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Moonlight Mile Review


OK
Warning: This review is tainted by the author's prejudices against Moonlight Mile director Brad Silberling. In 1998, Mr. Silberling took it upon himself to remake Wim Wenders' metaphysical masterpiece Wings of Desire as the anemic Meg Ryan vehicle City of Angels. The quality of Mr. Silberling's film did not compensate for the audacity of the idea, and this critic forever placed a mark of dishonor on the director. This is worth mentioning in light of the discussion of Moonlight Mile that is to follow.

With that said, Moonlight Mile is only half bad. Sure, it's weepy and sentimental and fails to take full advantage of an emotionally fertile premise. But as a story of loss, self-discovery and rebirth it succeeds as much as it fails. If this were baseball, Moonlight Mile would be batting .500, which is good. But this is the movies, so half bad means two and a half stars.

Continue reading: Moonlight Mile Review

Tootsie Review


Excellent
Dustin Hoffman has been nominated for seven Oscars and has won two for roles in Rain Man and Kramer vs. Kramer. With an inescapable nose and smallish stature, he's one of the few talents able to prove that the business of entertaining isn't always dependent on looks. He'll play boring or annoying roles every now and then, such as Captain Hook, but whatever he takes on, he does it with style.

Before Tootsie, Hoffman had been known more for his dramatic appearances in such films as All the President's Men and The Graduate. He hadn't been involved with all-out comedy yet, whether for lack of industry faith or blind luck. So Tootsie was his first venture into this more mainstream audience area, and he more than filled the part. Which brings us to one of the greatest role-reversal movies of the 1980's, for which Hoffman was nominated by the Academy again (though he didn't win).

Continue reading: Tootsie Review

The Man With One Red Shoe Review


Very Good
Richard, a hapless orchestra violinist played by A-lister-in-waiting Tom Hanks, unwittingly and unknowingly becomes a focus of governmental intrigue in this clever remake. When a deputy director at the CIA falsely identifies Richard as a man with helpful information, a rival faction at the Agency tries to infiltrate his life. While a bumbling duo of agents work surveillance, a sexy blond spy (Lori Singer) attempts to seduce Richard to get inside his head, but instead gets her hair stuck in his zipper. Meanwhile, an intelligence team led by Dabney Coleman deconstructs Richard's mundane life in a desperate attempt to decipher what he knows.

Red Shoe is a remake of the French film Le Grand Blond Avec une Chaussure Noire ("The Blond Man with One Black Shoe"), which was a commentary on the operations of the Secret Service in a country that values its privacy. The American version is more an adult slapstick than the satire on Cold War excesses it occasionally portends to be, but it still works as a comedy with an unusually twisty plot.

Continue reading: The Man With One Red Shoe Review

Recess: School's Out Review


Bad
The transition from a half-hour Saturday morning cartoon into a full-length feature film is always a tough sell. It hardly ever works because the attention span of the average child has been reduced to five nanoseconds, making a 22 minute cartoon difficult to stretch. The resulting feature typically looks cheap and underdeveloped on a big theater screen.

In fact, the few successful transitions of series to the big screen have been the Rugrats and South Park cartoons. Why were they successful? Because their creators went beyond the usual scope of TV work to incorporate real story and character development into the feature-length films.

Continue reading: Recess: School's Out Review

WarGames Review


Extraordinary
With the enormous selection of crummy techno-paranoia movies on video shelves these days (The Net, Virtuosity, and Hackers are among more recent titles), the discriminating viewer will eschew a flashy cover or a big star and rent one of the classics. Not only was WarGames the first film to tap into fears about the dangers of technology at the hands of mad geniuses, but it's easily the best as well. It's also the movie that put Broderick and Sheedy on cinema's map, and the picture was nominated for three Academy Awards in 1983, including one for Walter Parkes and Lawrence Lasker's brilliant screenplay. At the time, WarGames also sparked an almost inconceivable interest in computer hacking among our juvenile intelligencia (I was one of them), and the movie's effect on Hollywood and the American consciousness can still be seen today. While these days, Microsoft is a more frightening reality than lone hacker-types, the resonant phrase "Shall we play a game?" still retain its power.

Inspector Gadget Review


Weak

Disney has made a habit lately of leading funny TV shows to the slaughter by turning them into repugnant feature films (witness "Mr. Magoo" and "My Favorite Martian"). But "Inspector Gadget" looked like it might break the curse.

Ready-made for silly special effects and starring an already cartoony Matthew Broderick in the title role, this translation of the Saturday morning cartoon about a slapstick cyborg detective with a helicopter hat and spring-loaded legs was brimming with good ideas -- not the least of which was casting the dashing but daffy Rupert Everett ("My Best Friend's Wedding," "My Best Friend's Wedding") as Gadget's high-tech, hook-handed nemesis, Claw.

But while the spirit of the 'toon survived the trip to the multiplex, the script succumbs early to the worst kind of post-modern kiddie flick formula. Disappointingly dependent on retread gimmicks, the bare-bones plot rips through the 90 minute running time at breakneck speed, pausing only long enough for Gadget's obnoxious, hip-hop-tongued talking car (voice of D.L. Hughley) to rap occasionally.

Continue reading: Inspector Gadget Review

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Upcoming releases: What's on our playlist for December 2019?

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Dabney Coleman Movies

Rules Don't Apply Trailer

Rules Don't Apply Trailer

Warren Beatty writes, directs and stars in the new movie Rules Don't Apply. Marla Mabrey...

Domino Movie Review

Domino Movie Review

The opening text of Domino informs the viewer that the film is based on a...

On Golden Pond Movie Review

On Golden Pond Movie Review

The early 1980s were the best of times and the worst of times for movies....

The Climb Movie Review

The Climb Movie Review

I don't mean to laugh, but when you put Dabney Coleman and Todd Bridges in...

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Inspector Gadget Movie Review

Inspector Gadget Movie Review

I'll admit to watching the early 1980s' Inspector Gadget cartoon, and probably far too late...

Moonlight Mile Movie Review

Moonlight Mile Movie Review

Warning: This review is tainted by the author's prejudices against Moonlight Mile director Brad Silberling....

Recess: School's Out Movie Review

Recess: School's Out Movie Review

The transition from a half-hour Saturday morning cartoon into a full-length feature film is always...

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