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A weekly update of film releases

* UNTAMED HEART - A working woman falls in love with a backward young man after he saves her from being raped; sadly, his health turns out to be as frail as his personality. It's fun to watch the gifted Marisa Tomei and the lively Rosie Perez, but Christian Slater is less engaging as the waif of the story, and the screenply is loaded with sentimentality. Directed by Tony Bill, who has yet to recapture the tough-minded inventiveness of his earlier "Five Corner." (Rated PG-13) * EL MARAICHI - In a lonely Mexican town, a traveling musician is mistaken for a desperate criminal who carries his weapons in a guitar case. The action is ridiculously violent, and first time director Robert Rodriguez seems to care more about energy than meaning. He's a highly skilled film editor, though, and he gets an impressive amount of color and motion on the screen considering his absurdly low $7,000 budget. (Rated R) * THE VANISHING - An ordinary man comes to grips with a psychopath after his girlfriend disappears on a vacation trip. Keifer Sutherland and Nancy Travis give strong performances as the innocent victims. Jeff Bridges overdoses both the banal and the bizarre characteristics of the villain, though; and it's impossible to figure out why filmmaker George Sluizer agreed to direct this American remake of his original Dutch thriller, which was less pretentious and more chilling. (Rated R) * BAD LIEUTENANT - Caught in a loathsome swamp of crime, corruption, drugs, and heartless sexuality, a rogue police officer comes to seek the moral redemption he desperately needs. Centered on a ferocious performance by Harvey Keitel, the picture begins promisingly but veers badly out of control in its attempts to balance religious, profane, and purely melodramatic themes. Directed by Abel Ferrara, whose last movie, "The King of New York" was less ambitious but much better focused. (Rated NC-17)

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