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PERSALL'S TOP 5

Recent releases recommended by Times film critic, Steve Persall

1 Boogie Nights _ An ensemble cast recreates the porn movie scene circa 1980 in Paul Thomas Anderson's massively entertaining and provocative film.

2 L.A. Confidential _ Sprawling crime saga set in 1950s Hollywood, with fine performances and a seductive film noir attitude.

3 Eve's Bayou _ Samuel L. Jackson shines as a philandering doctor trying to keep his family intact in post-war Louisiana.

4 The Full Monty _ Six unemployed men decide to become strippers to make ends meet. Warm, giddy comedy that rates among the best of 1997.

5 Gattaca _ Thoughtful science fiction tale that cautions against genetic manufacturing. Good cast, effective tale, without the usual techno-babble getting in the way.

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