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movie reviews

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 »

A Dry White Season

Donald Sutherland, Janet Suzman, Zakes Mokae

Directed by: Euzhan Palcy

Marlon Brando, Al Pacino's Mafia daddy in The Godfather, is also enjoying a comeback. Offscreen since The Formuls in 1980, Brando returns in this provocative drama of apartheid, playing a British barrister who specializes in human rights. The role is small. The actor isn't. No jumbo jokes, please. Brando's girth is formidable, but so is his talent. Despite great portrayals (A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, Last Tango in Paris), Brando, now sixty-five, has dismissed ... | More »

Queen of Hearts

Anita Zagaria, Joseph Long

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 m... | More »

September 15, 1989

Sea of Love

Al Pacino, Ellen Barkin, John Goodman

Directed by: Harold Becker

With 'sea of love', his first good movie in fourteen years, Al Pacino ends a hellish losing streak: Bobby Deerfield (1977),. . . And Justice for All (1979), Cruising (1980), Author! Author! (1982), Scar-face (1983), Revolution (1985). I can't think of a great actor, and Pacino is a great actor, who has thrown us so many curveballs. These films, like Pacino's performances in them, aren't forgivable or forgettable. They're memorably, indefensibly atrocious. As a Cu... | More »

The Big Picture

Jennifer Jason Leigh, Martin Short

Directed by: Christopher Guest

You keep rooting for this Hollywood sendup to make it, even as the bad ideas start gaining on the good. What a concept: Create a comedy about a student filmmaker (Kevin Bacon) who wins a chance to develop a movie at a major studio and along the way compromises his talent, betrays his best friend, takes up with a conniving starlet, loses his sweetie and ends up in squalor until he catches on that success comes only when you stay true to yourself. Director Christopher Guest (an actor making hi... | More »

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