ABOVE THE LAW -- This heavy-handed, preachy movie about the amoral goings on of the CIA is directed by Andrew Davis and stars Steven Seagal, an authentic black-belt martial arts expert. But 'Above the Law' has enough off-beat updates on the cops-and-robbers theme to at least make the film visually interesting, and Seagal combines the steely-eyed bravado of Clint Eastwood in his Dirty Harry films with a dash of martial arts and a touch of urban street-smarts. Also starring Henry Silva. Rated R.
BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY -- Michael J. Fox, Keifer Sutherland, Dianne Wiest and Jason Robards star in this film based on the Jay McInerney novel of the same name. Fox acts his heart out in the tale of a cocaine-addled writer at an emotional crossroads, and his Jamie character reminds you of a 1980s Holden Caufield of 'Catcher in the Rye.' But often, Jamie seems little more than a spoiled-brat coke addict who deserves everything he gets, and it's the supporting roles, especially those for Robards and Wiest, that add some much-needed perspective. Directed by James Bridges. Rated R.
LITTLE NIKITA -- Sidney Poitier, 10 years absent from the screen, is now back with a vengeance. His latest film, 'Little Nikita,' directed by Richard Benjamin, follows close on the heels of 'Shoot to Kill'. In both, Poitier plays an aging FBI agent with a strong personal motive to track down a ruthless killer. Unfortunatly, his latest picture - involving the FBI agent's job to inform a teenager that his parents are
KGB spies -- Also starring River Phoenix, Richard Jenkins and Caroline Kava. Rated PG.
OFF LIMITS -- Gregory Hines and Willem Dafoe play hard, cynical Army 'cops' in 'Off Limits,' looking for a killer of Vietnamese prostitutes in Saigon admist the horror and chaos of the Vietnam War. Director Christopher Crowe starts out with an interesting premise, but a basic murder mystery set in an exotic location is then twisted, turned and finally, destroyed in an effort to combine Miami Vice hip with Apocolypse Now surreality. All told, Hines is the only good thing worth watching in this depressing movie. Rated R. 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.
SCHOOL DAZE -- 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.
SHOOT TO KILL -- 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. 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.