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movie reviews

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, Richard Dreyfuss

Directed by: Tom Stoppard

The word games in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead have a collegiate cheekiness. The Czech-born British playwright was only in his twenties when he wrote R&G in 1964. In making Rosencrantz and Guildenstern – two minor characters in Hamlet – the center of a play about the tricks of fate, Stoppard mixed the poetic melodrama of Shakespeare with the doom-laden minimalism of Samuel Beckett and topped it with the slapstick of the Marx Brothers. R&G won ... | More »

Sleeping with the Enemy

Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin, Kevin Anderson

Directed by: Joseph Ruben

Julia Roberts, a beauty who can also act, is one of the best things in recent movies. By my count she hasn't made a really good movie yet, though watching her wait tables in Mystic Pizza, die with dignity in Steel Magnolias, shop till she drops in Pretty Woman or practice New Age medicine in Flatliners provides blissful compensation while we wait. But don't get your hopes up about Sleeping With the Enemy. Scripted by Oscar winner Ron Bass (Rain Man) and directed by the skilled Josep... | More »

L.A. Story

Steve Martin, Victoria Tennant, Richard E. Grant

Directed by: Mick Jackson

Valentine's Day is upon us, time again to recoil from the hard-sell merchandising of love, sweet love. Witness six new movies about relationships. All of them are comedies, which says a lot about sex in the Nineties. The better ones temper the jokes with a twist of irony, which brings us to L.A. Story, written by and starring Steve Martin. This movie triangle of a man, a woman and a city is being touted as the West Coast version of Woody Allen's 1979 classic Manhattan. Not quite. A... | More »

February 1, 1991

Book of Love

Chris Young, Keith Coogan, Aeryk Egan

Directed by: Robert Shaye

What the world needs now is a lot of things, but I suspect that one of them is not another movie about growing up in the Fifties. The motivation for the film's central character, Jack Twiller (ably played by Chris Young), is getting a date for the prom and, of course, getting laid. Jack's dream girl is Lily (Josie Bissett), a blond tease attached to the beefy school thug Angelo Gabooch (Beau Dremann). So Jack spends time goofing off with his buddies Crutch (Keith Coogan) and Floyd (... | More »

Queens Logic

Kevin Bacon, Linda Fiorentino, John Malkovich

Directed by: Steve Rash

This one had promise. A Wedding in Queens reunites five guys from the old neighborhood. Dennis (Kevin Bacon) has been in L.A. scrounging for jobs as a musician; Vinnie (Tony Spiridakis) is struggling as an actor in Manhattan; Al (Joe Mantegna) stayed in Queens, married Carla (Linda Fiorentino) and now runs a fish company and chases babes – Grace (Jamie Lee Curtis) is his latest; Eliot (John Malkovich) is a homosexual who works for Al; and Ray (Ken Olin) is an artist who dreams of workin... | More »

January 25, 1991

Too Much Sun

Allan Arbus, Robert Downey Jr., Howard Duff

Directed by: Robert Downey Sr.

This sex farce exhibits a desperate need to shock: When wealthy O.M. Rivers (Howard Duff) dies, his two children – Sonny (Eric Idle) and Bitsy (Andrea Martin) – are stunned that avaricious Father Kelly (Jim Haynie) has arranged for the church to inherit the Rivers fortune unless Sonny or Bitsy can produce a child by natural means in a year. The snag is that Sonny and Bitsy are gay. But they're also determined to meet the challenge, much to the horror of their respective lover... | More »

January 18, 1991

Cadence

Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen, Laurence Fishburne

Directed by: Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen makes his directing debut with this military drama mixed with laughs. It isn't awful — just bland, which is worse. Set on an army base in West Germany in the Sixties, the film stars Sheen as Sergeant Otis McKinney, a hard-ass combat vet in charge of the work-camp stockade. His new prisoner, the rebellious Private Franklin F. Bean — played by Charlie Sheen, the director's son — is a real disciplinary challenge. To teach Bean a lesson, the racist McKinne... | More »

Hamlet

Mel Gibson

Directed by: Franco Zeffirelli

You already know the play. The question is, how's the new actor? In what has been grossly underestimated as a dramatic leap, Mel Gibson moves from the asinine Bird on a Wire to the Bard of Avon. Credit Gibson for guts. He doesn't disgrace himself, but he doesn't distinguish himself either. Gibson gives the melancholy Dane an earnest but pedestrian reading. An early three-year stint at Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Arts has served him well; that is, he might ge... | More »

Men of Respect

John Turturro, Katherine Borowitz, Dennis Farina

Directed by: William Reilly

Hard on the heels of Francis Ford Coppola, who reworked Shakespeare's King Lear for his Godfather Part III crime saga, comes writer-director William Reilly, who is making his feature debut by turning the Bard's Macbeth into a modern-day Mob tragedy. John Turturro (Miller's Crossing) stars as Mike Battaglia, a hood who proves his worth in the opening shootout by slaying the enemies of his padrino, Charlie D'Amico (Rod Steiger). In no time he's D'Amico's fair-... | More »

Flight of the Intruder

Danny Glover, Willem Dafoe, Brad Johnson

Directed by: John Milius

Techno-Thrillers are the hot thing these days, thanks to Tom Clancy. The film of Clancy's Hunt for Red October couldn't touch the book for the kind of military details that make armchair Pattons orgasmic, but it was huckstered into a hit anyway. Hunt producer Mace Neufeld is hoping lightning will strike again with Flight, based on a Clancy-like 1986 bestseller by Stephen Coonts about navy pilots in North Vietnam, circa 1972. The techno part involves the A-6 Intruder, a low-altitude ... | More »

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