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Art Facts: remebering the Rosenberg affair

After the first atomic fireball flashed in the Alamogordo desert in July 1945, Manhattan Project scientists vainly warned gloating officials that this awesome weapon was destined to be a short-lived American monopoly. They knew Soviet science soon would duplicate this terrible feat–with or without the help of cloak-and-dagger antics. But, as the confession of physicist […]

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Dick and Jack’s Excellent Adventure

MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON * (Has redeeming facet) Directed by Bob Rafelson Written by William Harrison and Rafelson With Patrick Bergin, Iain Glen, Richard E. Grant, and Fiona Shaw As far as great white hunters go, movies haven’t progressed much from the cheerfully juvenile Jungle Jim films (starring a waterlogged Johnny Weissmuller) through King Solomon’s […]

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Unfinished Business

BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY Directed by Oliver Stone Written by Stone and Ron Kovic With Tom Cruise, Kyra Sedgwick, and Willem Dafoe. In Vietnam war films, U.S. troops are over there because they’re over there because they’re over there. Not one feature film–unless you count John Wayne’s frothing right-wing fantasy The Green Berets […]

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Short Answers

BLAZE ** (Worth seeing) Directed and written by Ron Shelton With Paul Newman, Lolita Davidovich, Jerry Hardin, and Gailard Sartain. “Dirt’s a funny thing,” the Boss said. “Come to think of it, there ain’t a thing but dirt on this green God’s globe except what’s under water, and that’s dirt too. It’s dirt makes the […]

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What’s the Right Thing?

FOUR ADVENTURES OF REINETTE AND MIRABELLE Directed and written by Eric Rohmer With Joelle Miquel, Jessica Forde, Philippe Laudenbach, and Fabrice Luchini. Too much talk ruins a feature film, goes the standard wisdom. But how much dialogue is too much? is Eric Rohmer’s mocking question throughout his daringly garrulous “Moral Tales” and more recent “Comedies […]

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Which Way to Freedom Street?

A HUNGARIAN FAIRY TALE *** (A must-see) Directed by Gyula Gazdag Written by Gazdag and Miklos Gyorffy With David Vermes and Eszter Csakanyi. When Soviet armies drove the Nazis from the ruins of Budapest in 1945, the victors demanded that the Hungarians erect a statue to celebrate their liberation, such as it was. A suitable […]

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Russian Rebellion

LITTLE VERA *** (A must-see) Directed by Vasily Pichul Written by Maria Khmelik With Natalya Negoda, Andrei Sokolov, Ludmila Zaitzeva, and Yuri Nazarov. Until recently Moscow did not believe in tears or in soft-core sex scenes–or in hard-core depictions of ordinary workers’ lives in that reputedly classless society. But with glasnost in gear, director Vasily […]

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Preppies’ Progress

DEAD POETS SOCIETY * (Has redeeming facet) Directed by Peter Weir Written by Tom Schulman With Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles, and Kurtwood Smith. Elite private schools like Eton in England or Groton here appear in cinema as shimmery objects of nervous nostalgia (Tom Brown’s School Days [1940, remake 1951], A […]

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Stiff Upper Lip

FOR QUEEN & COUNTRY ** (Worth seeing) Directed by Martin Stellman Written by Stellman and Trix Worrell With Denzel Washington, George Baker, and Amanda Redman. Greed is good, the American tycoon (Michael Douglas) in Wall Street sermonized, taking his text from the actual utterances of billionaire Donald Trump. In the 80s, a trait that even […]

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Losing It

36 FILLETTE *** (A must-see) Directed by Catherine Breillat Written by Breillat and Roger Salloch With Delphine Zentout, Etienne Chicot, and Jean-Pierre Leaud. Among coming-of-age films this acrid little gem is an ideal antidote for Porky’s-style teenage sex fantasies, and director Catherine Breillat’s 14-year-old protagonist Lili (Delphine Zentout), bubbling over with bile and braininess, makes […]

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Immigrants Again

PELLE THE CONQUEROR * (Has redeeming facet) Directed and written by Bille August With Max von Sydow, Pelle Hvenegaard, and Kristina Tornqvists. Immigrant sagas are surefire cinematic material, or at least they ought to be. Immigrants are ordinary people cast into extraordinary circumstances, being forced to cope with a confounding and often unfriendly milieu, whether […]

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More Movies: The final days of the 24th Chicago International Film Festival

The 24th Chicago International Film Festival, now into its final days, still has some 40-odd programs to go, reviews and descriptions of which can be found below. A few specifics: Screenings are at the Biograph, 2433 N. Lincoln; the Three Penny, 2424 N. Lincoln; the Music Box, 3733 N. Southport; and Ida Noyes Hall on […]

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A Sea of Celluloid: Our coverage of the 24th Chicago International Film Festival Continues

The 24th Chicago International Film Festival, now into its top-heavy second week, is offering 60-odd programs this week, reviews and descriptions of which can be found below. It’s particularly pleasing that the festival has managed to squeeze in filmmakers as important as Jean-Luc Godard and Raul Ruiz this week (although the latter is represented only […]

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Crime’s a Bitch

AND THEN YOU DIE *** (A must-see) Directed by Francis Mankiewicz Written by Wayne Grigsby and Alun Hibbert With Kenneth Walsh, R.H. Thomson, Wayne Robson, and Maggie Huculak. The gangster’s lot is not a happy one, on-screen anyway. Even though crime pays, the hours are long, tempers are short, cronies are treacherous, and the competition […]

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White Does Right

CRY FREEDOM ** (Worth seeing) Directed by Richard Attenborough Written by John Briley With Kevin Kline, Denzel Washington, and Penelope Wilton. Gandhi, the man, is a mighty hard act to follow; Gandhi the motion picture, alas, is not. In Cry Freedom director Richard Attenborough does his damnedest to deliver a stirring wide-screen, Dolby-amplified sequel, but […]