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movie reviews

Pump Up the Volume

Christian Slater

Directed by: Allan Moyle

Christian Slater has been frittering away his talent lately in such junk as The Wizard, Tales From the Darkside and Young Guns II. For a while it looked as if the anarchic wit he brought to his starring role as the psycho teen with the Jack Nicholson drawl in Heathers might have been a fluke. His new movie, Pump Up the Volume, is certainly no Heathers — though it also concerns disaffected teens. But Slater gives an electrifying performance. He plays Mark Hunter, an introverted student ... | More »

August 17, 1990

Wild At Heart

Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, Crispin Glover, Harry Dean Stanton

Directed by: David Lynch

Imagine The Wizard Of Oz with an oversexed witch, gun-toting Munchkins and love ballads from Elvis Presley, and you'll get some idea of this erotic hellzapoppin from writer-director David Lynch. Lynch's kinky fairy tale is a triumph of startling images and comic invention. In adapting Barry Gifford's book Wild at Heart for the screen, Lynch does more than tinker. Starting with the outrageous and building from there, he ignites a slight love-on-the-run novel, creating a bonfire ... | More »

August 10, 1990

The Two Jakes

Jack Nicholson, Harvey Keitel, Meg Tilly

Directed by: Jack Nicholson

It's ironic that the best movie about the Watergate era is Chinatown, a detective story set in 1937, nearly four decades ahead of the political coverup that shook the nation. Released in 1974, two years before the real Watergate tale was filmed in All the President's Men, Chinatown exposed moral rot masked by official sanctimony. In a juicy role, Jack Nicholson starred as Jake Gittes, a Los Angeles private eye on a divorce case who accidentally uncovers a land scam that extends to t... | More »

Air America

Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr., Nancy Travis

Directed by: Roger Spottiswoode

In its inane but escalating battle to prove that any subject -- no matter how complex -- can be trivialized as a buddy picture, Hollywood has spewed out Air America. This Vietnamera mind-number stars Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. as flyboys who trade quips and share close-ups as the bullets fly and the laughs come tumbling down. Downey is Billy Covington, a big-city chopper pilot who reported traffic conditions for a radio station before losing his license for razzing asshole drivers. Long... | More »

Flatliners

Keifer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin

Directed by: Joel Schumacher

Superficially provocative and deeply silly, this film at least starts with an original idea from first-time screenwriter Peter Filardi: Obsessed with the stories of patients who died on the operating table only to be revived after a few minutes, five medical students meet secretly. Each volunteers to be put to death under the supervision of the others and then brought back to life to report his or her experiences. They call themselves flatliners (a flat line on EKG and EEG machines signifies ... | More »

Air America

Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr., Nancy Travis, Ken Jenkins, David Marshall Grant

Directed by: Roger Spottiswoode

This Vietnamera mind-number stars Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. as flyboys who trade quips and share close-ups as the bullets fly and the laughs come tumbling down. Downey is Billy Covington, a big-city chopper pilot who reported traffic conditions for a radio station before losing his license for razzing asshole drivers. Longing to do some real flying, Billy is recruited by the government for a secret and safe (he thinks) civilian airline in Laos. Gibson's Gene Ryack knows better; h... | More »

Two Jakes

Jack Nicholson, Harvey Keitel

Directed by: Jack Nicholson

It's ironic that the best movie about the Watergate era is Chinatown, a detective story set in 1937, nearly four decades ahead of the political coverup that shook the nation. Released in 1974, two years before the real Watergate tale was filmed in All the President's Men, Chinatown exposed moral rot masked by official sanctimony. In a juicy role, Jack Nicholson starred as Jake Gittes, a Los Angeles private eye on a divorce case who accidentally uncovers a land scam that extends to t... | More »

August 3, 1990

Metropolitan

Carolyn Farina, Edward Clements, Chris Eigeman

Directed by: Whit Stillman

It's a shock to find a summer movie in which no weapons are fired. But writer-director Whit Stillman's marvelously literate, comic and romantic debut film -- produced for under $1 million with an extraordinary cast of unknowns -- suffers no loss in impact. Admittedly, the subject sounds twitty: New York society debs and the rich college preppies who escort them to balls and then to late "after parties." But Stillman examines the "UHB" (urban haute bourgeoisie) like an anthropologist... | More »

Mo' Better Blues

Samuel L. Jackson

Directed by: Spike Lee

At least a half-dozen movies are struggling to get out of the ambitious but maddening hodgepodge that is writer-producer-director Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues. At the center is a romantic triangle: Bleek Gilliam, the Brooklyn-born jazz trumpeter played by Denzel Washington, is juggling two women — Indigo Downes, a dedicated schoolteacher played by Joie Lee (Spike's sister), and Clarke Bentancourt, an aspiring singer and sexual bombshell played by newcomer Cynda Williams. ... | More »

August 1, 1990

Young Guns II

Christian Slater

Directed by: Geoff Murphy

Decked out in cowboy gear and ready for action is the pistol-packing cast of Young Guns II, headed by Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Phillips. Together they look as if they might make a terrific fashion spread or a movie poster. What they can't make is a watchable movie. The first Young Guns, in 1988, was an endurance test for all but those who think ogling young actors in tight britches is a fascinating way to spend two hours. Though it seems impossible, the sequel is... | More »

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