* "The Vanishing" is a brisk French suspense film that...

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March 05, 1992|By Stephen Hunter

* "The Vanishing" is a brisk French suspense film that recalls the chill of Hitchcock at his nastiest. It follows the cat and mouse game between an amateur kidnapper and the man whose lover he has stolen. Understated, yet profoundly unsettling, the movie is a real gripper. Unrated.

* "Gladiator" follows as an evil promoter (Brian Dennehy) seduces teen-age boys into fighting in a bloody, unsanctioned boxing tournament. The two victims are James Marshall of "Twin Peaks" and Cuba Gooding Jr., of "Boyz N the Hood." It's quite violent and profane. Rated R.

* "The Lawnmower Man" utilizes computer technology in a parable about a scientist and his experiments with a simple garden worker. Fancy special effects, but the movie, with Jeff Fahey and Pierce Brosnan, was not screened for critics. Rated R.

* "Once Upon a Crime" features the usual suspects, including John Candy, Jim Belushi and Cybill Shepard, as it tries to solve the murder of a millionaire in Monte Carlo, but the studio, MGM, didn't think enough of it to screen it for critics. Rated PG.

* "Terminal Bliss" brings "90210" heartthrob Luke Perry to his first film release, which publicity materials describe vaguely as a story about "a troubled, self-absorbed high school senior whose loyalties are always in question in this drama about the joys and sorrows of teens growing up rich and undisciplined." Not screened for critics.

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