsen, and also starring Randall Batinkoff. Raged PG-13. MOONSTRUCK -- Directed by Norman Jewison, and containing Cher's best performance yet, this is a loony movie about overwrought, wonderful characters who find -- and rediscover -- love under the magical influence of a big, bright full moon. Also starring Nicholas Cage, Danny Aiello, Olympia Dukakis and Vincent Gardenia. Rated PG. GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM -- Directed by Barry Levinson, this film gives comedian-actor Robin Williams plenty of room to strut his inventive and ingenious stuff as an outrageous Armed Forces Radio disc jockey in Saigon in 1965. The plot revolves around his growing anger at censorship as the war in Vietnam cranks up. But the film is all Williams; he has a field day with this character and this country and this period in history, with all its horror -- and comedy. Rated R.


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