movie reviews

The Dark Backward

Judd Nelson, Bill Paxton

Directed by: Adam Rifkin

How often do you see Judd Nelson, Rob Lowe, James Caan, Wayne Newton and Lara Flynn Boyle in the same film? Never again, if fate is kind. Director Adam Rifkin wrote the script for this comedy six years ago when he was nineteen. The result would be more excusable if he had written it nineteen years ago when he was six. The plot concerns Marty Malt (Nelson), a nerdy garbageman who moonlights as a stand-up comic. Nobody laugha at Marty's jokes, except his buddy Gus (Bill Paxton), but then ... | More »


Adrienne Shelly, Martin Donovan, Edie Falco

Directed by: Hal Hartley

In his auspicious debut feature, The Unbelievable Truth, writer-director Hal Hartley fashioned a quirky romance between an ambitious model and a suspected mass murderer who were products of neurotic middle-class families on Long Island. Hartley, who was born and raised in that New York suburban region, returns to the same fertile ground in Trust and confirms his promise as a gifted comic mannerist. The lovers in Trust flaunt their emotional wounds. Maria, played by Truth's ultrasexy Adri... | More »

V.I. Warshawski

Kathleen Turner

Directed by: Jeff Kanew

Disney's Hollywood pictures has given a shoddy once-over to Sara Paretsky's classy novels about a female dick from Chicago named V.I. Warshawski. The film looks as if it were shot through ripped pantyhose. It took three writers to craft a script of unvarying cliches. And the direction, by Jeff Kanew, is all you'd expect from the hack who brought forth Revenge of the Nerds and Troop Beverly Hills. That juice remains is due to Kathleen Turner's sass as Victoria Iphigenia (s... | More »

July 24, 1991

The Doctor

William Hurt, Christine Lahti, Elizabeth Perkins

Directed by: Randa Haines

Despite the congratulatory reviews, this movie is an even more depressing specimen of the feel-good boom than Regarding Henry. The Doctor – based on a gritty nonfiction book by Ed Rosenbaum, M.D. – trivializes an intriguing premise: What happens when the doctor becomes the patient? Jack MacKee, played by William Hurt, is a smugly prosperous San Francisco surgeon so detached about his work that he sings while sewing up his patients. Then MacKee finds he has throat cancer. Looking t... | More »

July 12, 1991

Point Break

Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

Keanu Reeves plays Johnny Utah, an FBI rookie sent undercover to infiltrate a band of L.A. surfers who stick up banks while wearing rubber masks of Reagan, Nixon, Carter and Johnson. Utah is determined to bring down these ex-presidents; he's that kind of dude. Bureau old-timers think Utah is "young, dumb and full of cum," a big dis applicable to many of the characters in W. Peter Iliff's airheaded script. Reeves proves a resourceful actor, though, especially in his scenes with Gary... | More »

July 10, 1991

Regarding Henry

Annette Bening

Directed by: Mike Nichols

Given the reputations of star Harrison Ford and director Mike Nichols, one expects more from their first collaboration since Working Girl than this slick tearjerker. The script, by twenty-four-year-old Jeffrey Abrams (Taking Care of Business), has a knack for trivializing the big issues it strenuously raises. Ford plays Henry Turner, a Manhattan attorney with a lavish apartment that represents his status as a legal shark. Henry is your basic shit, not above fudging the truth in order to crush... | More »

July 5, 1991


Richard Linklater, Rudy Basquez, Jean Caffeine

Directed by: Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater, the Twenty-eight-year-old writer and director of this scrappy and shrewdly hilarious first film, is also the first person we see onscreen. He's just stepped off a bus in the college town of Austin, Texas. In a cab, he harangues the driver with a wacko monologue about Dorothy and the Scarecrow's decision to dance off in one direction when they come to a crossroads in The Wizard of Oz. "But," he says, "all those other directions, just because they thought about them... | More »

July 3, 1991

Terminator 2: Judgment Day


Arnold Schwarzenegger

Directed by: James Cameron

A kinder, gentler terminator. What an affront. In 1984, director-writer James Cameron gave Arnold Schwarzenegger the role of his career, as a killer cyborg sent from the future to murder Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) before she gives birth to a son who will lead a revolt against the ruling army of machines. "I'll be back," said Schwarzenegger. Now he is back, but reprogrammed as a goody-goody to protect Sarah's son, John Connor, played by fourteen-year-old Edward Furlong. The bad Te... | More »

June 28, 1991

The Reflecting Skin

Viggo Mortensen, Lindsay Duncan, Jeremy Cooper

Directed by: Philip Ridley

It's not your average vampire movie; this one's got aspirations. Philip Ridley, the British painter-illustrator-novelist who turned screenwriter with the mesmerizing 1990 gangster film The Krays, debuts as a director with a perversely alluring work he describes as "Blue Velvet with children." Ridley's script revolves around Seth Dove (a superb Jeremy Cooper), an eight-year-old growing up in the Fifties on the Idaho prairie (the film was shot in Canada). Seth's mother, Rut... | More »

June 21, 1991

The Rocketeer

Bill Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin

Directed by: Joe Johnston

In Hollywood, the true test of muscle comes at the box office. The smart money says summer '91 will be a face-off between Kevin Costner's Robin Hood and Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator. But Bill Campbell's Rocketeer has a tankful of upstart moxie to take on those two Goliaths. Campbell, a TV actor (Dynasty, Crime Story) who's never done a film before, is a definite long shot. But he's got Disney's special-effects wizards fueling his engines, and they'... | More »

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