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Notable movies for the week of July 13, 1990

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Notable movies for the week of July 13, 1990

Betsy’s Wedding (R)
Alan Alda’s latest glorified sitcom is less precious than his other movies, and Alda has a knack for undermining his own cliches. In this enjoyable satire of premarital jitters, he plays Eddie Hopper, an architect determined to give his daughter (Molly Ringwald) a ritzy, show-stopping wedding. Trouble is, she’s a postmodern girl who believes in marriage but has no patience for the attendant hoopla. The film gently sends up the messiness of modern matrimony, and Alda has assembled an appealing group of actors and given them plenty of breathing room. Standouts include Joe Pesci as a weasely philanderer and Ally Sheedy and Anthony LaPaglia as unlikely romantic partners. B

Days of Thunder (PG-13)
Producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer are capitalist speed freaks: Their marketiti fever is embedded in the adrenaline rush of their movies. In Days of Thunder, they reunite Tom Cruise with Top Gun director Tony Scott. Once again the Dimpled One plays an iconic hotshot — this time he’s a stock-car driver — whose swaggering antics conceal his ”troubled” soul. The racing scenes are genuinely exciting, and the movie is sleek and easy to sit through. Yet in the patented Simpson-Bruckheimer style, it replaces dramatic involvement with a kind of superficial, rock & roll empathy — it’s as though we were watching Cruise’s character and playing air guitar to his emotions. B-

Die Hard 2 (R)
John McClane (Bruce Willis) plunges into yet another lone-wolf commando raid. This time the setting is Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport, where an Ollie North-style renegade (Bill Sadler) attempts to intercept the plane of a corrupt Central American dictator whom the U.S. has arrested for drug dealing. This thinly veiled takeoff on l’affaire Noriega doesn’t exactly tickle the imagination, and the movie, though staged with satisfying kinetic flair, isn’t an exhilarating blowout like the first Die Hard. Without that big booby-trapped skyscraper to hold the action together, it stands as a grimly hit-or-miss version of that old ’70s dinosaur, the disaster movie. B-

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