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movie reviews

The Fabulous Baker Boys

Jeff Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer, Beau Bridges

Directed by: Steve Kloves

It's parsley," says susie diamond, A professional escort turned singer on the cocktail-lounge circuit. She's trying to explain to Frank Baker (Beau Bridges), one-half of the piano-playing duo that employs her -- Jack Baker (Jeff Bridges) is the other half- why she wants to cut that shopworn standard "Feelings" from the act Frank, a worrywart with a wife, kids, a mortgage and a penchant for pop drivel, is stung. "It's parsley," Susie says again. "Take it away and no one would kn... | More »

Crimes and Misdemeanors

Martin Landau, Woody Allen, Bill Bernstein

Directed by: Woody Allen

What we have in Crimes and Misdemeanors is the first American film comedy about the absence of God. Naturally, it's from Woody Allen, the director-writer-actor for whom laughs are never enough. That attitude rankles those drawn to Allen's simple comedies, from his first, Take the Money and Run (1969), to this year's New York Stories. No matter that Allen's more complex comedies, the kind suffused with melancholy, are his six masterworks (Annie Hall, Manhattan, Zelig, The p... | More »

Breaking In

Burty Reynolds

Directed by: Bill Forsyth

Burt Reynolds has tweaked his he-man image before; he was Cosmo's first nude male centerfold. But this? In his latest, a wry comedy about thieves, Burt sports a potbelly, gray hair and yellow teeth and limps around on a game leg. Don't panic. It's makeup. Reynolds's Ernie Mullins is an old-timer from Portland, Oregon, a safecracker who can't keep pace with the new technology but can't resist one last big job that could finance his retirement. His one mistake is h... | More »

Look Who's Talking

John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Olympia Dukakis, George Segal, Abe Vigoda

Directed by: Amy Heckerling

Ever since his smash in Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta has taken heat for making too many movies that show off his body and little else. None of that here. As a cabdriver named James in this witless farce, written and directed by Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Travolta looks puffy and pooped. But, oh, is he sensitive. James helpfully speeds Mollie (Kirstie Alley of Cheers), an unmarried, pregnant CPA, to the delivery room. Later, he babysits, offers moral support, friends... | More »

October 6, 1989

Drugstore Cowboy

Matt Dillon

Directed by: Gus Van Sant

Casting teen dream Matt Dillon as a junkie going straight sounds like one of those noxious notions dreamed up by a politician for yet another Just Say No campaign. Admirable causes usually make for deadly moviemaking. The film's beginning suggests this is no exception. Dillon's Bob Hughes, shot by a kid pusher, is near death. Bob narrates the story in a long flashback, waxing poetic about his days of robbing drugstores for a fix. Hearing Dillon's thick tongue trip over such twi... | More »

The Old Gringo

Jessica Tandy

Directed by: Luis Puenzo

You expect more of the film version of Carlos Fuentes's acclaimed novel of Mexico than Jane Fonda caught in the middle of a ¿Quién es más macho? match between Gregory Peck and Jimmy Smits. Still, it's a welcome diversion from the dull blur Argentinian director and co-writer Luis Puenzo (The Official Story) has made of the book's vivid vision of clashing cultures. nda has the thankless role of Harriet Winslow, a spinster from D.C. who revolts against... | More »

September 29, 1989

Welcome Home

Kris Kristofferson

Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner

Another bring-the-Vietnam-War-home movie. This one is so bad that it makes the faults of In Country seem like artistic flourishes. Kris Kristofferson is Lieutenant Jake Robbins, shot down over Cambodia in 1970 and presumed dead. His wife, Sarah (JoBeth Williams), certainly presumed so. She stayed in Vermont near Jake's widowed father, Harry (Brian Keith), but remarried, this time to Woody (Sam Waterston), a businessman who is raising Sarah and Jake's son, Tyler (Thomas Wilson Brown)... | More »

In Country

Bruce Willis

Directed by: Norman Jewison

When Emmett Smith (Bruce Willis) left his home in rural Kentucky to fight in Vietnam, he heard promises of his country's devotion. Decades later, Emmett — alienated, unemployed and plagued by waking nightmares of a war he's embarrassed he survived — mopes around his ramshackle house playing video games, watching M* A* S* H reruns and scratching a face rash that may be the result of Agent Orange. Emmett is a forgotten man. He is alone. In 1985, Bobbie Ann Mason's no... | More »

September 22, 1989

Black Rain

Michael Douglas

Directed by: Ridley Scott

In his Oscar-winning role in Wall Street, Michael Douglas was a scumbag trader who dirtied his soul but kept his hands clean. Now, as the grungy NYPD detective Nick Conklin, Douglas — in a galvanizing performance — dives right in the muck. Conklin is a rude, rule-breaking hothead. Disillusion is about to send him over the top. His wife's left him, his department suspects him of taking bribes, and his new assignment, baby-sitting a Japanese hood named Sato (Yusaku Matsuda) on ... | More »

September 20, 1989

Queen of Hearts

Vittorio Duse, Joseph Long, Anita Zagaria

Directed by: Jon Amiel

This movie moonbeam sneaks up on you. The opening scene plays like an Italian opera. In a beautiful town near Florence, Rosa (Anita Zagaria) -- a young bride-to-be -- flees Barbariccia (Vittorio Amandola), her intended, to run off with Danilo (Joseph Long), the man she loves. The rejected Barbariccia, knife in hand, chases them to the top of a tower. Preferring to face death rather than life without each other, Rosa and Danilo take a 120-foot leap. It's a gamble, the first of many in thi... | More »

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