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movie reviews

I Love You To Death

River Phoenix

Directed by: Lawrence Kasdan

Something pulls you up short right at the start of this bizarre comedy: The impish glint in Tracey Ullman's eye is missing. Ullman plays Rosalie Boca, a frumpy housewife and mother of two who helps her husband, Joey (Kevin Kline), run a pizzeria in Tacoma. Rosalie is nice but dim; she doesn't notice Joey's obvious infidelities. Everyone else does, including Nadja (Joan Plowright), Rosalie's Yugoslavian mother, and Devo (River Phoenix), the spiritual young pizza chef who do... | More »

March 31, 1990

The Laserman

Marc Hayashi, Maryann Urbano, Tony Leung Ka Fai

Directed by: Peter Wang

Misuse of science is an odd subject for a screwball thriller, unless you factor in writer-director-actor Peter Wang. A laser specialist with a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, the Chinese-born Wang changed vocations when he learned his work was serving government weapons programs. His lifelong interest in the arts led him to film. In 1982, director Wayne Wang (no relation) cast him as a cook in Chan Is Missing; his jolly performance won raves. Four years later, Peter Wang made h... | More »

March 30, 1990

Santa Sangre

Axel Jodorowsky, Blanca Guerra, Guy Stockwell

Directed by: Alejandro Jodorowsky

The parade of perversity marches on with this eye-popping oddity from Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, who set gorges rising on the cult circuit back in 1971 with El Topo. Fenix, the central character in Santa Sangre (Holy Blood), has problems. At eight, Fenix – played by Jodorowsky's son Adan – is caught between bickering parents: a circus-ringmaster father, Orgo (Guy Stockwell), and a religious-fanatic mother, Concha (Blanca Guerra). Orgo's fling with the tattooe... | More »

March 29, 1990

How to Get Ahead in Advertising

Richard E. Grant, Rachel Ward

Directed by: Bruce Robinson

Steve Martin communed with his nose in Roxanne, Michael Caine lectured his severed fingers in The Hand, and in the upcoming Me and Him Griffin Dunne chats up his penis. But not until this vigorous, cheerfully outrageous British satire has a character ever argued with a nasty boil on his neck. Worse, the boil sasses back. The pustule in question has risen on Dennis Bagley, a London advertising whiz who harvests a fortune for his clients by playing on the public's fear of dandruff, piles,... | More »

March 23, 1990

Pretty Woman

Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Jason Alexander

Directed by: Garry Marshall

Years from now, Hollywood historians may try to pinpoint the precise moment when Julia Roberts became a star. Forget her sexy entrance in Mystic Pizza or her Oscar-nominated martyr act in Steel Magnolias. It's here, about fifteen minutes into this silly-shallow comedy, when she's soaking in a tub in a posh hotel, radio earphones on, harmonizing off-key with Prince and oblivious of how she looks to Richard Gere, who's watching her and losing his heart like the rest of us. The Ro... | More »

March 16, 1990

Lord of the Flies

Balthazar Getty, Chris Furrh, Danuel Pipoly

Directed by: Harry Hook

William Golding's 'Lord of the Flies' is a celebrated book with an off-putting reputation. The novel isn't read, it's taught -- drummed into the heads of students since it was published in 1954. Writing about a group of British schoolboys who turn savage when cut off from civilization on an island, Golding fashioned a bitter allegory to expose the beast in man. Academia was agog. In 1963, director Peter Brook made a film version of the book that stressed every symbol ... | More »

March 9, 1990

Love at Large

Tom Berenger, Elizabeth Perkins, Anne Archer

Directed by: Alan Rudolph

The impossibly glamorous Miss Dolan, played with slinky panache by Anne Archer, is enjoying a tête-à-tête with private detective Harry Dobbs (an unusually lively Tom Berenger) at a nightclub where people customarily do impossibly glamorous things. Miss Dolan, for example, has just ordered a Manhattan served in a champagne glass. She has also hired Dobbs to trail her roving lover boy Rick. "As long as I know what Rick is doing," she says, holding back her tears, "I have a li... | More »

Joe Versus the Volcano

Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Lloyd Bridges

Directed by: John Patrick Shanley

Nothing too weird here. Tom Hanks is just a working stiff named Joe whose doctor (Robert Stack) tells him he has a short time to live. Hearing the news, Joe accepts an offer from a businessman (Lloyd Bridges). In exchange for a few days of fun on Bridges's credit cards, Joe will go to a South Seas island – the source of a mineral Bridges needs for his business – and jump in a volcano. The natives require a human sacrifice; their chief (Abe Vigoda) can't find any voluntee... | More »

Bad Influence

Rob Lowe, James Spader, Lisa Zane

Directed by: Curtis Hanson

Alex (Rob Lowe) is urging his new pal Michael (James Spader) to vitalize a boring yuppie life. At the office, Michael is stepped on by an ambitious colleague. At home, he's dominated by a rich fiancée. Alex introduces him to a hot number (Lisa Zane), then videotapes their sex play. "You make funny faces when you come," Alex tells Michael after reviewing the tape. In light of the controversy surrounding the infamous home video that Lowe shot with two young women at a Georgia hotel... | More »

Coupe de Ville

Patrick Dempsey, Arye Gross, Daniel Stern

Directed by: Joe Roth

It's 1963 -- a film Cliché for a more innocent time -- and the three Libner brothers are at one another's throats. Yes, it's a comedy. Air-force bully Marvin (Daniel Stern), college man Buddy (Arye Gross) and rebel Bobby (Patrick Dempsey) are driving a Cadillac Coupe de Ville from Michigan to Florida. Yes, it's a road picture. The Caddy is a surprise birthday gift from the boys' father (Alan Arkin) to the boys' mother (Rita Taggart), and Dad wants the car ... | More »

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