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Ultra Lights
200 Cigarettes provides pleasantries, if not substance
, February 25, 1999
Under the opening titles of 200 Cigarettes, we hear Bow Wow Wow's near-peerless bubble-gum anthem "I Want Candy." The movie that follows seems... More>>
Play It Again, Sham
A band reunion becomes gentle satire in Still Crazy
, February 25, 1999
Between the current nostalgia for platform shoes and the epidemic of midlife crisis that has so many baby boomers in its grip, director Brian... More>>
Hungarian Horror
Talking heads handicap the opening of this Holocaust documentary
, February 18, 1999
The Last Days is the first film released by the Shoah Foundation, created by Steven Spielberg, among others, to document the lives and stories of... More>>
Affecting Affliction
A grimly compelling film searches for souls and a murder suspect
, February 18, 1999
In the archetypal dead-end town of Lawford, New Hampshire, cold-eyed men looking for trouble prowl the streets in four-by-fours with chrome... More>>
Retro Rocket
Sputnik-inspired October Sky runs hot and coal
, February 18, 1999
The opening scenes of October Sky don't hold out much promise. They find us back in the extremely familiar territory of the American '50s,... More>>
Cryin' Shame
Too sweet tears turn Message into mush
, February 11, 1999
Short of nuclear holocaust, a major sale at Kmart or a confirmed Clint Eastwood sighting back in rural Iowa, there's probably no way to keep the... More>>
All That Jazz
Masters Mingus and Gordon get their due in Rice documentaries
, February 11, 1999
Now that Houston has become, however fleetingly, a good jazz town, with more live jazz available on a Tuesday night than on a Saturday of even... More>>
Paradise Lost
Junkies on the lam take a trite track through reality
, February 04, 1999
Halfway through Another Day in Paradise, a leather-clad Melanie Griffith hauls a rifle into a hotel room where a drug deal has just gone sour.... More>>
Pulp Friction
Gibson's Payback translates solidly to the screen
, February 04, 1999
The new Mel Gibson vehicle, Payback, is arguably the first major-studio release this year to have even a modicum of aesthetic ambition. For his... More>>
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>>
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