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movie reviews

An Angel at My Table

Kerry Fox, Alexia Keogh, Karen Fergusson

Directed by: Jane Campion

New Zealand Director Jane Campion follows her smash 1989 debut, Sweetie – a lacerating study of madness – with this more conventional but no less moving exploration of the same theme. Based on the life of the celebrated New Zealand author and poet Janet Frame, the film – originally planned as a miniseries – is divided into three sections that correspond with the three volumes of Frame's autobiography. Campion and writer Laura Jones (High Tide) stick to the book&#... | More »

May 17, 1991

Tatie Danielle

Tsilla Chelton, Catherine Jacob, Isabelle Nanty

Directed by: √Čtienne Chatiliez

You may think twice about helping old ladies cross the street after seeing this fiendishly funny swat at bad senior citizenship from director Etienne Chatiliez and writer Florence Quentin, who previously collaborated on the darkly droll Life Is a Long Quiet River. The aged widow Danielle Billard is called Tatie (an affectionate French term for "aunt") by her nephew Jean-Pierre (Eric Prat), his wife, Catherine (Catherine Jacob), and their two sons when they make semiannual forays from their Pa... | More »

May 10, 1991

F/X 2

Bryan Brown, Brian Dennehy, Rachel Ticotin

Directed by: Richard Franklin

The original 'F/X' failed to make a dent at the box office in 1986. But cable TV and video soon created a loyal cult following for the movie, in which an F/X (special effects) wiz named Rollie Tyler (Bryan Brown) gets hired to fake the assassination of a mobster and ends up being pursued by killers and conniving detective Leo McCarthy (Brian Dennehy). A sequel was inevitable. Though the usual disappointment sets in quickly, it's not crushing. F/X 2 delivers a fair share of act... | More »

Switch

Ellen Barkin, Jimmy Smits, JoBeth Williams

Directed by: Blake Edwards

Though Ellen Barkin squanders her fierce intelligence and hot-babe allure trying to squeeze laughs out of this limp farce, her efforts are a welcome relief from the sexist japes and sight gags doled out by writer-director Blake Edwards. The plot, about a stud named Steve (Perry King) who is murdered and reincarnated as a woman (Barkin), borrows from the inexplicable hit Ghost and cribs enough from the justifiable flop Goodbye Charlie to qualify as a remake. The latter was a 1964 Vincente Minn... | More »

Truth Or Dare

Madonna, Donna Delory, Niki Harris, Luis Camacho, Oliver Crumes

Directed by: Alek Keshishian

Whatever you think of this hot-to-shock documentary, which tracks Madonna on and off the stage during her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour, don't call it "neat." That's the word Kevin Costner uses when complimenting Madonna backstage in L.A. Hearing such a candy-assed adjective for the two-hour assault of energy and hightech flash that is her act sends the diva into jerk alert. In a pure Madonna moment, she sticks two fingers down her throat and pretends to barf. Costner slinks out of... | More »

May 9, 1991

Truth or Dare

Madonna, Donna DeLory, Niki Harris

Directed by: Alek Keshishian, Mark Aldo Miceli

Whatever You Think of this hot-to-shock documentary, which tracks Madonna on and off the stage during her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour, don't call it "neat." That's the word Kevin Costner uses when complimenting Madonna backstage in L.A. Hearing such a candy-assed adjective for the two-hour assault of energy and high-tech flash that is her act sends the diva into jerk alert. In a pure Madonna moment, she sticks two fingers down her throat and pretends to barf. Costner slinks out o... | More »

April 26, 1991

Toy Soldiers

Sean Astin, Wil Wheaton, Keith Coogan

Directed by: Daniel Petrie Jr.

Five preppie misfits at a school for sons of the rich and influential outwit Colombian terrorists holding the campus hostage. It could have been harmless junk on the order of Taps, the 1981 film about a student takeover of a military academy that gave its greenhorn cast (Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn, Tom Cruise) a leg up on stardom. Instead, Toy Soldiers emerges as a violent and unactable example of the genre. Sean Astin stars as Billy Tepper, the rebel ringleader at school. Until the Colombian... | More »

Oscar

Sylvester Stallone, Ornella Muti, Don Ameche

Directed by: John Landis

Imagine being trapped in a roomful of hyper actors who won't stop shouting bad jokes until you laugh, goddammit, laugh. A nightmare? No, it's Oscar, a strenuously unfunny farce that stars Sylvester Stallone as Angelo "Snaps" Provolone, a Thirties gangster trying to go straight. The action icon is understandably eager to show his lighter side, but ham-handed director John Landis (Coming to America) can't channel the energy of his star or anyone else in the large and misguided c... | More »

A Kiss Before Dying

Matt Dillon, Sean Young, James Bonfanti

Directed by: James Dearden

These days Bret Easton Ellis isn't the only one accountable for giving the fictional American psycho a bad name. Case in point: the botch that writer-director James Dearden makes of A Kiss Before Dying, starring Matt Dillon as a babyfaced lady-killer and Sean Young as not one but two of the ladies (she plays twin sisters) who bring out his murderous impulses. Based on a novel by Ira Levin (Rosemary's Baby, Sliver), Kiss became an enjoyably trashy movie in 1956 with Robert Wagner in ... | More »

April 24, 1991

Chameleon Street

Wendell B. Harris Jr., Timothy Alvaro, Dave Barber

Directed by: Wendell B. Harris Jr.

It may take some effort to locate a theater showing Chameleon Street, in which Wendell B. Harris Jr. makes a dynamite debut as writer, director and star. Keep trying. Shot for peanuts in Harris's native Michigan, the film is based on the true story of Douglas Street, a black salesman who posed as a Detroit lawyer, a Time reporter, a French exchange student and a Harvard-educated surgeon until the law caught up with him. What sounds like a pat TV docudrama is transformed by Harris into s... | More »

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