Add Comment on March 20, 1992 by Annlee Ellingson

Reprising the role with which she made her London stage debut under director John Madden, Gwyneth Paltrow stars as Catherine, the 27-year-old daughter of Robert (Anthony Hopkins), a John Nash-like mathematician whose genius has been supplanted by madness. Putting her own education on hold, Catherine has avoided institutionalizing her father by caring for him full-time. When Robert dies suddenly, former student Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrives to go through his paperwork, hoping to glimpse evidence that his mentor managed to produce something of value in his final years. Meanwhile, Robert's elder daughter Claire (Hope Davis) jets into Chicago from New York to get her father's affairs -- and her sister's life -- in order.

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Add Comment on January 31, 1992 by Susan Lambert

The music in this film floats free and easy, lining the wispy story with a simple dignity that sustains an otherwise empty movie. Ultimately, though, it's not enough to play music in place of plot, structure, dramatic action so the film suffers greatly, despite the excellent performances and evocative cinematography. "A Good Man in Africa's" Colin Friels plays John "Dingo" Anderson, a husband, father and dog trapper who dreams of playing trumpet with the legendary Billy Cross (the even more legendary Miles Davis). Friels is a strong, stoic actor, but has nothing to do here. The plot is more than subtle, it's invisible. Dramatic moments are missed, conflict is never faced, only danced about.

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Scream of Stone

Add Comment on September 01, 1991 by Shlomo Schwartzberg

   German director Werner Herzog continues his explorations into man vs. nature with this pallid, cliched story of two men and their attempts to climb to the top of the Cerro Torre, a 3,000-meter-high mountain in southern Patagonia, Argentina. ³Scream of Stone² is one of those international co-productions (Canada-Germany-France) that is muddied by being filmed in English.
   The actors aren't comfortable with their roles or dialogue, and Herzog's vaunted, passionate film style is strangely muted here, despite the commanding, majestic shots of the landscape. Like the team behind ³Twister,² this movie's makers have forgotten to include a compelling narrative to accompany their dazzling visuals. Directed by Werner Herzog. A Roxie release. Drama. Unrated.

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Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky

Add Comment on August 09, 1991 by Charles Martin

Some films obtain classic status by being intensely memorable. Some achieve it by taking the audience to places never experienced before. Still others get there by perfecting each element of the film. Here we have one that does it all, and you will never look at kung-fu movies the same way again. "Riki-Oh" is a breathtakingly funny but shockingly ultra-violent action movie based on a Japanese comic book. The film successfully manages to reach insane levels of violence and gore undreamed of in even Herschell Gordon Lewis' wildest imaginings. This is one of those films where the plot never gets in the way of the story. Our hero, Ricky, is unjustly incarcerated, ultra-strong and almost always shirtless.

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Hanna Monster, Darling

Add Comment on February 28, 1991 by Lael Loewenstein

   In this oddly spooky film from Austrian director Christian Berger, a woman gives birth to an otherworldly creature, much to the consternation of herself and her husband. Stunned into silence, Hanna (Marika Green) leaves behind her marriage, her home and her stillborn fetus for a cross-country journey that is as much physical as it is spiritual.
   The unexpected arrival of Hanna's inhuman child it looks like a cross between a chicken drumstick and an engorged eel bares traces of resemblance to "Rosemary's Baby." But Berger's tone is closer to Wenders than it is to Polanski. Rather than playing the situation for its fright value, the writer/director presents the birth as a catalyst for Hanna's self-exploration.

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Halfaouine: Child of the Terraces

Add Comment on September 14, 1990 by Sean O'Neill

   "Reach deep enough into the personal and you'll reach the universal," said a wise man long ago, and this 1990 French/Tunisian coming-of-age film proves that axiom. Though many details will seem strange to American eyes men and women are separated at weddings, and neighborhood parades celebrate a child's circumcision the premise couldn't be more familiar: A boy (a winning Selim Boughedir) entering adolescence is obsessed with having intercourse, or at least sneaking peeks at the female anatomy. His picaresque adventures are the movie's greatest charm, but the supporting cast is strong as well particularly Mohammed Driss as a shoemaker who offers the boy an adage (as true in America as in Africa), "Men propose, but women dispose."    Starring Selim Boughedir and Rabia Ben Abdallah.

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After Midnight

Add Comment on November 03, 1989 by Kim Williamson

As the film opens on a late Italian night, a young car thief (Fabio Troiano) is alone, slouched bleeding in front of Jaguar dealership. Voiceover (narration by Silvio Orlando) asks whether this "Angel of Falchera," as he's known, is dying, and what could have brought him to this fate. From that point through the climax, "Dopo Mezzanotte," being released stateside as "After Midnight," tells the story of three lovers. There's Angel; Martino (Giorgio Pasotti), a young night watchman who rarely speaks; and Amanda (Francesca Inaudi), a fast-food waitress who must hide out from the police after she splashes hot oil on her too-demanding boss (Andrea Romero).

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