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PERSALL'S TOP 5

Recent releases recommended by Times film critic Steve Persall

1 Gladiator _ Sprawling, brawling Roman Empire epic, with Russell Crowe bidding to become the next great action star. Ultra-violent, and equally fun.

2 Dinosaur _ Computer-amimated dinosaurs blend with real-life settings, making this an uncommonly convincing prehistoric adventure. Recommended for ages 8 and older, due to violence.

3 Frequency _ Dead father (Dennis Quaid) and adult son (Jim Caviezel) solve murders thanks to a supernatural ham radio. Dumb as it sounds, but it works.

4 The Big Kahuna _ Oscar winner Kevin Spacey and Danny De Vito shine in this stagy character study of world-weary marketers glad-handing their way through a business convention.

5 Center Stage _ Ballet academy students aim for fame in this bouncy blend of art and commerce. They're gonna live forever, they're gonna learn how to fly.

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