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SNEAKS '91 : A USER'S GUIDE TO SNEAKS '91 : This special annual section lists the movies scheduled at the time to be released during 1991. Capsule synopses and photo highlights begin on the next page and are broken into four movie-going seasons: coming soon, spring, summer and fall-Christmas, with a separate page of foreign films. A commentary by Times Film Editor Jack Mathews follows on page 20.

January 20, 1991|Information for this issue was compiled by David Pecchia and Kirk Honeycutt

SNEAKS HIGHLIGHTS

The people you see on this page are featured in some of the movies we think will be the year's highlights. You'll find more throughout Sneaks '91.

Opening soon (see pages 4-6) are Steve Martin's "L.A. Story" and "King Ralph," with John Goodman. Come spring, (page 7-10) we'll see a restored version of Stanley Kubrick's 1960 epic "Spartacus" and "Defending Your Life," with Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep. Robert DeNiro stars with Annette Bening in "Guilty By Suspicion." And get ready for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze." Robert Townsend's second film is "The Five Heartbeats."

Summer (pages 11-14) brings Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis in "Terminator 2" and "Hudson Hawk." "Jungle Love" is director Spike Lee's take on interracial love. Dustin Hoffman plays gangster Dutch Schultz in "Billy Bathgate," and Barbra Streisand directs and stars in "The Prince of Tides." Harrison Ford reteams with director Mike Nichols in "Regarding Henry," and Kathleen Turner turns private eye in "Warshawski." Ron Howard directs Kurt Russell and DeNiro in "Backdraft." And Richard Dreyfuss and Bill Murray team up in "What About Bob?"

By fall and Christmas, (pages 15-18) the Coen Brothers take on Hollywood with "Barton Fink." Britisher Kenneth Branagh stars in the L.A. detective thriller "Dead Again." Warren Beatty will be "Bugsy Siegel." "Hook," Steven Spielberg's modern-day "Peter Pan" features Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams and Julia Roberts. DeNiro rejoins director Martin Scorcese in a remake of "Cape Fear." Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia play the pillars of "The Addams Family," Jodie Foster director and acts in "Little Man Tate" and Michele Pfeiffer and Dennis Haysbert fall in love in "Love Field."

About Sneaks

Sneaks '91 was compiled from information obtained by contacting studios, distribution companies and other film production sources. The movies listed here are, at this time, expected to open sometime during the year. Remember, this release schedule is tentative and some titles may open in different seasons.

OPENING SOON

For moviegoers, the first two months of each year are usually devoted to catching up with the Christmas releases or taking a few weeks off to relax before the spring onslaught. This is, by tradition, the fallow season, the period when the studios dump their seconds on the market and hope for the best. (The retail analogy ends at the box office, of course; in the movie business, prices do not reflect quality.)

But for the savvy shopper, there are often little pleasures--if not bargains--to be found in the pre-Oscar weeks, and this year, there are several interesting prospects. Most notable, perhaps, is Jonathan Demme's "Silence of the Lambs," adapted from Thomas Harris' gruesome best-seller about an institutionalized psychotic murderer who is called upon to help in the investigation of a serial killer. The film stars Anthony Hopkins as the psychopath and Jodie Foster as the investigator asked to tap into his dysfunctional mind.

Others that seem to merit at least faint hope: "L.A. Story," a spoof of life in these parts written by and starring Steve Martin; Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead," the Venice Film Festival grand prize winner based on Stoppard's play about two characters out of "Hamlet"; and two films starring the always-interesting John Malkovich, "Object of Beauty" (with Andie MacDowell) and "Queen's Logic" (with Kevin Bacon and Linda Fiorentino).

"Across the Tracks"--Rick Schroder (was Ricky of TV's "Silver Spoons") is sent off to reform school for grand theft auto and, upon his return, must cope with a wary mother and older brother. Co-stars Carrie Snodgress and Brad Pitt; directed by Sandy Tung. (Rosenbloom Ent.)

"The Ambulance"--Eric Roberts and James Earl Jones star in this story of a man who loses his dream woman to a "phantom" ambulance. After some investigating, he traces a rash of mysterious disappearances to a ring of doctors trafficking in human guinea pigs. Larry Cohen ("The Wicked Stepmother") writes and directs. Red Buttons co-stars. (Triumph)

"The Arena"--In a foreign, futuristic world with one government, language and sport, a tough gladiator ascends to the championship. Things are great till he's forced to battle a non-human behemoth. Peter Manoogian directs Paul Satterfield, Hamilton Camp and Claudia Christian. (Triumph)

"Book of Love"--A successful but disillusioned ad writer takes a peek back at the '50s to see the dreams, ideals--and the girl--that got away. Chris Young and Keith Coogan star; New Line Cinema President Robert Shaye directs. (New Line)

"Cadence"--Martin Sheen directs two of his sons, Charlie Sheen and Ramon Estevez, in a tale of a rebellious Army private who must decide whether to side with the bigoted stockade commander or answer to the all-black "soul patrol" of the prisoners. Co-stars Larry Fishburne. (New Line)

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