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GREAT BALLS OF FIRE - The story of rock'n'roll star Jerry Lee Lewis, including his relationship with his evangelical cousin, Jimmy Swaggart, and his marriage to a 13-year-old bride. Events are sanitized and sweetened, but the yarn has bursts of anarchic energy, and Dennis Quaid gives a delirious performance that suits the occasion nicely. Directed by Jim McBride. (Rated PG-13) IMITATION OF LIFE - Reissue of the 1959 masterpiece by Douglas Sirk, which must be one of the most emotionally overwhelming Hollywood films ever made. The plot is pure soap opera: Lana Turner plays an aspiring actress; Juanita Moore plays her black housekeeper; Sandra Dee and Susan Kohner play their troubled daughters. Sirk stretches the melodramatic story conventions far past their breaking point, though, turning what first appears to be trite and contrived into an unsparing exploration of mid-century social and family strife. Add an eloquent camera style and a rich color scheme, and you have a supremely Sirkian experience - a three-handkerchief ``weepie'' that energetically subverts its own dubious genre. (Not rated)

LICENCE TO KILL - James Bond chases an evil drug lord through Central America in his latest adventure, which is slickly filmed but doggedly violent and sadly xenophobic. As the hero, Timothy Dalton is more expressive in mood and less wooden in appearance than in his earlier Bond excursion. John Glen directed. (Rated PG-13)

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TOUTE UNE NUIT - Lovers of all kinds are the focus of this 1982 tone poem by the brilliant Belgian director Chantal Akerman, who gives us bittersweet glimpses of their emotional ups and downs over the course of a single night. Gently filmed, subtly acted, richly atmospheric. (Not rated)

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