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movie reviews

Taxi Blues

Pyotr Mamonov, Pyotr Zaychenko, Vladimir Kashpur

Directed by: Pavel Lungin

In a caustic comedy of startling originality, writer and first-time director Pavel Lounguine takes an unblinking look at Moscow in the glasnost era through the antics of Chlykov (Piotr Zaitchenko), an antisemitic Russian cabbie, and Lyosha (Piotr Mamonov), a vodka-swilling Jewish sax player. Done at a high level of imaginative energy – Denis Evstigneev's location camera work is strikingly vivid – the film is the Soviet entry in the foreign-language Oscar sweepstakes. Loungui... | More »

Once Around

Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, Danny Aiello

Directed by: Lasse Hallström

This slickly packaged romantic comedy seemed an incongruous choice to kick off the 1991 Sundance Film Festival, on January 17th in Utah. Robert Redford founded the Sundance Institute ten years ago to showcase American independent films and to assist venturesome projects such as El Norte, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez and 84 Charlie Mopic. Once Around arrives with a fat-cat studio (Universal), a lauded Swedish director (Lasse Hallström of My Life as a Dog) and a cast headed by Oscar nomin... | More »

Hamlet

Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates

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

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 »

Once Around

Holly Hunter

Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom

This slickly packaged romantic comedy seemed an incongruous choice to kick off the 1991 Sundance Film Festival, on January 17th in Utah. Robert Redford founded the Sundance Institute ten years ago to showcase American independent films and to assist venturesome projects such as El Norte, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez and 84 Charlie Mopic. Once Around arrives with a fat-cat studio (Universal), a lauded Swedish director (Lasse Hallstrom of My Life as a Dog) and a cast headed by Oscar nominees (... | More »

January 15, 1991

Mr. and Mrs. Bridge

Paul Newman

Directed by: James Ivory

Director James Ivory and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala have painstakingly adapted two outstanding novels by Evan S. Connell about the strained marriage of a ramrod-stiff Kansas City lawyer and his inhibited wife. The film tells the story of Walter and India Bridge, played by Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, by means of a series of vignettes that move through the Thirties and Forties as their children grow up and go off to worlds more violent, erotic and dangerous than anything the Bridges... | More »

January 11, 1991

Green Card

Gerard Depardieu

Directed by: Peter Weir

Fresh from his triumph in Cyrano de Bergerac, Gallic wonder Gérard Depardieu takes on Hollywood and the English language in this captivating romantic bonbon filmed in New York by writer-director Peter Weir (Dead Poets Society). Depardieu plays an out-of-work French composer who enters into an arranged marriage with an American horticulturist, played by Andie MacDowell. She gets an apartment that only accepts married tenants, and he gets a green card, i.e., a U.S. work permit. Don't ... | More »

Not Without My Daughter

Sally Field, Alfred Molina, Sheila Rosenthal

Directed by: Brian Gilbert

There's something terribly wrong when a harrowing true story reaches the screen and feels false in every particular. This film is based on a book by Betty Mahmoody (with William Hoffer), an American housewife who risked torture and death to escape from Iran with her young daughter, Mahtob, in 1986. Betty had been reluctant to leave her Michigan home eighteen months earlier when her husband, Moody, an Iranian doctor who had lived and practiced in America for twenty years, wanted to return... | More »

January 10, 1991

Alice

Mia Farrow, William Hurt, Alec Baldwin

Directed by: Woody Allen

Mia Farrow is Alice Tate, the way Diane Keaton was Annie Hall – a real-life inspiration for Woody Allen to make a romantic comedy that contrasts his urban Jewish intellectual take on sex, love, religion and death with the views of a woman from a strikingly different background. Instead of Annie the WASP, this time it's Alice the Catholic. Alice is an overprivileged wife and mother. Her wonderland is Manhattan, where her stockbroker husband (nicely tweaked by William Hurt) gives her... | More »

December 25, 1990

The Godfather: Part III

Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Andy Garcia

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

Few sequels can match the charge of anticipation you feel before watching the third part of Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather series. The first two parts – released in 1972 and 1974 – won Oscars as Best Picture and rank as the twin peaks of Mob movies. The lives of Don Vito Corleone (played by Marlon Brando and then Robert De Niro) and his children – Michael (Al Pacino), Fredo (John Cazale), Sonny (James Caan) and Connie (Talia Shire) – have become the stuff of mov... | More »

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