Capsule reviews by Desson Howe unless noted.


POPCORN (R) -- There's a reason people make these movies, right? The ones which come under the "horror" category but which forget to scare or horrify you because they spend too much time clinging to an incredibly mundane storyline? That's the problem here. Besides, any movie starring Tony Roberts should be enough of a warning. It also features Jill Schoelen (the daughter in "The Stepfather") as a California film student troubled by recurring nightmares about a menacing, Rasputin-like figure with a twisty blade. He keeps calling her "Saaaaaraaah," in that slow-motion voice they usually use for the Devil. But wait, her name's Maggie (or Maaaaggie). If you sit through this, you'll be able to clear up the mystery. You'll also realize it wasn't worth it anyway. The mundane storyline involves Margaret and six fellow students (with film professor Roberts), who decide to put on an all-night horror festival at a run-down theater called Dreamland. At the festival, Margaret keeps catching glimpses of that scary dream figure and members of her film class start getting killed . . . The best thing about this slugfest of a flick are the trashy movie "classics" (parodied especially for this movie) shown at the festival, with names such as "The Stench" and "Attack of the Amazing Electrified Man." Area theaters.

RUN (R) -- Wrongly accused of killing a mobster's son at a hideaway casino, law student Patrick Dempsey finds himself chased not only by the vengeful mobster, but by the corrupt police force too. He's got to clear his name with the help of casino employee Kelly Preston. Director Geoff Burrowes, whose previous screen credit is, well, "Return to Snowy River Part II," at least injects enough humor and speed to keep this cliched, car-chasing, fugitive-from-justice movie from dragging its tailpipe. Dempsey isn't such a bad kid. So he looks like Matthew Broderick and all those other Neil Simonish lead-boys. But he keeps up a boyishly amusing (and physically demanding) vitality throughout this otherwise formulaic claptrap. "Ah Jesus," he says at one point. "My career is ruined. That's it. Now I'm going to have to teach." Area theaters.