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PERSALL'S TOP 5

Recent releases recommended by Times film critic Steve Persall

1 _ Cold Comfort Farm _ A prim 1930s socialite joins her lowbrow, distant relatives for a culture clash that never fails to amuse. An antidote to those stiff-upper-lip period dramas too proper to embrace. 2 _ Phenomenon _ John Travolta delivers another winning performance as a common man who mysteriously attains psychic powers in a farming community.

3 Independence Day _ We are not alone, and we are not safe, in a rousing alien-invaders flick that recalls Irwin Allen's greatest hits of the 1970s.

4 The Hunchback of Notre Dame _ Disney has done it again, albeit darker and more adult-themed than ever before. Great vocal performance by Tom Hulce as Quasimodo, the tragic bellringer of Victor Hugo's novel.

5 Lone Star _ Secrets span generations in John Sayles' latest drama, in which a Texas sheriff learns more about his father and community than he ever dreamed.

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