Hollywood, like the world itself, is subject to many seasons: Mid-May brings the hot summer blockbusters, September is when the cooler, serious "Oscar-consideration" pictures start up, and around the first of November we begin to get those jolly efforts that are loosely termed "Christmas movies."

But January through April has generally been considered the doldrums for movies, with fewer big-star potential hits showing up on the big screen, the time when such studio castoffs as "Run," "Nothing But Trouble" and "The NeverEnding Story II" are shipped out to theaters around the country.Yet, it's also the time when many films that opened in Los Angeles during December to qualify for Academy Award nominations slowly make their way across the country - "Hamlet," "Vincent & Theo," "Alice," "Green Card," etc.

In other words, it's a period of contradiction for Hollywood. How else can you explain such critically praised box-office successes as "Once Around," "L.A. Story" and "The Silence of the Lambs" opening this month? (Not to mention two of last year's biggest hits - "The Hunt for Red October" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" - which both opened in March.)

And over the next few months - prior to the mid-May "summer" openings - there are plenty more that look intriguing. Not to mention the fact that they boast such top names as Michael J. Fox, Bette Midler, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro and Michael Keaton. And, yes, the return of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Here are - subject to many changes, of course, the films currently scheduled to crop up in local theaters over the next couple of months:

MARCH

The Doors - Biography of the late Jim Morrison (Val Kilmer) and the legendary '60s rock band, from Oliver Stone ("Born on the Fourth of July"). (March 1)

Landscape in the Mist - Greek drama about two young children who run away from home in search of their father. (March 1)

Mr. & Mrs. Bridge - Paul Newman and Oscar-nominated Joanne Woodward are the title characters, a socially correct but emotionally empty upper-middle-class couple in the '30s. (March 1)

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys - Scott Glenn is an injured second-rate rodeo cowpoke who tries to go home again in this character drama. (March 1)

Shipwrecked - A 14-year-old Norwegian sailor finds himself marooned on a desert island and discovers pirate treasure; the pirates aren't happy about it. (March 1)

Terminal City Richochet - Jello Biafra (of the punk rock group Dead Kennedys) stars in this bizarre futuristic fantasy. (March 1)

Bride of Re-Animator - Sequel to the gory "Frankenstein" sendup. (March 2)

Straight for the Heart - Controversial story of Montreal photojournalist who becomes involved in a menage-a-trois. (March 4)

Subhumanoid Meltdown: Class of Nuke 'Em High, Part II - Sequel to the gross comedy about a high school next to a poorly managed nuclear facility. (March 7)

Allegro Non Troppo - Bruno Bozzetto's newly restored sendup of Disney's "Fantasia" is re-issued. (March 8)

The Hard Way - Michael J. Fox is a spoiled actor allowed to follow tough, reluctant cop James Woods in this comedy-thriller. (March 8)

New Jack City - Mario Van Peebles makes his directing debut in this drama about the thin line between cops and the drug-dealers they bust. (March 8)

Robot Carnival - Japanese animated sci-fi yarn. (March 12)

Class Action - Gene Hackman is a tough lawyer taking on an automotive giant, represented by his estranged daughter (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). (March 15)

Freeze. Die. Come to Life. - Soviet film about life in a remote mining community in the Soviet Orient. (March 15)

Guilty By Suspicion - Robert De Niro is a Hollywood director blacklisted during the McCarthy era. (March 15)

If Looks Could Kill - Comedy-thriller with teen heartthrob Richard Grieco as a French student mistaken for a spy. (March 15)

Perfect Weapon - Violent, action karate-oriented thriller. (March 15)

C'est la Vie - Diane Kurys' film of the prosperity of postwar resort life in 1958 southern France, starring Nathalie Baye. (March 22)

The Secret of the Ooze: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 - The title tells it all, a sequel to one of last year's biggest moneymaking kids pictures. (March 22)

The Burning Times - Donna Read's second of her three-part documentary series of films that began with "Goddess Remembered," about shifting European society. (March 25)

Ariel - Finnish film about an unemployed miner who drifts from poverty to crime and is rescued by love. (March 29)

Career Opportunities - The latest John Hughes comedy has an underachiever locked in a department store overnight with the girl of his dreams. (March 29)

The 5 Heartbeats - The latest from writer-director-star Robert Townsend ("Hollywood Shuffle"), about the 30-year relationship of friends who make up the title musical group. (March 29)

The Long Walk Home - Whoopi Goldberg is a maid for Sissy Spacek in the changing South of the early '60s in this drama. (March 29)

Oscar - Sylvester Stallone stars in this comedy about a mobster trying to go straight. (March 29)

APRIL

Defending Your Life - A comedy from Albert Brooks ("Lost in America"), co-starring Meryl Streep, about a man defending his earthly actions before a reincarnation review board. (April 5)

F/X 2 - Bryan Brown and Brian Dennehy return as the special-effects wizard and his New York cop buddy, respectively, in this mystery-comedy-thriller sequel. (April 5)

Hidden Agenda - Based on allegations that British soldiers are government-approved killers of suspected IRA terrorists, with Frances McDormand as an activist investigating the charges. (April 5)

One Good Cop - Michael Keaton is the title character in this drama, forced to take on his partner's three young daughters. (April 5)

A Kiss Before Dying - Matt Dillon and Sean Young star in this thriller based on Ira Levin's novel. (April 12)

Out for Justice - The latest violent action-thriller from Steven Seagal. (April 12)

Toy Soldiers - Suspenseful film about a drug czar's son holding students at a prep school hostage. Louis Gossett Jr. stars. (April 12)

Animation Celebration - A new collection of international animated shorts. (April 19)

Switch - Gender-switch comedy from Blake Edwards, starring Ellen Barkin. (April 19)

The Vanishing - Dutch-French thriller about a man whose wife disappears into thin air. (April 19)

Tong Tana - Documentary about Borneo's 160 million-year-old rain forest (the world's oldest) and the last tribe of nomadic people living there. (April 22)

NO SPECIFIC DATES

Closet Land - Drama about the relationship that develops between a state interrogator (Alan Rickman) and his female prisoner (Madeleine Stowe). (March)

Cyrano de Bergerac - Gerard Depardieu's Oscar-nominated version of the classic story of the long-nosed soldier of fortune and his unrequited love for the lovely Roxanne. (March)

Delirious - John Candy stars in this comedy about a daytime TV soap-opera writer. (March)

Meet the Applegates - An insect family (headed by Ed Begley Jr. and Stockard Channing) takes on the guise of a normal human suburban family in this comedy. (March)

Queens Logic - A younger "Big Chill," with Kevin Bacon, John Malkovich, Joe Mantegna, Jamie Lee Curtis. (March)

True Colors - A comedy-drama starring James Spader and John Cusack. (March)

Love Potion #9 - Two shy scientists discover a love potion that really works in this comedy. (April)

Point Break - Patrick Swayze is a master surfer who takes a rookie FBI agent named Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) under his wing in this thriller.

Spartacus - Yes, that "Spartacus," the 1960 Kirk Douglas epic (directed by Stanley Kubrick), in a newly restored version. (April)

Stepping Out - A comedy-musical with Liza Minnelli. (April)

29th Street - A young man whose constant good luck exasperates his family tempts fate by purchasing a ticket for New York's first lottery. (April)