Robert A. Heinlein's The Puppet Masters (R) (108 min.) -- If you don't recognize the name in the title, this special effects-laden film probably looks like any other sci-fi shocker. But Heinlein's novels are favorites among readers of such fantasies, and Hollywood Pictures is counting on them to make this a hit. The story involves invading alien parasites that attach themselves to humans, absorbing all memory and controlling their behaviors. Donald Sutherland, who has some experience in such matters after 1978's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, stars as a NASA investigator ready to save the world. Not to be confused with the cheap-o Puppet Master series of slasher flicks that regularly surface on cable television. "Trust no one" is the film's catch line, which Hollywood Pictures apparently is taking seriously; no advance screenings for critics or the public were available -- a no-confidence move that chills the spines of movie fans.
_ STEVE PERSALL