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TOP FIVE

Current movies recommended by the Times.

1 Bowling for Columbine _ America's best cinematic muckraker, Michael Moore, takes aim at the nation's passion for gun ownership and its tragic knack for using them badly. Moore isn't always a straight shooter, but his film is a fascinating starting point for debate.

2 Die Another Day _ James Bond returns for his 20th "official" film adventure, recapturing the gritty violence and controlled humor of Sean Connery's reign. Pierce Brosnan can now be seriously considered in the same class.

3 Far from Heaven _ Those Technicolor tearjerkers of the 1950s are recalled by director Todd Haynes. Julianne Moore plays a housewife of that era coping with the fact her husband (Dennis Quaid) is gay.

4 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets _ The second film adventure of J.K. Rowling's literary wizard is scarier, louder and longer than the first. Potterphiles won't mind at all. Harry and his friends chase a monster terrorizing Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

5 Real Women Have Curves _ America Ferrara is a fetching newcomer in a Latino-flavored tale of an overweight young woman bucking against family tradition. Consider it My Big Fat Mexican Coming-of-Age.

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