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MOVIE OPENINGS

BOYS DON'T CRY. Opens Saturday. Hillary Swank stars in a widely praised performance as a real teen-age girl named Teena Brandon who passed in a new heartland city as a boy named Brandon Teena with tragic results. Directed by Kimberly Peirce. "More bad tidings from the American heartland of a sort that writers have been giving us for 150 years. It's a tough, powerful, unsparing film with a rare and memorable performance by Hillary Swank in the middle of it." 114 minutes. (Rated R for sex, rough language, nudity and violence.) 1/2 (Jeff Simon)
THE CIDER HOUSE RULES. Opens Saturday. Michael Caine, Tobey Maguire, Delroy Lindo and Charlize Theron star in the first movie adaptation of a John Irving novel to have a script by Irving himself. "Irving doesn't begin to have Dickens' genius but what a pleasure it is to see a film of one of his books come out right for a change. It doesn't hurt to have fine performances by Michael Caine, as an ether-whiffing doctor who matter-of-factly performs abortions , and Charlize Theron, as one of his patients." 125 minutes. (Rated R for rough language and sex.) 1/2 (Jeff Simon)
GALAXY QUEST. Opens Saturday. Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver are among the has-been stars of a '70s sci-fi series who are called upon by an alien race in danger to help them. "Consider it Ripley and Tool Time Tim meets Commander James Tiberius Kirk in a hokey-jokey Star-Trek spoof that combines faith and fantasy while neatly skewering William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy." 106 minutes. (Rated PG.) (Jim Santella)
MANSFIELD PARK. Opens Saturday. Frances O'Connor plays Fanny Price, a penniless girl who is sent to live on a wealthy estate, where she falls in love with the estate owner's son. "The story takes ridiculous turns. Fanny, at one point, goes back home to her squalid seaside village; ludicrously, the swain who adores her follows her there. In his embroidered waistcoat, he has dinner with her family, eating gruel with unwashed cutlery amidst unwashed babies. He isn't repelled by this, or particularly distressed. Tell me Jane Austen would have asked us to believe this." 110 minutes. (Rated PG-13 for adult situations.) 1/2 (Mary Kunz)
THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY. Opens Saturday. Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jude Law star in director Anthony Minghella's version of Patricia Highsmith's novel about a murderous pretender who kills the man whose life he covets to the point of erotic obsession. "You've got to give Minghella enormous credit for nerve here. He doesn't mess around -- the whole homosexual closet allegory that's implicit in the novel is moved front and center in this, it's second filming. Despite the high-profile performers, look for Philip Seymour Hoffman, in a small role, as the most perfect American version of an upper-class twit in movies since the '30s." 140 minutes. (Rated R for rough language, violence.) (Jeff Simon)

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