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movie reviews

Dick Tracy

Al Pacino

Directed by: Warren Beatty

After all the hype, the movie of Dick Tracy turns out to be a great big beautiful bore. Many viewers (myself excluded) felt the same thing about Batman, last year's box-office biggie, with which Tracy shares more than an origin in the funny papers. Batman also has a loner hero, a grotesque villain, a blond bombshell, a marketable pop soundtrack and a no-mercy merchandising campaign. But Batman possesses something else: a psychological depth that gives the audience a stake in the characte... | More »

June 8, 1990

How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired

Isaach De Bankolé, Maka Kotto, Roberta Weiss

Directed by: Jacques W. Benoit

Despite the teaser title, this is not a racist porn film. Haw to Make Love is based on an acclaimed semi-autobiographical novel by Dany Laferrière, a Haitian journalist who immigrated to Montreal in 1978. Laferrière -- like the book's protagonist, Man -- writes to explode black sexual myths and to escape a life of poverty. Laferrière's satirical treatment of a serious subject (racial stereotypes) helped make the novel a bestseller. Even though Laferrière... | More »

June 1, 1990

Total Recall

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside

Directed by: Paul Verhoeven

Early in this jolting, jumbo-budgeted ($62 million) futuristic thriller, Arnold Schwarzenegger jams a nasty pair of pliers up his nose and yanks out a brain implant that looks like a metal golf ball. That Ah-nold, he sure as hell knows how to pump an audience up. Based on a Philip K. Dick short story, "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale," Total Recall (shot in Mexico) is set on Earth in the year 2084. Schwarzenegger plays Doug Quaid, a construction worker with a sexy blond wife (Sharon Sto... | More »

Alligator Eyes

Annabelle Larsen, Roger Kabler, Mary McLain

Directed by: John Feldman

Though this thriller never lives up to its potential, it gets off to a scorching start. Three New York friends drive south for a vacation. Robbie (Roger Kabler) has just split up with his girl, while Lance (Allen McCullough) and Marjorie (Mary McLain) are trying to renew their once hot romance. On the road the trio picks up a hitchhiker whose long legs are set off by a short skirt and red spike heels. Her name is Pauline (Annabelle Larsen), and her presence is so hypnotic that it takes hours ... | More »

May 25, 1990

Back to the Future Part III

Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Mary Steenburgen

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

It looked like a dream deal. Instead of just one sequel to Back to the Future -- the smash 1985 fantasy that raked in $358 million -- how about two sequels, shot back to back and released within six months of each other? The unprecedented double whammy would make film history and, better yet, quite a bundle. Sure the $80 million budget was steep, but it would cost about $15 million more if the films were shot separately. And consider this: Michael J. Fox, who stars as time traveler Marty McFl... | More »

Jesus of Montreal

Lothaire Bluteau, Catherine Wilkening, Johanne-Marie Tremblay

Directed by: Denys Arcand

Nominated for an Oscar this year as Best Foreign Film, this Canadian gem, from writer-director Denys Arcand (The Decline of the American Empire), is a sharply perceptive satire of modern Christianity. Father Leclerc (Gilles Pelletier), a Catholic priest in Montreal, hires an itinerant actor named Daniel (Lothaire Bluteau) to put on his church's annual Passion play. Leclerc, a theater buff, is looking for something less traditional this year, and he gets it. To play Mary, Daniel chooses ... | More »

May 18, 1990

Cadillac Man

Robin Williams, Tim Robbins, Pamela Reed

Directed by: Roger Donaldson

Another exhibit to prove the dire state of film humor is this hostage comedy – how's that for a contradiction in terms? – about a jealous husband who threatens to blow up a luxury-car showroom in Queens. Tim Robbins (Bull Durham) is Larry, the rifle-toting nut case who rides his motorcycle through the plate-glass window of Turgeon Auto, demanding to know which of the salesmen and customers have been screwing his wife, Turgeon's receptionist (An-nabella Sciorra). Salesman... | More »

Bird on a Wire

Mel Gibson, Goldie Hawn, David Carradine

Directed by: John Badham

If Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn can keep this conspicuously stupid action farce aloft at the box office for more than a few weeks, they probably deserve their inflated star salaries. It took three writers (David Seltzer, Louis Venosta and Eric Lerner) to devise one screenplay that states the obvious with no redeeming sense of shame. Example: Hawn, playing attorney Marianne Graves, is put in situations in which men can ogle her while the camera plays peekaboo up her skirts. Established: Hawn is ... | More »

Strapless

Blair Brown, Bruno Ganz, Bridget Fonda

Directed by: David Hare

Two Vibrant American Sisters share a flat in England: It sounds like the premise for a frothy farce. But in the hands of British writer-director David Hare (Wetherby), it becomes a moral fable of resonant complexity. The older sister, Lillian, Blair Brown of TV's Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, is a doctor who has worked at a London cancer hospital for over a decade. Devoted to her job but wary of personal entanglements (she's just ended a long relationship with an actor), Lillian is... | More »

May 16, 1990

White Hunter, Black Heart

Clint Eastwood, Jeff Fahey, Charlotte Cornwell, Norman Lumsden, George Dzundza

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

It's a shock at first to see the usually stoic Clint Eastwood sporting a scarf and a huge grin while calling people "Dear." But this provocative and entertaining film, directed by and starring Eastwood, is all about risk. In his only partially successful efforts to master the flamboyant mannerisms and speech of director John Huston, a role he was not born to play, Eastwood is pushing against his limits, just as he did by directing the jazz film Bird. Breaking rules was also a Huston spec... | More »

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