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ON THE SCREEN

NEW FILMS FRIDAY

IN CUSTODY - Ismail Merchant (the producer half of Merchant-Ivory) takes over the directing reins for this little drama, a fable about a journalist who tracks down a poet, hoping to help him preserve the rapidly vanishing Urdu language. In Hindi and Urdu, with English subtitles. Reviewed in this section today. PG (vulgarity). (Exclusive, Tower.)

SEX AND ZEN - A comedy based on a 400-year-old erotic novel, "The Carnal Prayer Mat," about a married man who has affairs with other men's wives. Not rated, probable NC-17 (sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity, violence). (Exclusive, Tower.)

CONTINUING FILMS

ANDRE - This true story, set in 1962, tells of a Maine family that nursed a baby seal to health, taught it tricks and then sent it to the Boston Aquarium in preparation for being set free. But the seal escaped, swam to Maine and returned to his "family." A sort of "Free Willy," seal-style. Keith Carradine stars. PG (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Century, Cottonwood, Gateway, Plaza 5400, Sandy 9.)

ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD - * * 1/2 - Fantasy-comedy about an 11-year-old foster boy whose prayers cause angels to begin helping out his favorite baseball team, the California Angels, in the pennant race. Good performances (especially by Danny Glover, Christopher Lloyd, Tony Danza and Brenda Fricker) and some razzle-dazzle special effects help this otherwise tepid, overly sentimental yarn. PG (violence, vulgarity). (Broadway Centre, Cinemas 5, Murray; Olympus, with "In the Army Now"; South Towne.) (July 15, 1994)

BABY'S DAY OUT - * 1/2 - John Hughes (the "Home Alone" pictures, "Dennis the Menace") concocted this comedy about a baby who finds himself in perilous, cartoon-style situations as he crawls through Chicago's streets . . . pursued by dumb crooks, of course. Dumb, violent slapstick comedy that may please very young children. PG (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Kaysville, Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (July 1, 1994)

BARAKA - * * * 1/2 - Knockout cousin to "Koyaanisqatsi" (on which director Ron Fricke was cinematographer), a series of images - including a number of religious rituals - superbly shot in 24 countries. No narration, no story - just a mesmerizing world tour with a message about our relationship to the earth. Not rated, probable PG (disturbing imagery, nudity). (Tower.) (Feb. 4, 1994)

BARCELONA - Independent filmmaker Whit Stillman follows up his Sundance Film Festival hit, "Metropolitan," with another talky but funny view of yuppie angst. Films like this have rightly earned Stillman the title of moviedom's WASP Woody Allen. PG-13 (sex, profanity, vulgarity). (Exclusively at the Broadway Centre.)

BEVERLY HILLS COP III - * * 1/2 - Funny but overly violent and profane Eddie Murphy comedy, with Detroit cop Axel Foley seeking revenge on a killer in a Southern California amusement park, clearly modeled after Disneyland. The gags about the park are hilarious and Eddie Murphy is back in peak form, but the story is ridiculous and the stunts borrow too much from Indiana Jones and James Bond. R (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity, partial nudity). (Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (May 20, 1994)

BLACK BEAUTY - * * * - This lovely new film is by far the best screen adaptation yet of the classic story of a horse born in late 19th century England, finding as he is passed from owner to owner that his lot in life is entirely dependent on humans. Beautifully realized by screenwriter Caroline Thompson (last year's "The Secret Garden"), who also makes a most satisfying directing debut. G. (Cinemas 5, with "I Love Trouble"; Family Center; Sandy Starships, with "The Flintstones"; Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (July 29, 1994)

BLANKMAN - Damon Wayans ("The Last Boy Scout," TV's "In Living Color") wrote, co-produced and stars in this superhero farce about a mild-mannered eccentric inventor who uses homemade gizmos to fight crime in his neighborhood. David Alan Grier and Robin Givens co-star. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity, sex). (Trolley Square.)

CAMP NOWHERE - A summer camp comedy with a twist - the adolescents organize their own camp, letting chaotic freedom reign, unbeknownst to their parents, of course, who think there are counselors there to keep things under control. Christopher Lloyd stars. PG (profanity, vulgarity, comic violence). (Century, Creekside, Plaza 5400; Queen, with "In the Army Now"; Redwood, with "The Lion King"; Reel, Sandy Movies 9, Trolley Corners.)

CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER - * * * 1/2 - Harrison Ford is terrific in this sequel to "Patriot Games" (which was a sequel to "The Hunt for Red October"), reprising his role as CIA agent Jack Ryan. This time, he travels to South America to expose a drug cartel that has a link to the U.S. presidency. A bit too "Indiana Jones"-ish toward the end but quite thrilling and very well directed (by Philip Noyce, of "Patriot Games"). PG-13 (violence, profanity). (Century, Cottonwood, Gateway, Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Forrest Gump"; Reel, Sandy 9.) (Aug. 3, 1994)

THE CLIENT - * * 1/2 - A young boy witnesses a suicide by a mob-related lawyer and finds himself in a tug-of-war between mobsters and the FBI in this adaptation of John Grisham's best-selling novel. Young Brad Renfro, who plays the central character, isn't much of an actor, but Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones are magnificent and make it well worth seeing. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity, drugs). (Broadway, Century, Creekside, Gateway, Midvalley, South Towne.) (July 20, 1994)

THE COLOR OF NIGHT - Bruce Willis is a psychiatrist who becomes romantically involved with a patient (Jane march), while worrying about the murderous tendencies of another. Ruben Blades and Lesley Ann Warren co-star. Initially rated NC-17 for sex before being toned down to receive an R. R (violence, sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity). (Creekside, Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "True Lies"; South Towne, Trolley Corners.)

DO NOT DISTURB - * * 1/2 - Doris Day and Rod Taylor star in this thin but enjoyable farce, which has them being transplanted to England, settling in the suburbs and meeting all sorts of eccentrics, including a Frenchman (Sergio Fantoni, in a funny performance), whom Day uses to make Taylor jealous. In color; not on video. Made before ratings (1965), probable G. (Avalon, with "Mr. Scoutmaster.")

EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN - * * * - Sweet slice-of-life comedy-drama about a widowed chef and his three disparate daughters who live at home because they think their father can't get along without them. Little do they know . . . . Director Ang Lee (the Oscar-nominated "The Wedding Banquet") brings the various storylines together beautifully and the performances are superb in this witty and warm film. In Chinese, with English subtitles. Not rated, probable PG-13 (sex, profanity). (Exclusive, Broadway.) (Aug. 19, 1994)

THE FLINTSTONES - * * - A great cast and terrific sets and special effects make for the most literal adaptation of a cartoon since "Popeye," with John Goodman as Fred, Elizabeth Perkins as Wilma, Rick Moranis as Barney and Rosie O'Donnell as Betty - with Elizabeth Taylor as Fred's mother-in-law. But it's basically a one-joke movie and wears out its welcome by the halfway mark. PG (vulgarity, one profanity). (Kaysville; Sandy Starships, with "Black Beauty"; Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (May 27, 1994)

FORREST GUMP - * * * 1/2 - Tom Hanks gives a brilliant performance in this technically dazzling, episodic look at three decades in the life of a slow-witted man who inadvertently makes history and subtly affects the lives of those he encounters. Directed by Robert Zemeckis ("Who Framed Roger Rabbit," the "Back to the Future" films), this is an ambitious, sprawling comedy-drama with plenty to say and boasts some huge set-pieces, but is at its best during quiet, reflective moments. Hanks should have a lock on another Oscar nomination. PG-13 (violence, sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity, drugs). (Century, Cottonwood, Flick, Gateway, Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Clear and Present Danger"; Reel, Sandy 9.) (July 6, 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") is hysterical as a novice priest. R (profanity, sex, vulgarity). (Sugarhouse.) (April 8, 1994)

FRITZ THE CAT - Ralph Bakshi's notorious 1972 X-rated animated feature, based loosely on Robert Crumb's underground comic book character. About as far removed from Disney as possible. Episodic plot follows the '60s "mind-expanding" exploits of a college age cat in New York. X (violence, sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity, drugs). (Tower.)

I LOVE TROUBLE - * * 1/2 - Two sparring reporters (Julia Roberts, Nick Nolte) from competing Chicago newspapers investigate the same story, becoming targets of gun-toting bad guys. A comedy-thriller that starts off well, giving Roberts a terrific opportunity to show off her comic skills but which falls apart when it veers into "Lethal Weapon" territory. PG (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Cinemas 5, with "Black Beauty"; Kaysville, Sandy Starships, Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (June 29, 1994)

IN THE ARMY NOW - * 1/2 - Lethargic, silly, overly familiar military farce that steals liberally from "Stripes," "Spies Like Us" and uncountable other service comedies, with ("Son-in-Law," "Encino Man") joining the Army Reserves and finding himself called up for a conflict in Chad. PG (violence, sex, profanity, vulgarity). (Century, Cinemas 5, flick; Olympus, with "Angels in the Outfield"; Queen, with "Camp Nowhere"; Valley-Vu, with "Jurassic Park.") (Aug. 12, 1994)

IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU - * * * - Funny, warm and surprisingly effective old-fashioned, low-key screwball comedy about a good-natured cop (Nicolas Cage) who tips an unhappy waitress (Bridget Fonda) with the promise of half his lottery ticket - then wins $4 million. The phrase "Capraesque" is overworked, but this one is truly in the spirit of Frank Capra's best work. The hilariously hyper Rosie Perez co-stars. PG (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Broadway, Century, Holladay, Midvalley; Redwood, with "Wagons East!"; South Towne, Trolley North.) (July 29, 1994)

JURASSIC PARK - * * * 1/2 - Eye-popping special effects and Steven Spielberg's skills as a horror director ("Jaws") combine for a thrill-a-minute roller-coaster ride. Adapting Michael Crichton's best seller about genetically engineered dinosaurs running amok on an island theme park, the film is a bit short on character development - but if you'll settle for action, this one certainly delivers the goods. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Cinemas 5, Olympus, South Towne, Trolley Square; Valley-Vu, with "In the Army Now.") (June 11, 1993)

LASSIE - * * - OK kids film, an update of the classic series about a collie who is smarter than his masters - and who proves it by repeatedly rescuing them. This time Lassie befriends an inner-city troubled youth who is transplanted to the country and teaches his family to herd sheep. PG (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Cinemas 5, Murray.) (July 22, 1994)

THE LION KING - * * * 1/2 - Disney's 32nd animated feature is loaded with dazzling artistry as it relates a story loosely based on "Hamlet," with a lion prince in Africa inheriting the throne only to be deceived and banished by his evil uncle, who then takes over the kingdom. Top-flight voice talent includes Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Matthew Broderick, Moira Kelly, Robert Guillaume, Rowan Atkinson, Madge Sinclair, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin. Story, characters and songs not quite up to "Beauty and the Beast" or "Aladdin," but it's still wonderful fun. G. (Gateway, Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Camp Nowhere"; Reel, Sandy Movies 9, Trolley Square, Villa.) (June 24, 1994)

THE LITTLE RASCALS - * * - So-so feature-length adaptation of the 60-year-old short films by Hal Roach, modernized and updated (sort of) by Penelope Spheeris ("The Beverly Hillbillies"). Is this nostalgia or kiddie fare? It's hard to tell. Look-alikes impersonate Spanky, Alfalfa, Darla, Stymie, etc. - and some are better than others. But it's all rather forced and artificial, with a surprising number of recycled gags. Star cameos include Whoopi Goldberg, Mel Brooks, Donald Trump, Daryl Hannah, etc. PG (mild vulgarity, comic violence). (Holladay Center, Midvalley; Redwood, with "The Mask"; South Towne, Trolley North, Trolley Square.) (Aug. 5, 1994)

THE MASK - * * * - The summer's wildest movie has wacky Jim Carrey ("Ace Ventura, Pet Detective") as a mild-mannered bank clerk who dons a mysterious mask and becomes a green-faced superhero who is part Tasmanian Devil, part Bugs Bunny. Special-effects-driven comedy has some hilarious computer animation but Carrey's performance is what makes it click. His dog Milo is also hysterical. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, profanity). (Century, Cottonwood, Crossroads; Redwood, with "The Little Rascals"; South Towne, Trolley North.) (July 29, 1994)

MAVERICK - * * * - Loud, bombastic but highly entertaining adaptation of the beloved '50s TV series, with Mel Gibson in the title role as the Old West rambling gambler and Jodie Foster as a con artist with whom he locks horns. The original TV Maverick, James Garner, is along as well, playing a U.S. marshal. Overblown but funny and gorgeously photographed (by Vilmos Zsigmond), especially the Lake Powell scenes. PG (violence, profanity, sex). (Family Center, Kaysville, Sandcastle, Sandy Starships, Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (May 20, 1994)

MILK MONEY - A coming-of-age comedy about a 12-year-old boy who travels into the big city with his buddies, spots a streetwise woman (Melanie Griffith) and decides she'd be perfect for his widowed father (Ed Harris). Malcolm McDowell co-stars. PG-13 (sex, profanity, vulgarity). (Century, Creekside, Gateway, Plaza 5400, Reel, Sandy 9.)

MR. SCOUTMASTER - * * * - Clifton Webb stars as a TV celebrity who hates children, but is prodded into leading a troop of boisterous Boy Scouts, including loveable little George "Foghorn" Winslow. A campout in the mountains has predictably disastrous results. In black-and-white; not on video. Made before ratings (1953), probable G. (Avalon, with "Do Not Disturb.")

NATURAL BORN KILLERS - Oliver Stone leaves Vietnam and JFK behind for awhile to focus his talents on this dark, graphic satire about tabloid television and celebrity criminals. Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Jack Palance, Robert Downey Jr. and Tommy Lee Jones star; co-written by Quentin Tarantino ("Reservoir Dogs"). R (violence, gore, sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity). (Century, Crossroads, Holladay, Midvalley; Redwood, with "On Deadly Ground"; Sandy Movies 9.)

NORTH - * * 1/2 - Goofy skit comedy runs out of steam and turns dark after a hilarious first half, telling the story of the title character (Elijah Wood), a model child, abandoning his self-absorbed yuppie parents and becoming a free agent to travel the world in search of more worthy folks. Guest stars include Bruce Willis, Dan Aykroyd, Reba McEntire, Kathy Bates and Graham Greene. PG (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Family Center, Kaysville, Sandcastle, Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (July 22, 1994)

POLICE STORY III: SUPERCOP - Jackie Chan is back in this action-driven Hong Kong comic thriller, one of his most popular features in China, as a cop who goes undercover to infiltrate a drug ring. The climax is a harrowing 20-minute chase sequence that features the athletic Chan dangling from a helicopter and fighting atop a speeding freight train. In Chinese, with English subtitles. Not rated, probable R (violence, profanity). (Exclusive, Tower.)

THE SHADOW - * * 1/2 - Entertaining but overly violent and underdeveloped fantasy-thriller, owing more to "Batman" and "Darkman" than its radio/pulp novel origins. The plot has the eerie crimefighter battling an evil descendant of Genghis Khan (John Lone). Good support from Penelope Ann Miller, Jonathan Winters, Peter Boyle and Ian McKellen, but Tim Curry steals the show as an unctuous, giggling bad guy. PG-13 (violence, profanity). (Sugarhouse.) (July 1, 1994)

SPEED - * * * - Brainless but thrilling, this is indeed "Die Hard" on a bus . . . and on a high-rise elevator . . . and on a speeding underground train. Keanu Reeves is a Los Angeles SWAT cop out to save the passengers of these various modes of transportation after mad bomber Dennis Hopper rigs them with deadly explosives. A terrific directing debut by cinematographer Jan De Bont ("Die Hard," "The Hunt for Red October"). R (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity). (Family Center, Sandy Starships, Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (June 10, 1994)

TRUE LIES - * * * 1/2 - Overblown and somewhat coarse (and even a little mean-spirited), this James Cameron film is nonetheless frequently hilarious and loaded with stunts that will knock your socks off. Arnold Schwarzenegger does James Bond crossed with Clark Kent, as a high-tech spy who has domestic problems and inadvertently involves his wife (Jamie Lee Curtis) in his latest mission. A wild ride all the way. Tom Arnold, Bill Paxton, Tia Carrere and Charlton Heston co-star. R (violence, profanity). (Holladay, Midvalley; Redwood, with "The Color of Night"; South Towne, Trolley Corners, Trolley North.) (July 15, 1994)

WAGONS EAST! - This is the Western comedy that John Candy was filming when he died earlier this year. He plays a drunken wagonmaster who leads a group of disillusioned settlers back to their Eastern homes. Richard Lewis co-stars. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, violence). (Century, Crossroads, Gateway, Holladay Center, Midvalley; Redwood, with "It Could Happen to You"; Reel, Sandy Movies 9.)

THE WEDDING GIFT - * * * - Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent in a made-for-British-television movie about one woman's mysterious, crippling illness. (Exclusively, Broadway Centre.)

WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN - * * * - Despite the expected cliches that are impossible to avoid in one more movie about alcoholism, Meg Ryan's astonishing performance is well worth the ticket price. Andy Garcia is also excellent as her husband, who helps her come out of her alcoholic stupor but then doesn't know how to be supportive during her rehabilitation. Unique and ambitious in its efforts to show how alcoholism affects other family members. R (profanity, vulgarity, sex, violence). (Kaysville.) (May 13, 1994)

WOLF - * * * - Intelligent, lushly romantic psychological thriller with werewolf trappings is great until it finally caves into the genre conventions. Still, Jack Nicholson is so good as a Manhattan book editor bitten by a werewolf and watching himself gradually change, that even the ending is palatable. Great support from Michelle Pfeiffer, James Spader, Kate Nelligan and Christopher Plummer. R (violence, profanity, vulgarity, sex). (Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (June 17, 1994)

WYATT EARP - * * - Ambitious but deadly dull epic biography of the famed Old West marshal/outlaw takes him from his youth through his old age. Kevin Costner is stoic and stiff as Earp, with Dennis Quaid stealing his scenes as sickly Doc Holliday. The supporting cast has a lot of familiar faces but is woefully underdeloped. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity, sex, partial nudity). (Family Center.) (June 24, 1994)