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movie reviews

Book of Love

Keith Coogan, Josie Bissett, Tricia Leigh Fisher

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 »

September 28, 1990

Pacific Heights

Melanie Griffith, Matthew Modine, Michael Keaton

Directed by: John Schlesinger

Another ride down Hitchcock road, but a jolting and hypnotic one, thanks to fleet directing from John Schlesinger and a twisty script by Daniel Pyne. The story taps into a yuppie nightmare: Patty Palmer (Melanie Griffith) and Drake Goodman (Matthew Modine), lovers on the verge of marriage, have pooled their money for a down payment on a Victorian home in San Francisco. To help with expenses, they rent a studio downstairs to Carter Hayes (Michael Keaton), who's hardly the charmer he seems... | More »

King of New York

Christopher Walken, David Caruso, Laurence Fishburne

Directed by: Abel Ferrara

The King is Frank White, a New York City drug lord just out of jail and determined to reestablish his fiefdom among the Mob and the Chinese gangs who have cut into his operation. As played by a fiercely magnetic Christopher Walken, White is funny, disarming and lethal. Accompanied by two female bodyguards, he smoothly makes his rounds of chic hotel suites and grimy cocaine dens, getting off not just on sex, drugs and bucks but also on his own celebrity. The mantle of power this scum king wea... | More »

Texasville

Cybill Shepherd, Jeff Bridges, Annie Potts, Harvey Christiansen, Pearl Jones

Directed by: Peter Bogdanovich

You won't recognize the old crowd from The Last Picture Show: After thirty-three years, Jeff Bridges's high-school hero, Duane, has picked up a paunch, a tart-tongued wife (Annie Potts), rebellious kids and an oil fortune that has just gone bust; Cybill Shepherd's beauty queen, Jacy, shows a hard edge acquired from a film career and the death of her young son; Timothy Bottoms's dim Sonny seems to have forgotten his affair with Cloris Leachman's prim Ruth, who now work... | More »

September 27, 1990

Naked Tango

Vincent D'Onofrio

Directed by: Leonard Schrader

Writer-director Leonard Schrader opens his film with a clip from the 1921 silent classic Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, showing Rudolph Valentino doing a sizzling tango. Dumb move. Schrader's take on the "dance of sex without love" can't compete. Though the film strikingly re-creates the Argentinian underworld in 1924, the lurid script has the depth of a travel brochure. Stephanie (Mathilda May) is bored with her life as the wife of an old-coot judge (Fernando Rey). On a cruise sh... | More »

September 22, 1990

Miller's Crossing

Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, John Turturro

Directed by: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Here's a jewel of a gangster film from director Joel Coen and producer Ethan Coen, with the sterling screenplay credited to both. It's the best picture yet from the Coen brothers: They've further honed the talent they demonstrated in the film noir thriller Blood Simple (1984) and the kidnap comedy Raising Arizona (1987), but this time they're not just showing off their technique. There's a new self-assurance with no loss of wit or invention. Instead of merely looking ... | More »

September 21, 1990

The Tall Guy

Jeff Goldblum, Rowan Atkinson, Emma Thompson

Directed by: Mel Smith

Crack the shell of this insipid romantic farce and you'll find a smashingly comic satire at the core. Jeff Goldblum, in top form, stars as Dexter King, a tall American actor eager to make it on the London stage. Instead, he's stuck playing stooge for the egomaniacal comedian Ron Anderson, brilliantly skewered by British top banana Rowan Atkinson. Screenwriter Richard Curtis did straight-man duties in the London hit An Evening With Rowan Atkinson, and director Mel Smith staged the sh... | More »

Narrow Margin

Gene Hackman, Anne Archer, James Sikking

Directed by: Peter Hyams

In this threadbare thriller, the Mob messes up the sex life of divorced publishing executive Carol Hunnicut, played by Anne Archer. On a blind date in Los Angeles with Mob mouthpiece Michael Tarlow (J.T. Walsh), Carol accompanies him to his hotel suite only to watch in horror -- unobserved in an adjoining room -- as a crime lord (Harris Yulin) and his guntoting stooge blow the lawyer away for dipping in the till. A terrified Carol high-tails it to a remote cabin in the Canadian woods. In hot... | More »

September 19, 1990

GoodFellas

Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Get set for a crime wave at the movies. Between now and the year-end release of The Godfather Part III, Hollywood will be married to the Mob. The criminal element dominates in GoodFellas, Miller's Crossing, Narrow Margin, State of Grace, King of New York, Desperate Hours, Men of Respect, The Krays and The Grifters. And next year we'll see Dustin Hoffman as mobster Dutch Schultz in Billy Bathgate and Warren Beatty as racketeer Bugsy Siegel in Bugsy. It remains to be seen whether cri... | More »

September 14, 1990

Hardware

Dylan McDermott, Stacey Travis, John Lynch

Directed by: Richard Stanley

In this ultraviolent horror show, a nuclear holocaust has incinerated most of the world and left New York looking even grungier than usual. Jill, a sculptor played by Stacey Travis, has to check visitors to her apartment for radiation levels. Writer-director Richard Stanley and his production crew, most of them veterans of the music-video world (Stanley worked with Renegade Sound Wave and Pop Will Eat Itself), have a ball giving the picture a techno-junk look. A thrash-metal radio jock named ... | More »

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