One of the more controversial upcoming movies is "Batman," believe it or not.

The major question seems to center around whether Michael Keaton can, with dignity, seriously personify the caped one onscreen? No one is arguing that Jack Nicholson ought to be the perfect "Joker," however.Keaton recently distinguished himself in a very fine dramatic performance in "Clean and Sober," and before that did well dramatically in the less successful "Touch and Go."

But even in those films, his screen persona was cocky, smart-alecky and borderline obnoxious. Under the bat-mask and muscled-up costume of the comic book hero he is playing, Keaton might do just fine, but the real question has to do with his characterization of Bruce Wayne. Can Keaton display the sophistication and intelligence required?

Hard to say at this point, but the filmmakers - including director Tim Burton, whose biggest credits are the wild-eyed farces "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" and "Beetlejuice," insist this "Batman" will not be a farce or camp yarn a la the famed TV series.

This is a serious, even dark version of "Batman," in keeping with the comic books. Or so they say.

Meanwhile, the film, which underwent a reportedly troubled production schedule, is now in post-production and should be released in July.

- SOME OTHER LESS touted '89 movies are worth a double-take, if only for the sake of their titles. I'm not making any of these up - honest! They are actual films either finished, in production or about to go into production, as reported in recent issues of the show-biz trade paper Variety. Fasten your theater seatbelts:

Rabid Grannies


Stuff Stephanie in the Incinerator

Nuns on the Run

Cockroach Hotel


Curse of the Cannibal Confederates


Whooping Cough

Rock and the Money-Hungry Party Girls

Raiders of the Living Dead

Phantom of the Mall

I had some jokes to make about them, but they're all so weird they're funnier on their own.