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Love for Sale

Jerry Maguire Rating * Has redeeming facet Directed and written by Cameron Crowe With Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renee Zellweger, and Jonathan Lipnicki. Why are there so few films about advertising? It’s generally acknowledged that commercials are short films, and many directors–even some good ones, such as Ridley Scott–progress from shooting TV spots or […]

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They Know You’re Watching

The First Wives Club Rating ** Worth seeing Directed by Hugh Wilson Written by Robert Harling With Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Maggie Smith, and Sarah Jessica Parker By Anthony Puccinelli The First Wives Club opens with a flashback. Best friends Cynthia (Stockard Channing), Brenda (Bette Midler), Elise (Goldie Hawn), and Annie (Diane Keaton) […]

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Too Much of a Crude Thing

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls * (Has redeeming facet) Directed and written by Steve Oedekerk With Jim Carrey, Ian McNeice, Simon Callow, Sophie Okonedo, and Maynard Eziashi When Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was released last year, the clip circulated to the review shows featured Jim Carrey bent over at the waist proffering his clothed behind. […]

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No Investment, No Return

Nick of Time * (Has redeeming facet) Directed by John Badham Written by Patrick Sheane Duncan and Ebbe Roe Smith With Johnny Depp, Christopher Walken, Charles S. Dutton, Peter Strauss, Roma Maffia, Gloria Reuben, Marsha Mason, and Courtney Chase. In an era when hack directors bludgeon us with stupidity, flashing close-up images of violence to […]

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Shallow Beauty

Total Eclipse Rating * Has redeeming facet Directed by Agnieszka Holland Written by Christopher Hampton With Leonardo DiCaprio and David Thewlis. Biopics nearly always fail. Even the most critically acclaimed are often dreary experiences. Do you want to see Amadeus, Camille Claudel, Gorillas in the Mist, Viva Zapata!, Gandhi, or Malcolm X again? Are you […]

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Street Values

Clockers * * * (A must-see) Directed by Spike Lee Written by Lee and Richard Price With Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Delroy Lindo, Mekhi Phifer. Originally conceived as a vehicle for Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese, the movie Clockers, based on Richard Price’s acclaimed crime novel, has taken on a different complexion in the […]

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Our Angels, Our Devils

Lord of Illusions No stars (Worthless) Directed and written by Clive Barker With Scott Bakula, Kevin J. O’Connor, Famke Janssen, and Daniel Von Bargen The Prophecy ** (Worth seeing) Directed and written by Gregory Widen With Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Eric Stoltz, and Moriah Snyder. Evil fascinates. Whether it’s Jeffrey Dahmer eating his […]

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Do You Believe in Magic?

A Little Princess Rating *** A must see Directed by Alfonso Cuaron Written by Richard LaGravenese and Amy Ephron With Liesel Matthews, Liam Cunningham, Eleanor Bron, and Errol Sitahal. Alfonso Cuaron’s A Little Princess opened without the hype of such big-budget items as Batman Forever and Pocahontas. American children, as much products of our culture […]

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Multiplex

When the great heat wave hit, I sought refuge in an air-conditioned movie theater. I perused the listings to find the film that would best be illuminated by my critical acumen. The choice was obvious: Species. Species is director Roger Donaldson’s followup to his remake of Sam Peckinpah’s The Getaway. That movie proved Donaldson is […]

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Groping in the Dark

Little Odessa Rating * Has redeeming facet Directed and written by James Gray With Tim Roth, Vanessa Redgrave, Miximilian Schell, and Edward Furlong Writer-director James Gray’s Little Odessa is a dark movie–so dark you can’t see a thing. Not only is the cinematography somber and moody, the screenplay is opaque. No illuminating artistic vision casts […]

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Blood All Over

Braveheart ** Directed by Mel Gibson Written by Randall Wallace With Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, and Catherine McCormack. Mel Gibson is not known for the chances he takes. After a promising beginning–he appeared in critically acclaimed, artistic films like Gallipoli, The Year of Living Dangerously, and Mrs. Soffel–he became a Hollywood star with Lethal […]

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Acting the Part

The Perez Family Rating * Has redeeming facet Directed by Mira Nair Written by Robin Swicord With Marisa Tomei, Alfred Molina, Chazz Palminteri, and Anjelica Huston. Almost 50 years ago, when fair-skinned Oklahoman Jennifer Jones played a Native American in Duel in the Sun, her makeup artists went overboard in their efforts to attain authenticity, […]