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Freeze Frames: The Monitor Movie Guide

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Here are the week's reviews of both the latest releases and current films, rated according to the key below (''o'' for forget it). The capsule reviews are by Monitor film critic David Sterritt; the one liners from a panel of at least three other Monitor reviewers. Movies containing violence (V), sexual situations (S), nudity (N), and profanity (P) are noted.

o Forget it

* Only if it's free

** Maybe a matinee

*** Worth full price

**** Wait in line

New Releases

ANACONDA (PG-13)

*** Coil up with a tub of popcorn, get a stranglehold on your soda - this is a creepy, action-packed boat ride down a jungle river with lots of huge snakes dropping by for man-sized snacks. Filmmakers in search of tribal footage let an anaconda hunter (Jon Voight) slither into their midst, and the trouble begins. Not for the squeamish or those in a cerebral mood, but the film packs many thrills. P V By Katherine Dillin

** Gripping, predictable, a no-brainer.

CHASING AMY (R)

** A young man discovers his new girlfriend is a lesbian. The filmmaking technique of writer-director Kevin Smith has matured since the raunchy "Clerks," his popular debut movie; but although his dialogue is often witty, he still relies on blunt sexual humor to get his point across. S P V By Chas Sabatine

** Vulgar, original, probing.

8 HEADS IN A DUFFEL BAG (R)

*A hit man chases a medical student who accidentally picked up the grisly package he was delivering to a mob chief. Joe Pesci is funny as the bumbling crook, and David Spade has a few amusing moments. The rest is so stupid you'll wish you'd brought a duffel bag of your own. Written and directed by Tom Schulman. V P S

GRIND (Not rated)

*** Romantic rivalry complicates the relationship of two brothers who want to build better lives than the underpaid mediocrity they inherited from their father. The story and characters don't get beyond fashionable "suburban chic," but filmmaker Chris Kentis captures a surprising amount of working-class truth through his imaginative, understated approach. Billy Crudup and Adrienne Shelley star. V P S

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