Freeze Frames

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Freeze Frames: The Monitor Movie Guide

Here are the week's reviews of both the latest releases and current films, rated according to the key below ("o" for forget it). The capsule reviews are by Monitor film critic David Sterritt; the one liners from a panel of at lease three other Monitor reviewers. Movies containing violence (V), sexual situations (S), nudity (N), and profanity (P) are noted.

o Forget it

*Only if it's free

**Maybe a matinee

***Worth full price

****Wait in line

New Releases

A BOY CALLED HATE (R)

* He spends most of the movie running from the law after shooting a couple of people, and filmmaker Mitch Marcus sees him and his girlfriend as both criminals and victims of their awful backgrounds. Although the picture is capably acted and directed, the story is trite and the characters are all too familiar. Contains sex, foul language, and a considerable amount of violence. V S P

DRAGONHEART (PG-13)

** Dennis Quaid gets top billing as a medieval dragon slayer, but the main attraction is Draco himself, a nasty-looking critter who's really an overgrown Muppet with a friendly disposition. His abilities include fighting, flying, and synchronizing his lips with Sean Connery's off-screen voice. David Thewlis plays the villain, a dangerous despot whose survival is magically linked with Draco's life. Rob Cohen's movie has flashes of wit, but there's little substance to the story, and Draco's charms are surrounded by too much graphic violence. V P S

EDDIE (PG-13)

** An ordinary fan becomes coach of a pro basketball team and gets to whip the players into shape while saving the franchise from the machinations of its greedy owner. The comedy is silly and sometimes vulgar, but sports enthusiasts and Whoopi Goldberg aficionados should enjoy it. Directed by Steve Rash and colorfully filmed by Victor Kemper. Contains vulgar language and a brief sexual encounter. P S

Currently in Release

AUGUST (Not rated)

*** Anthony Hopkins makes his movie-directing debut with this adaptation of Chekhov's classic play "Uncle Vanya." He also plays the key role of a middle-aged man whose modest life on a country estate is disrupted by a visit from its absentee owner and his attractive American wife. While the film is more sturdy than inspired, good-looking cinematography and Hopkins's own music score provide an appealing background for sensitive performances by a well-chosen cast. P V

BARB WIRE (R)

o The heroine is as tough as her name, flashing gracefully arched fingernails as she twists the throttle on her mean-looking motorcycle in a future America turned inside-out by civil war. Some will find this campy fun. Others will wish Ms. Wire would go back to the comic books that spawned her. David Hogan directed the numbingly violent action. Pamela Anderson Lee and Temuera Morrison head the cast. S V N P

BOYS (PG-13)

*** Leisurely tale of the relationship between a troubled prep-school student and a somewhat mysterious young woman he rescues after a horseback-riding accident. Winona Ryder and Lucas Haas are quietly convincing as the main characters. Written and directed by Stacy Cochran, who has grown considerably as a filmmaker since her debut movie, the suburban satire "Her New Gun." S V P

BUTTERFLY KISS (Not rated)

* Amanda Plummer is even more weirded-out than usual as a serial killer wandering through England with her sadly befuddled girlfriend. Directed by Michael Winterbottom. Contains much explicit sex and violence. S N V P

COLD COMFORT FARM (PG)

**** A prim young Londoner takes up residence on her family's ancestral farm, inhabited by a conglomeration of oddballs and presided over by a cranky old matriarch who hasn't ventured from her bedroom in decades. John Schlesinger's rollicking version of Stella Gibbons's novel is acted with the highest of spirits by Kate Beckinsale, Joanna Lumley, Eileen Atkins, Ian McKellen, Freddie Jones, and many others. …