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movie reviews

The Return of Swamp Thing

Dick Durock, Heather Locklear, Louis Jourdan

Directed by: Jim Wynorski

Go Ahead And Scoff. But This cheap-jack sequel to the 1982 cult favorite about a hunky scientist (Dick Durock) turned talking plant delivers more tacky hit-and-miss hilarity than a Cineplex-ful of teen-sex comedies. Using the DC Comics series as source material, screenwriters Derek Spencer and Grant Morris and director Jim Wynorski give the Swampy story a good-natured razzing. Durock is back with new stalks, and Louis Jourdan, the evil Dr. Arcane, is still trying to melt him down into a rejuv... | More »

Earth Girls Are Easy

Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans, Julie Brown

Directed by: Julien Temple

Though no match for its nifty title, the moonbeam farce that MTV-weaned director Julien Temple (Absolute Beginners) has concocted from retooled parts of E.T., Splash, Spaceballs and anything else handy, shapes up as an entertaining trifle. Forgive the airhead plot that hinges on a spaceship crash-landing in the swimming pool of a Valley-girl manicurist, played by Geena Davis. The fun comes from Temple's protean visual wit and the irresistible charm of Davis, who just won an Oscar for her... | More »

May 5, 1989

How to Get Ahead in Advertising

Richard E. Grant, Rachel Ward, Richard Wilson

Directed by: Bruce Robinson

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, bad breath and the like. One day Bagley, played with rousing wit by Richard E. Grant, hits a block. He can't find a way to sell a new pimple cream. His wife, the lovely Rachel Ward, counsels patience. After all, Bagley's huckstering has earned him a country home, cars, horses and the confidence to be insolent to... | More »

April 28, 1989

Scandal

Bridget Fonda, Ian McKellen

Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones

Even in a great movie year, Scandal would stand out for tackling a notorious case of British political misconduct with becoming tact. But in 1989, until now a year of unparalleled cinematic mediocrity, the hypnotic and haunting Scandal looms like a colossus. Prepare to be wowed. But not in the way you think. Despite the curious fact that the Motion Picture Association of America had originally slapped Scandal with an X rating (usually reserved for hard-core porn), the film is hardly a sleazy... | More »

Criminal Law

Gary Oldman

Directed by: Martin Campbell

They don't skimp much in this thriller: The rain pours, the music blares, the corpses pile up, and the actors madly chew the scenery. Gary Oldman stars as a hotshot lawyer. Whoa. That's trouble already. Oldman is a powerhouse — just catch him in Sid and Nancy or Prick Up Your Ears. But what's a British actor doing playing a Harvard attorney in a Boston-based movie shot in Montreal? Flailing about like a drowning man, that's what. Oldman's laughably in-and-out Am... | More »

April 21, 1989

Field of Dreams

Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta, Tommy Lee Jones, James Earl Jones

Directed by: Phil Alden Robinson

"If you build it, he will come." Huh? Kevin Costner is hearing voices. The Bull Durham stud is playing a foursquare Iowa farmer this time. He's the kind of average Joe that Jimmy Stewart embodied in such vintage Frank Capra corn as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It's a Wonderful Life. In Field of Dreams, adapted by director Phil Alden Robinson from the 1982 W.P. Kinsella novel Shoeless Joe, Costner is homebody Ray Kinsella. That's his wife, an endearingly feisty Amy Madigan, ... | More »

April 7, 1989

Pathfinder

Mikkel Gaup, Ingvald Guttorm, Nils Utsi

Directed by: Nils Gaup

Like The Navigator, a striking film from New Zealand that was released last year, Pathfinder is a wholly extraordinary adventure that might take some effort to find. Despite an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film, this film from Norway is hardly a natural for the local multiplex. The actors are all unknowns, and the movie -- shot in Lapland (the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland) -- is the first feature ever made in the Lapp language. It's easy to imagine the Hollywood stud... | More »

March 3, 1989

The Navigator

Bruce Lyons, Chris Haywood, Hamish McFarlane

Directed by: Vincent Ward

Things Do Not Begin Promisingly: The time is the fourteenth century. The scene is a remote, snowbound English mining village. The black plague is advancing, and the medieval villagers are gripped with fear and dread. Me, too. The black-and-white cinematography, the ominous clang of Celtic music in the background and all those hooded actors huddled around, analyzing dreams, hinted at the worst: a pseudo-art film that wears its pretensions like a badge of honor. Boy, was I surprised. The Navig... | More »

June 18, 1987

Dirty Dancing

Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Cynthia Rhodes

Directed by: Emile Ardolino

A sleeper. The first half of this dance flick is as sinuous and thrilling as any in a decade – and that includes such blockbusters as Flashdance and Footloose. In 1963, at a resort for the Jewish upper-middle class, a young girl (Jennifer Grey, pictured with Patrick Swayze) wanders into the hall where the hired help and townles hang out, and the dancing is hot, sweaty, undulating. It ain't Kansas, Toto, that's fer damn sure. Grey has an affair with Swayze, a working-class danc... | More »

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