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BUSTER - He's a likable guy, but he's also a petty crook. And he's involved in a big-time job that's out of his league. The early '60s is the time frame of this British comedy-drama, which has an amiably old-fashioned atmosphere in some ways. In the end, though, it's inescapably small-time itself. David Green was the director. (Rated R) DISTANT THUNDER - A young man struggles to find a meaningful relationship with his father, a troubled veteran of the Vietnam war. Ralph Macchio is appealing as the son, but John Lithgow just mopes around the screen. Directed by Rick Rosenthal from Robert Stitzel's uninspired screenplay. (Rated R) HANNA'S WAR - Hanna Senesh was a Hungarian Jew who pitted herself against the Nazis during World War II and eventually gave her life for her cause. The movie tries to be poignant and inspiring, and its real-life subject is so compelling that it almost succeeds at times. But it's so clumsily written and directed that its power drains away before your eyes. Directed by Menahem Golan. (Rated PG-13) OLIVER & COMPANY - A dazzling Disney cartoon, with laugh-out-loud dialogue and eye-popping animation. Loosely based on Dickens's great ``Oliver Twist,'' the story takes place in Manhattan and stars a gang of animated animals who recall their Dickensian models in only the most charming ways. There's also a pair of loudly hissable villains. Some moments are uncomfortably reminiscent of ``Lady and the Tramp'' and ``101 Dalmatians,'' but the movie seems fresh enough overall. Year after year, the Disney magic lives on. This one could become a classic. (Rated G) WE THE LIVING - Ayn Rand's novel tells the melodramatic but mildly engaging tale of a young Soviet woman caught between two men, a Communist and a dissident, in revolutionary Russia, which she hates even though it's her homeland. The film version was made illicitly in the early '40s by an Italian studio that hadn't obtained the literary rights. This prevented it from being distributed widely, and its fortunes grew still more dim when it was banned by the Mussolini government. Rand learned of its existence before her death and played a major part in rediscovering and restoring it. The movie turns out to be handsomely filmed, by director Goffredo Alessandrini, and acted with Hollywood-style panache by Alida Valli and Rossano Brazzi, among others. As in the novel, though, Rand's political agenda stomps over everything in its path, and the story itself is more corny than convincing. (Not rated) RATINGS: Films with ratings other than G may contain varying degrees of vulgar language, nudity, sex, and violence.

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