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A REAL HORSE RACE IN THE CRUCIAL HOLIDAY MOVIE SEASON, SOME SURPRISES AMONG THE CONTENDERS

Tabulations are based on a weekly exit poll of more than 6,000 film-goers. Viewers rate the movie between 1 and 4 stars. TOP MARKS is the percent who gave the film either 3 1/2 or 4 stars. It indicates the potential of your liking the film.

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This week's releases found an odd assortment of contenders racing for top honors in the public's eye. At the starting line were an aging box office idol, a singing star turned actress, the vocal cords of two current stars, and rounding out the field, a boy with blades for fingers.

Remember, this race is not a box office contest that measures how many people see a film, but rather a public opinion derby reflecting how well they liked it.

Sired by the mega-popular original that led the poll for many months last year, "Look Who's Talking Too" stood as the favorite.

Early odds were stacked against dark horse "Havana." An epic flick that the critics endorse is like having a fat jockey. (Mount gaily dressed critic of your choice on this horse.)

In a close race, Tim Burton, who has directed such brutally realistic sagas as "Pee-wee's Big Adventure," "Beetlejuice" and "Batman," proved to be the difference, as his "Edward Scissorhands" won by a length.

"Look Too" finished a disappointing second, looking more like a sequel than a thoroughbred.

"Mermaids," with Cher on board, was good but not great.

"Havana" barely finished, apparently suffering under the weight of multiple jockeys.

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EDWARD SCISSORHANDS:

Johnny Depp stars as a Vincent Price (really) science project with a Veg-o-matic embrace. Audiences were thrilled with the wild concept. (Buffalo News critic Jeff Simon called it a "a lovely and unique movie" and gave it four out of five stars).

HAVANA: Robert Redford plays a professional gambler in Cuba in 1959. (Buffalo News critic Jeff Simon described it as a "self-important, gaseous bore" and gave it 2 1/2 stars of five).

LOOK WHO'S TALKING TOO: This sequel to the preposterously popular original evoked comments such as: "Not as good as the first (many)" (Buffalo News reviewer Dorothy Keenan said it "looks like 75 minutes of America's favorite home videos" and gave it two out of five stars).

MERMAIDS: Single parent Cher refuses to act her age (a requirement in the early '60s). (Buffalo News critic Jeff Simon gave it three out of five stars).

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