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FREEZE FRAMES

A weekly update of film releases

MR. SATURDAY NIGHT - An aging comedian looks back on the laughter and tears that filled his life, and we share the whole interminable experience. Billy Crystal is a likable performer, and his screenplay has revealing flashes of candor toward the emotional cruelty that underlies much popular comedy. Still, his directorial debut is a tedious affair, filled with misty-eyed schmaltz and repetitious stand-up routines that only a borsht-belt groupie could sit through without getting fidgety. (Rated R) JUMPIN AT THE BONEYARD - Thoughtful story of a troubled young man's attempt to restore his shattered family by rehabilitating his drug-dependent brother. Although it's marred by a needlessly melodramatic climax, the picture is intelligently written, expressively filmed, and sensitively acted. Jeff Stanzler directed from his own screenplay, balancing clear narrative structure with a sense of spontaneity and indeterminacy that aptly mirrors the characters' lives. (Rated R) WHISPERS IN THE DARK - After separating from her immature husband, a psychiatrist gets dangerously involved with a masochistic patient and a mysterious new boyfriend. Mainstream films rarely express hostility toward women more nastily or relentlessly than this gory melodrama does. Written and directed by Christopher Crowe. (Rated R)