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ON THE SCREEN

NEW FILMS FRIDAY

BEING HUMAN - Robin Williams plays five different characters named Hector in five different periods of history in this whimsical film from Scottish writer-director Bill Forsyth ("Local Hero"). John Turturro co-stars in one segment. Reviewed in this section today. PG-13 (violence, sex, profanity, vulgarity). (Exclusive, Crossroads.)CLEAN SLATE - Dana Carvey makes his bid for movie stardom in this farce about a Venice, Calif., detective who wakes up each morning with a complete loss of memory, which looks in the trailer (theatrical preview) suspiciously like a variation on "Groundhog Day." Valeria Golino (the "Hot Shots" movies) co-stars. Reviewed in this section today. PG-13 (violence, sex, profanity, vulgarity, brief partial nudity). (Century, Cottonwood, Gateway, Midvalley; Redwood, with "Undercover Blues"; South Towne, Trolley Corners.)

THE SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA - This low-key drama was the first Vietnamese film to be nominated for an Oscar as best foreign-language picture, a gentle little tale of a servant girl who comes to live in a wealthy home in Saigon during the 1950s. Reviewed in this section today. In Vietnamese, with English subtitles. Not rated, probable PG (mild vulgarity). (Exclusive, Tower.)

3 NINJAS KICK BACK - This sequel to "The Three Ninjas" has the young karate kicking trio traveling to Japan, where Grandpa Mori (Victor Wong) is to present a ceremonial dagger to the winner of a ninja tournament. To be reviewed next week. PG (violence). (Century, Gateway, Holladay, Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Cops and Robbersons"; Reel, South Towne, Trolley Square.)

SPECIAL PRESENTATION

2ND ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL - In addition to "The Scent of Green Papaya," films to be shown during the next week at the Tower Theater and the Salt Lake Community College are "Yellow Earth" (China), "The Music Teacher" (French), "Lonely Woman Seeking Lifelong Companion" (Russian), "Echoes of a Somber Empire" (French), "Highway Patrolman" (Mexican), "Deadly Currents," "Open Doors" (Italian), "Why Has Bodhi Dharma Left for the East" (Korean) and "A Scene at the Sea" (Japanese). Festival schedules may be obtained at the Tower or the college.

MIDNIGHT MOVIE THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW - * * 1/2 - Popular rock opera about transvestites from outer space is ludicrous but surprisingly entertaining much of the way. The real show, however, is in the audience - wear a raincoat or risk a large dry-cleaning bill. R (violence, sex, profanity). (Tower, 11:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday) (July 4, 1980)

CONTINUING FILMS

ACE VENTURA, PET DETECTIVE - turkey - Over-the-top Jim Carrey stars in this dreadful slapstick farce as the title character, tracking down the kidnapped Miami Dolphins mascot and quarterback Dan Marino prior to the Super Bowl. This one is in Pee-wee Herman-Ernest P. Worrell territory, except that it's far too vulgar for children. PG-13 (violence, sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity). (Cinemas 5, Family Center; Murray, with "Naked Gun 331/3: The Final Insult"; Redwood, with "Major League II"; Sandy Starships, Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (Feb. 4, 1994) THE AIR UP THERE - * * - Disney basketball comedy, along the lines of "Cool Runnings" and "The Mighty Ducks," with Kevin Bacon as a down-on-his luck assistant coach who travels to Africa after spotting a promising player in documentary footage, unaware that his prospect is a chief's son and the tribe is in the middle of a land dispute. By-the-numbers stuff. PG (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Kaysville, Sandcastle, Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (Jan. 7, 1994)

BAD GIRLS - * * - OK Western with a feminist twist, as four prostitutes (Madeleine Stowe, Andie MacDowell, Mary Stuart Masterson, Drew Barrymore) band together to make a new life in the Northwest, only to find their plans thwarted by Stowe's old trouble-making gang. Everyone is fine except Barrymore, but the script offers up one Western cliche after another without any wit or style - just women toting six-guns instead of men. R (violence, profanity, vulgarity, sex, brief partial nudity). (Century, Cottonwood, Crossroads, Gateway, Midvalley; Redwood, with "Threesome"; Reel, South Towne.) (April 22, 1994)

BLANK CHECK - turkey - A young boy is mistakenly given a million dollars in stolen loot and goes on a wild spending spree in this hopeless blend of the MTV and QVC cable channels, as well as "Home Alone" and "Brewster's Millions." An atrocious, unfunny exercise in crass moviemaking. PG (violence, vulgarity). (Kaysville, Sandy Starships, Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (Feb. 11, 1994)

BRAINSCAN - turkey - Dumb horror-satire on video games with Edward Furlong ("Terminator 2," "A Home of Our Own") as a high school latchkey kid who gets involved with the ultimate interactive game, which leads the player through a grisley murder. Then, of course, he discovers that it's more than just a game. There's also The Trickster, a Freddy Krueger wannabe. R (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity, nudity, sex). (Century, with "Cops and Robbersons.") (April 22, 1994)

THE CHASE - turkey - Dreadful chase comedy with Charlie Sheen as a convicted criminal on the lam, who takes spoiled rich kid Kristy Swanson hostage and steals her BMW, with the cops in hot pursuit. Dumb, vulgar and not funny. PG-13 (violence, sex, profanity). (Redwood, with "PCU.") (March 4, 1994)

CHASERS - turkey - Dumb comedy, a gender variation on "The Last Detail," with crusty veteran Tom Berenger and hotshot sailor William McNamara (doing a Tom Cruise imitation) as Navy shore patrolmen assigned to transport a sexy female prisoner (Erika Eleniak, of "Under Siege" and "The Beverly Hillbillies"). Poorly directed by Dennis Hopper, who has a cameo. R (violence, sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity). (Sandy 9.) (April 27, 1994)

CLIFFORD - turkey - Unbelievably awful, laughless comedy with Martin Short as a devilish 10-year-old boy, though he plays it like an idiot adult masquerading as a child. His bachelor uncle (Charles Grodin) babysits to show his reluctant fiance (Mary Steenburgen) he could be a family man. But he finds himself terrorized by the "Bad Seed" boy, whose pranks include a phony bomb threat. PG (profanity, vulgarity, violence). (South Towne.) (April 8, 1994)

COPS AND ROBBERSONS - * 1/2 - Stupid Chevy Chase farce about a mild-mannered suburbanite who dreams of being a TV cop, and then his suburban home becomes a stakeout point for tough cop Jack Palance. Chase does an even dumber spin on his "National Lampoon's Vacation" character, and Dianne Wiest, as his wife, is wasted. Palance does manage a couple of chuckles through sheer hamminess. PG (violence, nudity, profanity, vulgarity). (Century, with "Brainscan"; Cinemas 5, Holladay; Redwood, with "3 Ninjas Kick Back"; Sandy 9, Trolley North.) (April 17, 1994)

D2: THE MIGHTY DUCKS - * 1/2 - Silly sequel/remake of "The Mighty Ducks," with Emilio Estevez and his underdog Minnesota peewee hockey team joining the Junior Goodwill Games in Los Angeles. Strictly for kids. PG (violence, vulgarity). (Century, Flick, Olympus Starships, Plaza 5400, Reel, Sandy 9; Valley Vu, with "8 Seconds.") (March 25, 1994)

8 SECONDS - * * * - Luke Perry (of TV's "Beverly Hills 90210") is very good in this sentimental, true story of rodeo bull-rider Lane Frost, who was killed at age 25 after becoming the world champion. The story is a bit strained in places but the rodeo footage is exciting and the supporting cast is excellent. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, sex, violence). (Cinemas 5, South Towne, Trolley North; Valley Vu, with "D2: The Mighty Ducks.") (Feb. 25, 1994)

THE FAVOR - * * 1/2 - Splendid comic performances from a bright cast - Harley Jane Kozak, Bill Pullman, Elizabeth McGovern, Brad Pitt - highlight this bit of fluff about a happy homemaker who is fantasizing about her old boyfriend as their 15th high school reunion looms. So, she asks her best friend to look him up, have an affair and tell her all about it - hoping it will cause the fantasies to disappear. Some warm and funny stuff, though it runs out of steam long before it's over. R (sex, profanity, vulgarity, violence, nude paintings). (Broadway, Century, Cottonwood, Midvalley, South Towne, Trolley North.) (April 29, 1994)

FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL - * * * - Delightful, frequently hilarious English romantic comedy, a genuine throwback to screwball farces of old (despite too much R-rated language), with charming, womanizing Hugh Grant falling for American Andie MacDowell as they bump into each other at the title affairs. Rowan Atkinson (TV's "Mr. Bean" and "The Black Adder") has a hysterical supporting role as a novice priest. R (profanity, sex, vulgarity). (Century, Creekside, Midvalley, Sandy 9, Trolley Corners, Trolley Square.) (April 8, 1994)

GRUMPY OLD MEN - * * * 1/2 - This hilarious farce (though it is quite raunchy in places) has Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau as bickering curmudgeons living next door to each other in a Minnesota suburb. They find something new to fight about when alluring, eccentric Ann-Margret moves in across the street. Riotous, very well cast - but decidedly adult. (And don't leave before the credits are completely over.) PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, sex, comic violence). (Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (Dec. 24, 1993)

HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN'S THUMBELINA - * * * - Animator Don Bluth ("The Land Before Time," "An American Tail") is back in form with this fantasy about a tiny young woman who falls in love with the prince of the fairies but finds herself spirited away by an amorous toad and a dancing beetle. Not likely to cross over to adult audiences, a la "Aladdin," but good fun for kids. G. (Midvalley, South Towne.) (March 31, 1994)

THE HUDSUCKER PROXY - * * * 1/2 - Eccentric, twisted and funny old-fashioned comedy patterned after the social farces of of the '30s, with the offbeat sensibilities of the filmmaking Coen Brothers ("Raising Arizona," "Barton Fink"). Tim Robbins is a rube in 1950s Manhattan who lands a mailroom clerk job at Hudsucker Industries and immediately finds himself promoted to president, thanks to the evil machinations of Paul Newman. Great performances; eye-popping set design. PG (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Broadway, South Towne.) (April 8, 1994)

IRON WILL - * * * - Despite some lapses (- an over-the-top villain, a predictable story - this yarn about a young man entering a 500-mile dogsled race in 1917 Canada is quite entertaining. Mackenzie Astin stars but Kevin Spacey, as a manipulative newspaperman, steals the show. PG (violence, mild profanity and vulgarity). (Kaysville.) (Jan. 14, 1994)

LIGHTNING JACK - * * - Disappointing Paul Hogan vehicle - he stars in, wrote and co-produced this cowpoke comedy, best described as " `Crocodile' Dundee Goes West." Hogan is a bungling outlaw with a fast gun, and his laconic screen persona still works. Cuba Gooding Jr., as his mute sidekick, is even better, often stealing the show. But the film is too lethargic and settles for recycled gags. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity, sex, nude paintings). (Family Center, Kaysville, Sandy Starships, Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (March 11, 1994)

MAJOR LEAGUE II - * * - Some scattered laughs help but this sequel is really just a retread of the first film. The Cleveland Indians once again find themselves in the cellar and then unexpectedly climb back to the top. Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Corbin Bernsen and Bob Uecker return, with Omar Epps taking over the Wesley Snipes' old role. PG (profanity, violence). (Olympus Starships, Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective"; Sandy 9.) (March 31, 1994)

MRS. DOUBTFIRE - * * 1/2 - When it's funny, this Robin Williams vehicle is very funny. But it's also overly sentimental, far too long (more than 2 hours) and blatantly steals from "Tootsie." Successful San Francisco designer Sally Field divorces out-of-work actor Williams, so he masquerades as an elderly woman and lands the job of housekeeper in his own home. Uneven, but there are some hilarious moments. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, violence). (Family Center, Sandy Starships, Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (Nov. 25, 1993)

MONKEY TROUBLE - * 1/2 - Boring children's comedy about a young girl befriended by a trained monkey, unaware that the little creature is a thief and pickpocket. Thora Birch ("Patriot Games," "All I Want for Christmas") stars, with Mimi Rogers as her mother and Harvey Kietel, in a horrid stereotype, as the Gypsy who trained the monkey. PG (violence, a couple of mild profanities). (Cinemas 5.) (March 18, 1994)

MY FATHER THE HERO - * 1/2 - Appallingly tasteless teen farce with French superstar Gerard Depardieu as a befuddled father who takes his neglected 14-year-old daughter on vacation in the tropics, where she concocts a wild story about him being her lover, hoping to impress a 17-year-old boy. Depardieu manages a few chuckles, but the film is obnoxious and the camera leers at the girl in her thong bikini. PG (violence, profanity, sex, partial nudity). (Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (Feb. 10, 1994)

NAKED GUN 331/3: THE FINAL INSULT - * * - Some hilarious scenes help (the "Untouchables" opening, the Oscar finale) but this third outing with Leslie Nielsen as Lt. Frank Drebin of Police Squad is largely dull and offensive (especially a sperm bank sequence, which goes on forever). This time he comes out of retirement to prevent a bombing attack at the Academy Awards by a terrorist assassin (Fred Ward). PG-13 (violence, sex, vulgarity, profanity). (Cinemas 5; Murray, with "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.") (March 18, 1994)

NO ESCAPE - * * - Some good action sequences bolster this otherwise routine sci-fi thriller that looks a bit too much like the "Mad Max" movies, with Ray Liotta as a convicted murderer sentenced to the most secure prison in the world, only to discover that the warden places his hardest cases on an illegal island penal colony where they must fend for themselves against savages who have been there for years. R (violence, profanity). (Broadway, Creekside, Gateway, Midvalley; Redwood, with "Surviving the Game"; Reel, South Towne.) (May 4, 1994)

ON DEADLY GROUND - turkey - Atrocious big-budget directing debut by Steven Seagal casts him as an environmentally correct oil rigger out to stop corrupt oil tycoon Michael Caine from despoiling Alaska . . . though Seagal destroys a lot of the tundra with explosive devices along the way. Idiotic and unintentionally funny. R (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity, nudity). (Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (Feb. 20, 1994)

PCU - * 1/2 - This attempt to update "Animal House" for the '90s has a few chuckles, but is generally a surprisingly soft college campus farce about members of an unkempt dorm on campus at fictional Port Chester University who throw a party to save their building. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, violence, sex). (Century, Holladay, Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "The Chase"; Sandy 9, Trolley North, Trolley Square.) (May 5, 1994)

THE PAPER - * * * 1/2 - Highly entertaining comedy-melodrama in the tradition of rough-and-tumble newspaper flicks from director Ron Howard ("Splash," "Parenthood"), whose high-powered ensemble cast includes Michael Keaton, Glenn Close, Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid and Marisa Tomei. The focus is 24 hours in the life of a New York tabloid, in particular Keaton and Quaid's scramble to beat the competition with a hot story. Great fun. R (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Sandy 9, with "Philadelphia"; Trolley Square.) (March 25, 1994)

THE PELICAN BRIEF - * * - Extremely disappointing adaptation of John Grisham's popular novel about two U.S. Supreme Court justices being assassinated and the young law student (Julia Roberts) who comes up with a theory about who may have done it and why. But when it threatens to entangle the White House, she finds herself on the run. Roberts and Denzel Washington are too low-key and the film is sluggish and slow - and nearly 21/2 hours long. PG-13 (violence, profanity, sex). (Kaysville.) (Dec. 17, 1993)

PHILADELPHIA - * * * - Tom Hanks won an Oscar for his role here as an in-the-closet gay lawyer who develops AIDS. The story has him being fired by the law firm he works for, so he hires homophobic Denzel Washington to sue for discrimination. Washington is also superb, gradually changing as the film progresses, and in support, Mary Steenburgen and Jason Robards are also good. The final third, set in a courtroom, gets a bit preachy and routine but this is stirring stuff most of the way. PG-13 (profanity). (Sandy 9, with "The Paper"; Trolley Square.) (Jan. 14, 1994)

THE PIANO - * * - Though critics internationally fell all over themselves over this one, it failed to move me. In the 19th century a mute Scottish woman (Holly Hunter) travels to New Zealand with her 9-year-old daughter (Anna Paquin) and her prized piano for an arranged marriage with a man (Sam Neill) she's never met, where she is soon compromised by an eccentric Englishman (Harvey Keitel). Hunter is superb and there is some stunning visual composition but the characters and are quite cold. Hunter and Paquin both won Oscars, as did writer-director Jane Campion for her screenplay. R (violence, sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity). (South Towne.) (Nov. 19, 1993)

THE REMAINS OF THE DAY - * * * * - Superb, meticulously crafted look at social mores in pre-World War II England, as seen through the eyes of Anthony Hopkins, the head butler at an elaborate manor, and Emma Thompson, whom he hires as the housekeeper. Another stunning achievement from the Merchant-Ivory team ("Howards End," "A Room With a View"). PG (nothing offensive). (Avalon, with "Shadowlands.") (Nov. 5, 1993)

REALITY BITES - * * * - Charming, funny and witty twentysomething romantic comedy about finding yourself in the '90s, with Winona Ryder heading the ensemble cast as an aspiring documentary filmmaker who graduates as valedictorian of her class but can't get a job in her field. A bit whiny in places and runs out of steam before it's over, but there's a lot of fun along the way. Ethan Hawke and Ben Stiller (who also directed) co-star, with newcomer Jeaneane Garofalo stealing much of the show. PG-13 (sex, profanity, vulgarity, drugs). (Family Center, Sandcastle.) (Feb. 18, 1994)

SCHINDLER'S LIST - * * * * - Superlative moviemaking from Steven Spielberg, who dug deep into his soul - and finally won his Oscar - for this three-hour-plus, black-and-white epic true story. A stark look at the Holocaust through the eyes of a complex, decidedly unheroic German Nazi who ultimately saved more than 1,100 Jews from the death camps. Liam Neeson is superb in the title role, Ben Kingsley is very good as the Jewish accountant who becomes his conscience and Ralph Fiennes is chilling as the monstrous Nazi commandant whom Schindler manipulates. And in the end it is surprisingly uplifting. A dozen Oscar nominations, each well-deserved; winner of seven, including best picture and director (Spielberg). R (violence, sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity). (Broadway, Century, Holladay, Reel, South Towne.) (Jan. 7, 1994)

SERIAL MOM - * * - Kathleen Turner seems to be having the time of her life as a seemingly normal housewife and mother who is actually a deranged serial killer, and there are a few laughs here in this broad suburban satire. But writer-director John Waters goes to far with gore and gross-out gags. R (violence, gore, sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity, drugs). (Broadway, Holladay.) (April 22, 1994)

SHADOWLANDS - * * * 1/2 - Wonderful, low-key romantic melodrama, with director Richard Attenborough ("Gandhi," "Chaplin") toning down his usual excesses. Celebrated English author C.S. Lewis (Anthony Hopkins) finds his cloistered 1950s world at Oxford disrupted by a brassy New Yorker (Debra Winger) with whom he unexpectedly falls in love. What starts as comic turns tragic, however, as fate steps in. PG (nothing offensive). (Avalon, with "The Remains of the Day"; Kaysville, Sugarhouse.) (Jan. 7, 1994)

SURVIVING THE GAME - * * - Yet another variation on the oft-filmed "Most Dangerous Game," with a strong central performance byIce-T as a despondent homeless man who becomes the prey for a group of wealthy big-game hunters who want to track down and kill a human. Rutger Hauer, Gary Busey and F. Murray Abraham co-star as stereotyped hunters and once it gets going it's little more than a series of violent episodes. R (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity, drugs). (Holladay; Redwood, with "No Escape"; Sandy 9.) (May 4, 1994)

THREESOME - turkey - Piffle that purports to explore sexual politics but merely exploits them instead. Josh Charles and Stephen Baldwin are mismatched college roommates whose third roomie is a woman, Lara Flynn Boyle, thanks to a computer error. At first she balks at the prospect, but it isn't long before the title can be taken literally. R (sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity). (Broadway, Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Bad Girls"; Sandy 9.) (April 8, 1994)

TOMBSTONE - * * 1/2 - The first half of this violent retelling of the Wyatt Earp-Doc Holliday story is a pleasing view of the events leading up to the shootout at the O.K. Corral. But the second half becomes somber and gruesome, veering into revisionist "Unforgiven" territory. Kurt Russell is very good as Wyatt, and as a sickly, alcoholic Doc, Val Kilmer also fares well. But Dana Delany is woefully miscast as Wyatt's love interest. R (violence, profanity, vulgarity, sex, drugs, nude painting). (Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (Dec. 24, 1993)

UNDERCOVER BLUES - * * 1/2 - Kathleen Turner and Dennis Quaid have some real chemistry and, as a bungling street thief, Stanley Tucci offers some huge laughs in this spy comedy about secret agents who are married and on a maternity leave vacation in New Orleans. It's not much - and the body count is too high - but all in all a pleasant enough diversion. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity, sex). (Redwood, with "Clean Slate.") (Sept. 12, 1993)

WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE - * * * - Funny, sharp-eyed view of small-town Americana and family loyalty, with Johnny Depp in the title role as a young man unable to break free of inherited responsibilities. His anxieties only heighten when he falls in love with a stranded tourist (Juliette Lewis). Subplot with Mary Steenburgen as a frustrated housewife misfires but most of the way this is a real charmer. Leonardo DiCaprio (who was Oscar nominated as best supporting actor) steals the show with a complex performance as Depp's retarded brother. PG-13 (sex, vulgarity, profanity, violence). (Creekside.) (March 4, 1994)

WHITE FANG 2: MYTH OF THE WHITE WOLF - * * - This Disney family sequel looks more like "Dances With Wolves" crossed with "Indiana Jones" than "White Fang," with its story of a young gold miner being taken in by an Alaskan Indian tribe, which believes he is destined to end a famine. Strictly for small fry. PG (violence, gore, profanity). (Flick, Gateway, Plaza 5400, Reel, South Towne, Villa.) (April 15, 1994)

WITH HONORS - * * 1/2 - A homeless man (Joe Pesci) links up with a Harvard senior (Brendan Fraser), teaching him - and his roommates (Moria Kelly, Patrick Dempsey, Josh Hamilton) - the value of street smarts over academics. Predictable but enjoyable, until it bogs down in sentiment toward the end. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, veiled nudity, violence). (Century, Cottonwood, Crossroads, Gateway, Midvalley, Sandy 9.) (April 29, 1994)