movie reviews


Meryl Streep, Roseanne Barr

Directed by: Susan Seidelman

Director Susan Seidelman takes aim at the box office with the team of movie queen Meryl Streep and TV slob queen Roseanne Barr. She misfires. Streep gets all the jokes, and Barr, looking stranded, plays it straight. Worse, nobody's bothered to write them a big scene together. But for a while you can see the possibilities. Streep, liberated from the constraints of high drama, has a ball playing romance novelist Mary Fisher, a delicate flower who lives in a lavish Long Island mansion where... | More »

November 17, 1989


Annette Bening

Directed by: Milos Forman

Just to pique your interest: the plot concerns two former bed mates heavily into sex games. She's a widow; he's a playboy. He yearns to get her back in the sack for one night. Fine by her, but she wants two favors first: Seduce a fifteen-year-old virgin, and turn a goody-goody married woman into a slut. Sound familiar? It should. Think of eighteenth-century France with scads of elegant costumes, powdered wigs and heaving bosoms. Just last year, director Stephen Frears told the stor... | More »

November 15, 1989

Steel Magnolias

Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine

Directed by: Herbert Ross

No use fighting it. this laugh-getting, tear-jerking, part-affecting, part-appalling display of audience manipulation is practically critic-proof. Robert Harling's long-running off-Broadway play concerns six women who regularly congregate in a Louisiana beauty parlor. Now Harling, who based the story on his mother and sister and their gal pals, has gussied up his stage hit for the movies. And producer Ray Stark and director Herbert Ross have wisely hired the luminous likes of Sally Field... | More »

November 10, 1989

My Left Foot

Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, Alison Whelan

Directed by: Jim Sheridan

Christy Brown, Who Died at forty-nine in 1981 after choking on food, was a working-class Dubliner who relished family (he was the tenth of twenty-two children), pranks, girls, drinking, brawling, painting and writing. The last two brought him fame. Brown's autobiography, on which this extraordinary movie is based, details all of his enthusiasms plus one hell of a disability: Brown was born with cerebral palsy. His damaged brain allowed him control only over the movement in his left foot ... | More »

November 8, 1989

Henry V

Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, Simon Shepherd

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh

Make no mistake. Kenneth Branagh is a cocksure twenty-eight-year-old talent explosion from Belfast, Ireland. He's already debuted with London's prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, starred in movies (High Season, A Month in the Country) and on British television (Fortunes of War), created his own Renaissance Theater Company and written his autobiography, Beginning. His next step is even more audacious. It's been only a few months since the death of the great Laurence Olivier... | More »

November 7, 1989

Mystery Train

Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Granted, writer and director Jim Jarmusch isn't everybody's idea of independent-filmmaking energy unbound. His previous movies (Permanent Vacation, Stranger Than Paradise, Down by Law) have been called minimalist, marginal and lulling. And that's by those who say they enjoy them. His detractors use words like dull, petty and numbing. The spare but richly funny Mystery Train (the final part of a trilogy begun with Stranger) ought to go a long way toward defusing the naysayers. I... | More »

October 27, 1989


Jack Lemmon, Ted Danson, Olympia Dukakis

Directed by: Gary David Goldberg

In his Debut as a Feature Director, Gary David Goldberg -- creator of NBC's Family Ties -- may have brought forth the ultimate tear-jerker. Dad, based on William Wharton's 1982 novel, grafts on elements from nearly every weepie made since sound arrived. It's Goldberg's Frankenstein. And he labors mightily to bring the dead thing to life. Jack Lemmon, wearing exaggerated old-age makeup to look seventy-eight, stars as Jake Tremont, a long-retired L.A. factory worker estrang... | More »

Immediate Family

Glenn Close, James Woods, Mary Stuart Masterson

Directed by: Jonathan Kaplan

Lucy Moore, The Seventeen-year-old played by Mary Stuart Masterson, is pregnant by Sam (Kevin Dillon), a Guns n' Roses fanatic with no job prospects. Lucy doesn't want an abortion, so a lawyer arranges an open adoption with Linda and Michael Spector, an infertile couple from Seattle. Problem number 1: Glenn Close and James Woods play the well-meaning Spectors; he's a veterinarian, she sells real estate. Both actors make yeoman efforts to look like they stepped out of thirty-so... | More »

October 18, 1989

Apartment Zero

Hart Bochner, Colin Firth, Dora Bryan

Directed by: Martin Donovan

Adrian leduc, played with uncommon skill by Colin Firth, manages a movie house in Buenos Aires that specializes in revivals. During off hours, Adrian grudgingly allows his cashier and her friends to use his theater for political meetings. A series of grisly murders around the city has led human-rights groups to believe that the killings are the work of a former member of an Argentine death squad. But Adrian can't be bothered with such matters. His business is failing, and he must now thi... | More »

October 13, 1989

Story of Women

Isabelle Huppert, François Cluzet, Nils Tavernier

Directed by: Claude Chabrol

This film may be in french, but that won't stop its star, Isabelle Huppert, from winning acting accolades in every country where her work is shown; she's already won at the Venice Film Festival. Huppert, whose American movies include The Bedroom Window and Heaven's Gate, has seized the role of a life-time. The film is based on the real story of Marie-Louise Giraud (here called Marie Latour), one of the last women to be executed in France. Her crime, for which she was guillotine... | More »

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