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movie reviews

Quick Change

Geena Davis

Directed by: Bill Murray, Howard Franklin

Bill Murray dresses up as a clown to take hostages and rob a New York bank. Funny? Guess again. As star, coproducer and codirector (with screenwriter Howard Franklin), Murray must take a good chunk of the blame for the funereal pace of this caper comedy. I can usually find something good about Murray in anything, even Ghostbusters II, but I know when I'm licked. Murray walks through this turkey looking benumbed. The bank heist drags on while Murray plays games with the cops, headed by J... | More »

Ghost

Whoopi Goldberg, Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Tony Goldwyn, Stanley Lawrence

Directed by: Jerry Zucker

Jerry Zucker has directed films (Airplane!, Ruthless People) in tandem with his brother David and their friend Jim Abrahams, but now Jerry's going solo. He says the Bruce Joel Rubin screenplay for Ghost — about the love between the living and the dead — is "unlike anything I had read before." Obviously, Zucker never read the scripts to Blithe Spirit, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, to name just three classic movies with the same theme. And there ha... | More »

July 4, 1990

Die Hard 2

Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, William Atherton, William Sadler, Reginald VelJohnson

Directed by: Renny Harlin

"How does the same shit happen to the same guy twice?" asks Detective John McClane, the heroic smartass New York cop played with winning bravado by Bruce Willis. Simple. If your movie's a hit, as the first Die Hard was in 1988, you do a sequel, and you change as little as possible. The locale has been switched from an L.A. high-rise to a Washington, D.C., airport, but otherwise McClane is again trying to save his wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), and innocent citizens from terrorists. The ac... | More »

June 27, 1990

Days of Thunder

Nicole Kidman

Directed by: Tony Scott

Producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer have raised formula films to a science. Take a star — it could be Beverly Hills cop Eddie Murphy, but here it's the producers' top gun, Tom Cruise — mix in fast planes, bikes, cars or anything that makes a deafening noise, add a sexy woman, a few fights, a few laughs, a rock soundtrack (flashdance, what a feeling), and presto, you've got a critic-proof blockbuster. It was Cruise, a racing enthusiast, who had the idea to m... | More »

June 22, 1990

May Fools

Miou-Miou, Michel Piccoli, Michel Duchaussoy

Directed by: Louis Malle

In a large, slightly run-down villa in the French countryside, Madame Vieuzac (Paulette Dubost) prepares a meal for her sixtyish son Milou (Michel Piccoli), who is tending beehives in the garden. On the radio an announcer speaks of student demonstrations in Paris. It is May 1968. The old woman's face clouds with pain, but it has nothing to do with the news that insurrection is in the air. The matriarch is suffering a heart attack, and her death will bring her family from Paris to bicker ... | More »

Robocop 2

Peter Weller

Directed by: Irvin Kershner

It's difficult to imagine a summer film programmed more cynically than this repugnant sequel. Three years ago, director Paul Verhoeven made something vividly satirical and scary with the futuristic tale of Alex J. Murphy (Peter Weller), a Detroit cop killed on duty and transformed by an evil corporation into a law-and-order cyborg, RoboCop. Weller's soulful eyes, peering through his visor, suggested feelings that hadn't died — the man was still fighting the machine. From... | More »

June 15, 1990

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 »

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