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A Woman in Flames

A middle-class housewife (Gudrun Landgrebe) walks out on her possessive husband and finds freedom as a Berlin hooker; she falls in love with a male hustler (Mathieu Carriere) and for a while they share living and working quarters—until his own possessive instincts surface. Robert van Ackeren’s film is cool and distanced for most of its […]

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Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

This 1984 film’s few and unimpressive special effects evidently qualify it as science fiction, but the genre it really belongs to is the male weepie: there hasn’t been a gooier buddy romance on the screen since Joe Buck took Ratso Rizzo to Miami. William Shatner’s blubbering Captain Kirk sacrifices everything he has—his career, his ship, […]

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That Sinking Feeling

Bill Forsyth’s first film (1979), made before Gregory’s Girl and Local Hero, turns out to be his best, a wry and beguiling ethnic comedy in the tradition of Alexander Mackendrick’s Tight Little Island. A social-problem background (unemployed teenagers in today’s postindustrial Glasgow) helps to anchor Forsyth’s whimsy, and the humor seems to flow more from […]

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Broadway Melody of 1940

Unmemorable though not insufferable, with a decent Cole Porter score, glittery MGM art direction, and entirely too much plot. The stars are Fred Astaire, George Murphy, and Eleanor Powell, aka the Good, the Bad, and the Anxious. Norman Taurog directed. 102 min.

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The In-Laws

Cinematographer David Walsh made a specialty of rescuing visually inept directors, and after boosting Howard Zieff (House Calls) and Herbert Ross (The Goodbye Girl), he almost managed to redeem the truly irredeemable Arthur Hiller (Love Story). At least he’s the only likely source of the bracing confidence that runs through this 1979 feature, an ungainly […]

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El super

Ivan Acosta’s stage comedy about New York’s Cuban subculture, filmed by Leon Ichaso and Orlando Jimenez-Leal in 1979. Raymundo Hidalgo-Gato is the refugee hero—a bus driver in Havana, now reduced to tending a tenement on the Upper West Side. In Spanish with subtitles. 90 min.

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One Hundred Men and a Girl

Universal survived the Depression thanks to Boris Karloff and Deanna Durbin, the latter horror being a reedy-voiced child star who infected a number of late 30s musicals before creeping puberty ended her career. This is one of her more tolerable vehicles, with Deanna seducing Leopold Stokowski (1937). Henry Koster directed.

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You and i

Caught in a moral crisis, a Soviet scientist leaves Moscow for Siberia, where he meets and falls in love with another emotional refugee, a young woman who once attempted suicide. Larissa Shepitko directed (1971).