Freeze Frames/A weekly update of film releases
DIM SUM: A LITTLE BIT OF HEART -- A touching, sensitive, and exquisitely funny look at members of a Chinese-American family who haven't quite managed to balance their old ways with their New World surroundings. Directed with uncommon wit, insight, and visual imagination by Wayne Wang, who has created a serene domestic study in the classic Yasujiro Ozu style using a meager screenplay and mostly nonprofessional actors. Marred only by some sags in the performances and some editing that breaks t he movie's flow. (Not rated) KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN -- While sharing a jail cell, a revolutionary and a homosexual become involved in each other's lives despite radically different ways of thinking. Eventually their personalities switch places, one man tempering his ferocious world view and the other coming to grips with reality for the first time. Both main characters are drawn according to overused stereotypes, and the story is too schematic to be fully engaging. The performances are strong, though, and Brazil ian filmmaker Hector Babenco treats potentially sensational material with far more tact than in his last picture, the hair-raising ``Pixote.'' (Rated R)
LA CHEVRE -- ``The Goat'' and ``Knock on Wood'' are two English-language titles for this farce about a hard-boiled detective and a bumbling amateur searching Mexico for a rich man's abducted daughter. Pierre Richard and G'erard D'epardieu make one of the best comedy teams in memory, but the plot moves too slowly and predictably for this effort to equal ``Les Comperes,'' in which they play similar roles. Written and directed by humor specialist Francis Veber. (Not rated)
THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN -- A rousing, tacky, anything-goes melodrama about a nice girl who becomes an unwilling outlaw when attacked by corrupt members of her small-town society. The story is clean out of its mind, and some of the characters look like refugees from the most delirious moments of Russ Meyer or Frank Capra movies. In all, it's a B picture in the grandest and silliest tradition, brash enough to accommodate the wildest plot twists and loony enough to equate a punk on the run wi th Joan of Arc striking down the evil of an age. Helen Slater is the star, and not as far from ``Supergirl'' territory as you'd think. Matthew Robbins directed. (Rated PG-13) RATINGS: Films with ratings other than G may contain varying degrees of vulgar language, nudity, sex, and violence.