Much of "El Norte" is uneven and overwhelmingly sentimental. Nevertheless, in the end, its characters are winning and their odyssey a fascinating one. The story is tremendous in scope. We meet Rosa (Zaide Silvia Gutierrez) and Enrique Xuncax (David Villalpando) in their village in Guatemala. They are peasants, brother and sister, close with their family. But their father is shot for participating in a labor meeting, and their mother is carted away by soldiers in a town sweep-up. Their own lives are endangered if they stay in the community. Rosa and Enrique make their way north, provided with only the name of a "coyote" (Rodolfo Alejandre) in Tijuana--a man who will take them across the border to America.Read more
"Return of the Jedi" wraps up the "Star Wars" trilogy with a bang by delivering everything audiences expect and more. And those who pay closer attention to the boxoffice than the screen will be happy to hear it's packed with so many new characters, sets and pieces of hardware that it's going to take second and third viewings just to see it all.
When the movie begins, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is still held captive in a frozen state by the evil gangster Jabba the Hutt, a giant, vile caterpillar who eats live frogs as snacks. Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) have been sent to rescue him, but they've since disappeared.
It usually doesn't bode well when a movie does not get previewed for the press. And the remake of the John Cassavetes 1980 picture "Gloria" is no exception. It's not that it's a bad film; the problem is that it just doesn't bring a whole lot to the party. The original starred Gena Rowlands as the moll on the run who winds up as the reluctant babysitter to a cute kid. This time it's Sharon Stone and the ad line reads "Big mouth, big attitude." While to that you can also add big hair and incredibly big heels, the film is not big on character depth and development. Gloria is fresh out of jail where she did three years for a crime for which boyfriend Kevin (Jeremy Northam) was apparently responsible.Read more
[Not so long ago and only as far away as your local theatre, "The Empire Strikes Back" debuted on May 21, 1980. On February 21, 1997, a digitally updated "Empire" follows in the wake of the phenomenally successful re-release of "Star Wars," which in a bare three weeks has grossed more than $99 million to make the 1977 film the biggest boxoffice success of all time. Below, we offer the 5/18/1980 BOXOFFICE review of "The Empire Strikes Back." Contemporary moviegoers will note that critic Jimmy Summers' forecast for the film's public response was right on target, but his prognosis for the eventual arrival of the final Episode IX proved a bit too optimistic. Unfortunately.]All that really needs to be said about "The Empire Strikes Back" is that it's just as good as "Star Wars.Read more
Returning to his experimental film roots in "Nijinsky," Paul Cox presents his most audacious film to date: an impressionistic portrait of Russian dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. Cox mined the depths of Nijinsky's diaries to reveal the passionate and often tortured soul of this consummate artist. Sir Derek Jacobi expertly reads these excerpts--the closest portrayal of the artist the film provides--displaying a skill with inflection matched only by Cox's fulsome imagery--poetic and abstract--which underscore Nijinsky's points. The film becomes a rich interplay of Jacobi's reading, Cox's visual associations, and the various recreations of Nijinsky's ballet performances.Read more
"The Fog" is a remake of the John Carpenter horror/thriller about a foreboding mist that carries the spirits of dead lepers murdered 100 years earlier by the founding fathers of the fictional Antonio Bay. For this tepid remake director Rupert Wainwright ("Stigmata") and screenwriter Cooper Layne ("The Core") maintain the key elements of the original and stick to Carpenter-like filmmaking. Yet "The Fog" manages to get lost in itself. It is a movie that is nonsensical even though the original (overrated though it is) made perfect sense, and despite the use of an abundance of fancy CGI effects (whereas Carpenter used... fog), it is neither scary nor suspenseful. While it eschews the use of gore, it replaces it with sheer dullness.Read more
The film's opening declaration that it's "Based on a True Story" -- stark, scary font and all -- is shamelessly misleading. Whether the original "Amityville Horror" tale, chronicled in the 1977 Jay Anson novel, was itself a true story is highly debatable (it's widely thought to have been a hoax). And what transpires in this hour-and-a-half of horror movie rehash has barely any connection to the actual disturbances described in Anson's 'as told to' account. But casual horror fans would hardly want an endless "Star Wars"-like scroll full of caveats, maybes and perhapses to slog down the thrills. Unfortunately, the thrills come pre-slogged with overfamiliarity.Read more