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movie reviews

Star Trek V

William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley

Directed by: William Shatner

Few spectacles will lower your jaw to your lap faster this summer than the first oh-my-God glimpse of the aging crew members of the starship Enterprise reunited for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The joke goes that there haven't been so many wrinkles and wattles on parade since the California Raisins. But there's nothing funny about the desperate way the old gang resists the fact that time goes by. What could have been a heartfelt valedictory to the troops in the September of thei... | More »

Dead Poets Society

Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke

Directed by: Peter Weir

Tradition, honor, discipline, Excellence. That's the kind of propaganda the profs are filling students' heads with at stuffy Welton Academy, tucked away in the hills of Vermont. It's 1959. The activist Sixties are about to dawn, but you wouldn't know it from these priggish preps. They need a wake-up call. They get it from the new English teacher, a firebrand named John Keating. The picture gets it from Robin Williams, who plays Keating. Williams doesn't shout, "Good m... | More »

June 2, 1989

Renegades

Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Jami Gertz

Directed by: Jack Sholder

This one had the makings of a good, newfangled version of the old-fashioned, come-out-with-your-hands-up-or-your-guns-blazing, B-movie wallow. The opening diamond heist is a pip. And the cops-and-robbers car chase on the streets and sidewalks of Toronto (doubling for Philadelphia, where it's more expensive to shoot) is almost exciting enough to make you forget there ever was a Bullitt or a French Connection. Director Jack Sholder, whose work on The Hidden never got the credit it deserved... | More »

Vampire's Kiss

Nicolas Cage

Directed by: Robert Bierman

The bloodsuckers in this thriller may not have much bite, but here's a movie that can — it's guaranteed — drain the life out of an audience in minutes. The perpetually addled and adenoidal Nicolas Cage stars as a Manhattan literary agent. For kicks at the office, he browbeats his secretary (Maria Conchita Alonso). At night, he picks up whatever's handy in spike heels. One evening chez Cage, a bat swoops in the window and interrupts the agent's coital exertions.... | More »

June 1, 1989

Valentino Returns

Frederic Forrest, Veronica Cartwright

Directed by: Peter Hoffman

You can hear Jerry Lee Lewis rocking to "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" on the soundtrack of this Fifties period drama set in Stockton, California. The sounds on the radio are as lively as things get for restless Wayne Gibbs, played by Barry Tubb (Top Gun). Wayne wants to escape this stifling burg. Hell, he can't even get the town slut (Jenny Wright) to give him a tumble. Wayne's mom, Veronica Cartwright (The Witches of Eastwick), has also had it. She's weary of forgiving W... | More »

Twister

Harry Dean Stanton, Suzy Amis, Crispin Glover

Directed by: Michael Almereyda

Don't bother warning auntie em to take shelter in the fruit cellar. The tornado ripping through this fiendishly funny farce is more likely to cause psychic than property damage. The setting is contemporary Kansas, and Dorothy would hardly recognize the place; it looks like Oz gone to seed. This Cleveland family resides in a mansion that reflects conspicuous consumerism. There's even a live-in maid (Charlaine Woodard). But inside, everyone seems ready to crumble. Dad (Harry Dean Stan... | More »

May 26, 1989

The Rainbow

Sammi Davis, Amanda Donohoe, Paul McGann

Directed by: Ken Russell

Nearly Two Decades Ago, Wild man Ken Russell won acclaim for directing a flamboyantly overheated film version of the D.H. Lawrence novel Women in Love, starring Glenda Jackson. In the years since, Russell has escalated his assault on the senses with the likes of Tommy, Altered States, Crimes of Passion and last year's Lair of the White Worm, in which a nympho vampire strapped on a dildo to make a virgin sacrifice of Catherine Oxenberg. All this led me to fear the worst about Russell... | More »

Pink Cadillac

Clint Eastwood, Bernadette Peters, Timothy Carhart

Directed by: Buddy Van Horn

"You don't mess with a man's vehicle," says Clint Eastwood in an all-too-obvious attempt to coin a new slogan to vie with Dirty Harry's "Make my day." The attempt is feeble. So's the movie, an overlong, undercooked action comedy made out of retooled parts from other film vehicles. Eastwood stars as a skip tracer; that means he rounds up bail jumpers the way Robert De Niro did in Midnight Run. His target is Bernadette Peters: She plays a good-hearted ditz hitched up with th... | More »

May 24, 1989

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Harrison Ford, Sean Connery

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

About forty minutes into the larky loop the loop that is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the father of our archaeologist hero makes his entrance. He's a helluva shock. Indy, played once more by Harrison Ford in his de rigueur brown fedora and bullwhip accessories, has just crashed manfully through the window of a German castle. That's where the senior Jones is being held by Nazis (it's 1938) who think he can lead them to the Holy Grail. Indy is barely through the window whe... | More »

May 19, 1989

Road House

Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliott

Directed by: Rowdy Herrington

If I Were To Snap-Review The Action movie Road House, starring Dirty Dancing's Patrick Swayze as a nightclub bouncer, I would have to nail it as relentlessly brutal, sexist and stupid. I could add, in its favor, that Road House has a subversive, self-mocking subtext. This does not excuse the excess. But it does show how creative talent can still manifest itself while shamelessly selling out in the anything-for-a-buck Hollywood of the Eighties. Back in the Fifties, clever directors often... | More »

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