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SNEAKS 94 : Opening Soon

January 23, 1994

The year gets off to at thoughtful start--punctuated, of course, with the occasional slam-bang action ride, such as Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger's blood and body-heat remake of "The Getaway," or popcorn offering, like "8 Seconds," featuring teen throb Luke Perry as a rodeo champ. Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons reunite for the first time since "The French Lieutenant's Woman" in "The House of the Spirits," based on the Isabelle Allende book about a Chilean dynasty. From Vietnam comes the quiet, introspective "The Scent of Green Papaya."

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. In a bizarre sequence of events, the Miami Dolphins mascot--a pet dolphin that makes field goals--and quarterback Dan Marino are abducted. With the Super Bowl on the line, in comes pet sleuth Ace, outrageously played by "In Living Color's" Jim Carrey. (Warner Bros.)

Belle Epoque. This acclaimed Spanish film deals with the goings-on at a Spanish country house circa 1931. A handsome army deserter is taken in by an artist, only to be mesmerized by his benefactor's four fetching daughters. Fernando Trueba directs; Fernando Fernan Gomez stars. (Sony Pictures Classics)

Bitter Moon. Roman Polanski's latest effort focuses on an uptight British couple who meet a decidedly unabashed husband and wife during a cruise to the Orient. Peter Coyote plays the American writer and Emmanuelle Seigner his French wife. They both regale the stunned Brits with twisted sexual tales. (Fine Line)

Blank Check. When an 11-year-old's bicycle falls victim to a shiny Mercedes-Benz, the boy is devastated. Things get interesting when the car's owner, a major money launderer, hastily gives the kid a check but doesn't write in the amount. The kid writes in a cool $1 million, and the fun starts. Brian Bonsall stars. (Walt Disney)

Blink. Michael Apted directs Madeleine Stowe and Aidan Quinn in this tale of a blind musician who regains her sight after an operation but subsequently suffers some blurry vision and hallucinations. She witnesses a brutal murder, but will she be believed on the witness stand? Can cop Quinn keep her safe from the killer? (New Line)

Blue Chips. Just in time for March Madness. This Ron Shelton script deals with a big-college basketball coach whose wildly successful seasons have slipped deeper and deeper into memory. Nick Nolte, Mary McDonnell and the ubiquitous Shaquille O'Neal star for director William Friedkin. Cameos by Larry Bird, Bob Knight and more. (Paramount)

Car 54, Where Are You? David Johansen plays Gunther Toody and John C. McGinley is Frances Muldoon in the action-comedy based on the buffoonish TV series of the '60s. Fran Drescher, Nipsey Russell and Rosie O'Donnell also star in this film that has been on the shelf for a spell. (Orion)

The Cement Garden. Inspired by Ian McEwan's novel of the same name, this unusual film follows what happens when four recently orphaned children shatter conventional family wisdom and form their own morality in a strange and isolated house. Charlotte Gainsbourg stars. (October Films)

8 Seconds. The title refers to a pretty impressive ride on a bucking bronco. Luke Perry, as rodeo champ Lane Frost, hopes to stay vertical as long as possible. John G. Avildsen directs this look at the rough-and-tumble life--both in competition and out--of the rodeo legend. (New Line)

Fiorile. This romantic fable spans several centuries of the Benedetti family. The saga begins during these times but soon flashes back to the late 18th Century, slowly wending its way back. Paolo and Vittorio Taviani direct; Claudio Bigagli stars. Italian with English subtitles. (Fine Line)

The Getaway. The 1972 Sam Peckinpah classic gets the 1994 treatment with Roger Donaldson directing Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger in the Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw roles. James Woods is the oily gangster who springs Baldwin from a Mexico jail, but a double-cross soon propels Baldwin and Basinger toward the border. Michael Madsen co-stars. Walter Hill (he wrote the original) and Amy Holden Jones wrote the screenplay. (Universal)

Golden Gate. In Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang's haunting tale, a 1950s FBI agent (Matt Dillon) is sent to San Francisco's Chinatown to shake down its residents. Soon he falls for Joan Chen, who happens to be the daughter of a man he wronged. Bruno Kirby co-stars. (Samuel Goldwyn Co.)

Gunmen. Mario Van Peebles is a Big Apple cop who partners up with smuggler Christopher Lambert to hit pay dirt in the Amazon. There's a pile of stolen cash down there, and these unlikely collaborators each have one-half of an answer to the puzzle. Patrick Stewart co-stars; Deran Sarafian directs. (Dimension)

Highway Patrolman. A unique look at a trip through Mexico from unique director Alex Cox. In this metaphorical road film, a young highway cop deals with the tasks of the job while reconciling the needs of those around him. Roberto Sosa stars. In Spanish with English subtitles. (First Look)

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