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movie reviews

The Lemon Sisters

Diane Keaton, Carol Kane, Kathryn Grody

Directed by: Joyce Chopra

A Movie Starring Three Women (Diane Keaton, Carol Kane and Kathryn Grody) and directed by another (Smooth Talk's Joyce Chopra) is so rare in macho-or-die Hollywood that The Lemon Sisters deserves credit just for being made. But the credit stops there. Why would these proven talents saddle themselves with a lame comedy script, attributed to Jeremy Pisker, that views women as insufferably whimsical airheads? Eloise (Keaton), Franki (Kane) and Nola (Grody) grew up pals in Atlantic City, wh... | More »

August 24, 1990

Dreams

Akira Terao, Mitsuko Baishô, Toshie Negishi

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

Travelers in a blizzard are bewitched by a snow fairy; a small boy spies on a wedding procession of foxes; crows rise majestically above a wheat field. These are just a few of the awesome images in this eight-part free-form film from Akira Kurosawa (Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Ran). While Hollywood's young Turks hustle to duplicate last year's hot model in action hardware, the eighty-year-old director remains a rambunctious risk taker. Dreams is overlong: A parade of images – ev... | More »

Life is Cheap... But Toilet Paper is Expensive

Cheng Wan Kin, John Chan, Kwan-Min Cheng

Directed by: Wayne Wang, Spencer Nakasako

It's different. An Asian-American man, played by this film's screenwriter, Spencer Nakasako, flies from San Francisco to Hong Kong to deliver a briefcase to the Big Boss (Lo Wai). Eager to visit the port city before China reclaims it from Britain in 1997, the man encounters a hooker, a cabdriver, a geriatric "sex dancing" teacher and a butcher who interrupts his duck killing to deliver the sage aphorism that is the title. Director Wayne Wang (Chan Is Missing) lets the camera run wi... | More »

Darkman

Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, Colin Friels

Directed by: Sam Raimi

This High-Camp hoot of a horror film is so shamelessly dumb, derivative and over the top that it defies any standard of critical judgment. It's like The Phantom of the Opera directed by the Marx Brothers. Actually, Sam Raimi -- wearing three hats as director, coproducer and co-writer -- gets the credit or debit, depending on your tolerance for this sort of nonsense. Because Raimi's early low-budget shockers (The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II) have spawned an avid cult, there should be ... | More »

After Dark, My Sweet

Jason Patric, Bruce Dern

Directed by: James Foley

Jim Thompson wrote twenty-nine lean and lowdown novels before his death in 1977. Two of these memorably warped potboilers — The Getaway and The Killer Inside Me — have been turned into disappointingly conventional Hollywood movies. This year we'll see three more film adaptations of Thompson's work — The Grifters, The Kill-Off and, first on deck, After Dark, My Sweet, which was published in 1955 but updated to the present for the screen. Directed by James Foley ("At... | More »

Akira Kurosawa's Dreams

Martin Scorsese

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

Travelers in a blizzard are bewitched by a snow fairy; a small boy spies on a wedding procession of foxes; crows rise majestically above a wheat field. These are just a few of the awesome images in this eight-part free-form film from Akira Kurosawa (Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Ran). While Hollywood's young Turks hustle to duplicate last year's hot model in action hardware, the eighty-year-old director remains a rambunctious risk taker. Dreams is overlong: A parade of images — ev... | More »

August 22, 1990

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 »

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