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PERSALL'S TOP FIVE

Published Oct. 10, 2005

Recent releases recommended by Times film critic Steve Persall

1 Short Cuts _ Robert Altman's incisive slice of L.A. life is marvelous. The latest Altman classic, but hopefully not the last.

2 The Piano _ Holly Hunter is extraordinary as a mute mail-order bride torn between priggish husband Sam Neill and Harvey Keitel's erotic danger.

3 The Remains of the Day _ Oscar winners Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson share a hidden, unrequited love before World War II.

4 We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story _ The year's best new animated feature, with an all-star cast of voices and a brisk feel-good pace.

5 A Perfect World _ Kevin Costner shines as an escaped convict who kidnaps a child. A bold mostly successful move for Costner and director Clint Eastwood.