Benny and Joon - ***** (PG) - A tender, funny story about a man who cares for his mentally ill sister, and how they must work out their relationship so she can have some independence. All of this is made possible when Sam comes to live with them. This film makes the line between sane and crazy fade away. The innocence and tenderness of the characters is moving and humorous. Performances by Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands), Mary Stuart Masterson (Fried Green Tomatoes) and Aidan Quinn (The Mission) are striking, conveying a vast range of emotions with a few fleeting facial expressions. This film will tug on your heart and make you laugh out loud. Some minor language. Comedy/Drama.
Delicatessen ***** (R) - An award winning French film (subtitled). A futuristic black comedy about a group of people coping with food shortages after a world-destroying apocalyptic event. Currency has been reduced to various seeds and grains, and the jack-of-all-trades employed by the local butcher is the hungrily anticipated main dinner course! Filmmaking at its best. Excellent cinematography, and a superbly crafted, tightly written story featuring some of the most amazing character performers - albeit virtual unknowns. Black of mood, yet still hilarious and a visual feast. Don't miss it! Some violence. Comedy/Horror.
The Piano - ***** (R) - Powerful, sensuous, moving, disturbing and passionate. This is a stunning period piece about the arranged marriage between a mute woman and New Zealand pioneer and her relationship with his friend. Holly Hunter (Broadcast News) is riveting and Sam Neill (Hunt For Red October, Dead Calm) is remarkable as the doomed spouses. Harvey Keitel (Thelma and Louise, Reservoir Dogs) delivers an outstanding, sensitive and impassioned performance as the British/adopted-Maori who lusts after her. This movie sports breathtaking cinematography, drama, romance, and writing that can't be beat. Won the GoldenPalm award at Cannes and Best Actress for Hunter. Multiple academy-award material - don't miss it! Sexual situations, nudity, some language and some violence. Drama.
Jurassic Park - ***** (PG-13) - Well, the first real heavy-weight contender in the summer movie battle opened with a record-breaking box office roar - and deservedly so. Dinosaurs are genetically cloned for a new preserve attraction, but things go terribly awry when the first test group find themselves stranded in the park while vicious Velociraptaurs and T-Rex roam free. This is a roller-coaster ride of thrills and chills. Excellent writing, realistic characters and excellent performances - and don't forget those superb dinosaur special effects! There's even a set-up for a sequel! Stars Laura Dern (Rambling Rose), Sam Neill (Dead Calm), Jeff Goldblum (The Big Chill), and Sir Richard Attenborough (directed Ghandi). Some language and very frightening scenes for children. Action/Thriller
Much Ado About Nothing - ***** (PG-13) - If you've always had trouble understanding Shakespeare, don't despair! Kenneth Branagh (Henry V, Dead Again) has made a wonderful film based on the Bard's own tale of blackmailed lovers, romance, treachery and warriors home to celebrate their victories. Starring Branagh and his wife (academy-award winner) Emma Thompson (Howard's End), this movie also features a stellar performance by Denzel Washington (Malcolm X) as the prince, and a unforgettable cameo featuring Michael Keaton (Batman) as the local constabulary. Hilarious, spirited and poetic - this is a five star flick that shouldn't be missed. Some minor violence and nudity. Comedy.
The Nightmare Before Christmas - ***** (PG) - Destined to become a beloved Christmas classic, writer-producer Tim Burton's (director of Batman, Batman Returns, Bettlejuice, Edward Scissorhands) acclaimed puppet-animated feature film about Halloween characters who stumble on the world of Christmas, and try blunderingly to take it for their own. Developed during his days with Disney Studios, and now brought to fruition with the help of Danny Elfman (who co-produced and scored the film, in addition to providing many of the voices) and Catherine O'Hara as the voice of Sally (Home Alone). This film is a magical, musical story with the heart of warm Christmas sentiments buried in the fantastical dressings of Halloween. Absolutely captivating. Some scenes may be scary for small children. Musical/Animated/Family.
The Public Eye ***** (R) - Joe Pesci (My Cousin Vinnie) stars in this wonderful period film about an artistic tabloid photographer who falls for the wrong woman and finds himself caught up in a mob war. Fabulous performances, especially from the massively talented Pesci, great attention to detail, and wonderful direction and editing combine to produce a film that keeps you captivated from start to finish. A great study of the individual, and a wonderful suspense/mystery. Wonderful. Some gory scenes. Drama.
Searching For Bobby Fisher - ***** (PG) - A seven-year old boy finds a passion for chess, and his parents try to encourage his apparent genius with teachers and tournaments. This truly amazing film is filled with humor, poignancy, and real people confronting real dilemmas with the most remarkable philosophy. Newcomer Max Pomeranc is wonderful and believable as Josh, the young chess prodigy who just wants to do the right thing. Also features outstanding performances by Joe Mantegna (Bugsy), Larry Fishburne (Boyz In The Hood) and Ben Kingsley (Ghandi) as the three most influential men in Josh's life - his father and his teachers. This film should not be missed. My pick for Best Film of 1993. Some minor language. Drama.
Strictly Ballroom - ***** (PG) - This Australian comedy stars a versatile and talented cast, in a Cinderella-style story about a young dance innovator and his battle to compete in a ballroom dance competition. Expert comedic performances, great cinematography, fabulously funny writing and a quirky style all add up to big-time entertainment in this marvelous comedy. Although it has garnered little attention and no advertising, this is a 'don't want to miss it' comedy. Lots of passion, action, music, and cool dancing! Minor language. Comedy.
True Romance - ***** (R) - Christian Slater (Untamed Heart) and Patricia Arquette (Nightmare On Elm Street 3) are misfit loners who find each other in the big city and fall in love. However, Slater's character is convinced by Elvis' ghost (played by Val Kilmer of Thunderheart) to take vengeance on his new love's nasty former boss (Gary Oldman of Bram Stoker's Dracula). A murder, switched suitcases, drugs, a road trip to California and the mob are all key elements in this superbly written action-love story. Incidentally this film was written by Quinton Tarantino who scripted the equally excellent Reservoir Dogs. There are no "good guys" and "bad guys" in this movie - just real people doing the wrong things. Features excellent cameos by Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Christopher Penn and Bronson Pinchot. Be forewarned, this film is very violent. Also language and sexual situations. Action/Thriller.
Body Of Evidence - 1/2 (R) - Madonna stars in this excruciatingly bad film with Willem Dafoe (Platoon, White Sands) as her defense lawyer. He becomes infatuated with his client who is accused of killing her older lover with sex. Joe Mantegna (Bugsy) plays the District Attorney out to prove her guilt. Unfortunately, the only thing proven in this "sizzler" (and I use that term very loosely) is that these big name stars made really bad career choices, and that Madonna can be really repulsive. This whole incredibly badly written film (from Dino DeLaurentis, of course!) is a seemingly live-action version of her book "Sex". Ignore the comparisons to Basic Instincts, and please spare yourself the time and money - it's a waste of both! Lots of sex and language. Drama.
Children Of The Corn II - * (R) - This sequel to the 1984 horror-stinker, Children Of The Corn, didn't disappoint - it was just as bad as I expected. The movie opens on the discovery of the grisly remains of all the parents of the town of Gatlin. The children are rounded up and farmed out to neighboring survivors, where the murderous lot start the killings all over again. Filled with inept and over-acted performances, trite writing, cliches and choppy editing, this movie is a big, tiresome waste of time. Ten or fifteen second of neat computer-graphics special effects just aren't enough to hold your attention. Lots of gratuitous language, violence and sexual situations. Horror.
Guilty As Sin - * (R) - Don Johnson and Rebecca De Mornay (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle) star in this film about a sharp lawyer who is trapped by a sharp, conniving, crazy 'ladykiller' client. Accused of killing his wife, Johnson's character searches out De Mornay, and manipulates her into taking him on as a client. Once she's caught in his web, he tightens the trap until her own life is in danger. A story so full of plot holes you could use it to strain spaghetti and acting so bad you'll wonder why this film garnered a theatrical release! Since when do tough, aggressive, smart, self-confident people turn into quivering masses of wimp-jelly just because some guy acts like a crazy man? Save your money and your time. Violence and language. Thriller.
Hexed - * (R) - This movie didn't know what to do, where to go, or how to advertise! Billed as a "...comedy about sex, violence and other family values" it actually is a confused, schizophrenic excuse for comedy filmaking. It starts out as a conventional comedy tale about an unhappy hotel desk clerk who's imaginary life finally catches up with him in the form of Hexina 'the psycho-model from Hell', when he manages to connive a date from her and finds himself in the middle of a murder. Ultimately, however, this film takes a serious left turn into alternative-comedy land, and you'll be left wondering what the heck is going on, and who's messing around in the editing room! Clearly the actors took over the film when they realized what a piece of junk it was. It didn't help, despite occasional funny moments. Lots of unnecessary sex and violence. Comedy.
Man's Best Friend - 1/2 (R) - Ally Sheedy and Lance Henrikson star in this poor excuse for a terror flick about a hungry TV reporter who breaks into a lab for a story on animal testing, and inadvertently helps an experimental dog escape - then adopts it. But things start to go awry when this clever, and deadly, canine starts to experience mood swings, and his evil creator tracks the reporter down. Someone please explain to which goof came up with this ludicrous premise. The dog is a genetic amalgam of a variety of species most deadly traits - including the ability to eat a cat whole - but which animal has the trait of deadly acid urine! Plenty silly, pathetic special effects and some sad acting. Video fodder. Language, violence and sexual situations. Horror.
Mr. Jones - * (R) - Richard Gere (Sommersby) and Lena Olin (Havana) star in this confused romantic drama about the relationship between an unusual, manic-depressive man who spends his life traipsing in and out of hospitals, resisting treatment, and his sad, fragile fascinated psychiatrist. Unfortunately, the premise of this muddy, pointless story is that maybe manic-depressives aren't sick, just special people - and interesting concept, but poorly presented in this flick with a sappy, confusing story. Flings around a lot of psycho-babble and terminology that may confuse audiences. Very goofy, pretty boring. Some language, violence and sexual situations. Drama.
Meteor Man - * (PG) - With the exception of two brief bits, lasting a total of about one minute, this movie is one long stinker! Peopled by dozens of sitcom performers, this script and filming style makes this film nothing more than a really badly done sitcom itself. The stupid writing wanders aimlessly and sends really bad messages about violence and power. The lame performances are full of implausible behavior and grotesque stereotypes. That and the really bad editing make this sluggish film a guaranteed waste of time. Two hilarious bits - a dog talking and a 'runway-model' fight scene are the only jewels worth saving from this slag heap. Shame on Robert Townsend (Hollywood Shuffle) not only for writing/directing/starring, but also for admitting it publicly! Some language and minor violence. Comedy.
Posse - * (R) - Mario Van Peebles (New Jack City) and a cast of well-knowns flounder around in this hopeless excuse for a Western. Be prepared to suspend your disbelief as the 'black cowboy posse' goes A.W.O.L. from the military, robbing the evil commander, then scampers off into the dusty sunset for many action-filled adventures and hijinks. Very stupid, very lacking in realistic detail - I especially enjoyed that western-rap soundtrack for the closing credits! Yawn and gag. Lots of violence, nudity and language. Western.
Robocop 3 - 1/2 (PG-13) - The long-awaited, much re-written release of the third Robocop movie. Peter Weller does not return in the starring role - and it's just as well, as this flick could have represented the end of a most illustrious career!! Made uniformly bland by indecisive scripting, a PG-13 rating goal, and killing off the best (of the worst) performer in the first 15 minutes. Riddled with implausibility and wasted story potential. What a bore, what a bomb!! If you liked Robocop 2 less than the first one, then stay away from number 3 - it's infinitely worse!! Some minor violence, and a lot of bad acting. Science Fiction/Action.
Warlock: The Armageddon - * (R) - Julian Sands reprises his title role in this film about Satan's son trying to open the gate to hell, as earth's protectors, the Druids, try to stop him. The first Warlock film was fair, but this abysmal excuse for a sequel wins one of my "Dog of the Year" awards! Pathetic acting (Stephen Kahan, as the father, takes the Most Expressionless prize!), fragmented and implausible storytelling, and really cheesy special effects do nothing to improve this film's viewability. Don't waste your time or money - it's sad. Very sad! Way too much gratuitous violence, and some language and sexual situations. Horror.
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