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A weekly update of film releases

POISON IVY - A precocious high-school student makes friends with a shy classmate from a troubled family, and causes increasing amounts of havoc within her wealthy but unstable household. The story gets trashier and trashier as it goes along, but it's stylishly directed by Katt Shea Ruben, and the performances have a sense of conviction despite the silliness of their surroundings. (Rated R) LOVERS - An indecisive young man, his straight-laced fiancee, and his voracious landlady are the central characters of this sexually explicit melodrama about love, crime, and death in Spain during the mid-1950s. Based on an actual homicide case, the story is a chilling parable of repression and guilt in the oppressive social atmosphere fostered by the Franco regime. Vicente Aranda directed the Spanish production, with moody cinematography by Jose Luis Alcaine. (Not rated) THE SEVENTH CONTINENT - Trapped in the deadening details of a painfully ordinary life, a middle-class Austrian family dreams of travel and adventure, but finds relief from its everyday routines only in a climactic burst of irrational yet possibly liberating destructiveness. Directed by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, who handles the film's transition from realism to surrealism with skill and subtlety. (Not rated)

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