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Rushmore or Less
Murray tries to rescue a comedy stalled in self-importance
, February 04, 1999
In the 1993 hit Groundhog Day, Bill Murray played a show-biz smart-ass who grew into a human being. Murray added a core of warmth and romance to... More>>
Teen Scheme
A weird wager doesn't make She's All That a good bet
, January 28, 1999
You can't escape it. No matter where you run, no matter where you hide, you just can't escape the arsenal of teensploitation flicks that'll be... More>>
French Twist
Desperate village youths delivera grim Life of Jesus
, January 28, 1999
First things first. This ain't your father's Life of Jesus. In fact, it's no life of Jesus at all, not even an allegorical one. Which is just as... More>>
Two for the Road
An affecting odd couple emerge from Brazil's Central Station
, January 21, 1999
The Brazilian film Central Station concerns the relationship between a homeless nine-year-old boy and the insensitive, acerbic woman who... More>>
Wonderfully Wicked
A Simple Plan spins gold from stark greed
, January 21, 1999
Ultra tough guy Jesse "The Body" Ventura says he means business as the new governor of Minnesota. But for now, the nasty crime wave in that state... More>>
Hi-Lo Ho-Hum
A fine Western love story gets reduced into a Mild Bunch
, January 21, 1999
"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose," Kris Kristofferson sings in his most beguiling song, "Me and Bobby McGee." Stephen... More>>
Heart Failure
Carroll's impressive cast can't overcome this thin film
, January 21, 1999
Here's the first great movie mystery of the year: How did second-time director Willard Carroll line up the likes of Sean Connery, Ellen Burstyn,... More>>
Unconventional Conflict
War films get redefined by the complex Thin Red Line
, January 14, 1999
Writer-director Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line, the filmmaker's adaptation of James Jones's 1962 bestseller about the World War II battle... More>>
Twisted Sisters
Sibling rivalry and love form the complex Hilary and Jackie
, January 14, 1999
Genius can be a terrible, destructive gift. Jacqueline du Pre, the brilliant British cellist who enraptured audiences in the sixties and... More>>
L.A. Pass
The Hollywood of Hurlyburly has moved on to better places
, January 14, 1999
Because it revealed the coke-snorting, ego-fueled corruption of Hollywood in the early 1980s with such acid wit, David Rabe's play Hurlyburly... More>>
Class Action
A true case offers testimony to the talents of Travolta and Duvall
, January 07, 1999
The great attorneys of our time -- Tom Cruise, Susan Sarandon, Tom Hanks -- must now make room in the firm for a new partner. John Travolta, who... More>>
Lotto Fun
Waking Ned Devine comes alive with artful codgers
, January 07, 1999
You get the feeling filmmaker Kirk Jones knew which way the wind was blowing when he sat down to write Waking Ned Devine, which he also directed.... More>>
Admirable Ape
Go bananas. Joe Young returns, better than ever.
, December 31, 1998
In 1933, producer Merian C. Cooper, director Ernest B. Schoedsack and pioneering animator Willis O'Brien created one of this century's most... More>>
Year of Yearning
The old were bold in an era of Hollywood mainstream misses
, December 31, 1998
Silver lining or slender thread? That question nags at me as I go over my best-of-the-year list. There were some terrific movies in 1998 --... More>>
Eight for '98
, December 31, 1998
Critic Michael Sragow picks his best films of the year, in alphabetical order: Babe: Pig in the City. As a fairy tale of an imperiled innocent... More>>
Delta Force
Angelou captures the new South's inspiration in her inaugural film
, December 24, 1998
The talents of Maya Angelou -- she is or has been a teacher, memoirist, prize-winning poet, actress, civil-rights activist, editor, playwright,... More>>
Slow Dancing
Lughnasa stumbles in the leap from play to motion picture
, December 24, 1998
Dancing at Lughnasa arrives brightly wrapped. It's the screen version of one of the most acclaimed stage plays of the '90s. It stars the... More>>
Super Stepmom
Tears will flow over this terrific showcase for Sarandon
, December 24, 1998
Given the manipulative tendencies of many mainstream pictures, Stepmom easily could have slipped into a sticky morass of sentimentality and... More>>
Buoyant Bard
Smart Shakespeare In Love treads lightly into romantic comedy
, December 24, 1998
Geniuses often come across unimpressively in the movies. Amadeus presented Mozart as a giggling fop. Both Kirk Douglas and Tim Roth gave us Van... More>>
Whale's Tale
Gods and Monsters traces a gay film director's complex life
, December 17, 1998
On May 30, 1957, the Los Angeles Times reported that the body of "the distinguished film producer and director James Whale" had been found... More>>
Labor of Love
A romantic fairy tale does finewith a working-class setting
, December 17, 1998
Robert Guediguian's Marius and Jeannette invents its own genre -- the left-wing working-class romantic fairy tale. This French import succeeds so... More>>
Return Mail
Ephron offers an appealing update of a classic charmer
, December 17, 1998
Old-fashioned romantic comedies are an endangered species, and in these generally unromantic days it's always a pleasant surprise to find a... More>>
Exodus Lost
Prince of Egypt goes wrong with Good Book rewrites
, December 17, 1998
DreamWorks's grandiose attempt at an animated feature for adults is a flimsy musical about Moses -- a Sunday-school filmstrip ultralarge and... More>>
Son of Psycho
Van Sant pumps fresh blood into his tribute to the classic
, December 10, 1998
First of all, if you're among the benighted who've never seen Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 shocker Psycho, stop reading at the end of this paragraph.... More>>
Punk Put-On
Hard Core Logo takes a mock-documentary lookat musicians lost
, December 10, 1998
This Is Spinal Tap and Fear of a Black Hat did their pseudo-documentaries, those savagely satirical takes on rock and rap. But those who think... More>>
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