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A weekly update of film releases

CANDYMAN - This ambitious horror yarn begins with a provocative premise, as inner-city residents blame a series of housing-project murders on a monster who figures in local folk mythology. The movie loses complexity and interest when it literalizes its fantasies, however, becoming just another gory adventure. Bernard Rose directed from his own screenplay, based on a story by scare specialist Clive Barker, and Philip Glass composed the pulsing minimalist score, which effectively suits the mood of the tale's better moments. (Rated R) THE PUBLIC EYE - Joe Pesci is ideally cast as a hard-bitten photographer loosely based on the real-life journalist Weegee, but the screenplay makes disappointing use of him, dropping him into a banal 1940s mystery involving a glamorous woman and a hidden gas-rationing scandal. Barbara Hershey makes her usual strong impression, though, as the nightclub owner who needs our hero's help. Howard Franklin directed from his own screenplay. (Rated R) SOUTH CENTRAL - A former gang member, his ten-year-old son, and Los Angeles street life are the main concerns of this

uneven story, which isn't convincing enough as drama to achieve the consciousness-raising effect that appears to be its goal. Glenn Plummer and Carl Lumbly head the cast; written and directed by newcomer Steve Anderson for executive producer Oliver Stone. (Rated R)

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