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A weekly update of film releases

DEFENSELESS - The sleaziness of the porn-movie business is the backdrop of this thriller about an attorney who fights violently with her lover, then discovers that he's been murdered and that his seemingly devoted wife has been charged with the crime. Directed by Martin Campbell, who mingles pure hokum with occasional moments of real suspense. Barbara Hershey is solid as the lawyer, and Mary Beth Hurt is close to brilliant as the accused wife. (Rated R)LYRICAL NITRATE - Billed as "an emotional view of cinema history," this compilation film brings together fragments of many ancient movies, shot between 1905 and 1915 on outmoded "nitrate" film stock, which had a uniquely crisp visual quality. Although this collection has been reproduced on present-day "safety stock" instead of genuine nitrate, it has a great deal of historical charm, and admirably preserves the color "tinting and toning" that was a significant part of silent-film aesthetics. (Not rated) THE 23RD INTERNATIONAL TOURNEE OF ANIMATION - An anthology of animations in many different styles, hailing from many different countries. The overall quality is very uneven, but animation stars like Bill Plympton and Bruno Bozzetto are represented, and at least one entry is downright excellent: "Slow Bob in the Lower Dimensions," by Henry Selick, a superhero adventure that's as weird as it is wacky. (Not rated)

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