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New and reissued video releases the week of November 9, 1990

Graded reviews of ”Blind Fury,” ”Nightlife,” ”The Year of Living Dangerously” and more

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New and reissued video releases the week of November 9, 1990

New on Tape
Chatahoochee (1990, HBO, R)
An institutionalized Korean War veteran (Gary Oldman) endures every imaginable form of squalor and cruelty to become the hippie Christ of the psycho ward in director Mich Jackson’s lurid yet dramatically inert film. Bristish actor Oldman does an ace impersonation of a drawling American redneck, but it isn’t enough to salvage this sluggishly written and directed ”exposé.” Dennis Hopper is supriingly understated and touching as Oldman’s loony-bin cohort. D+

East Coast Flight (1989, Cam Eddy Productions)
The idea here is to put a video camera in a helicopter, fly low over some pretty countryside, and promote the resulting tape to residents, tourists, and fans of soothing travelogues. This pretty 36-minute effort, now being promoted nationally, is a model of the genre — a low-level excursion, without narration, down the coast from Rockport, Mass., to Manhattan. Deficiencies: a lack of identifying subtitles and too many minutes spent over boring terrain. C+

Night Games (1990, HBO, R)
Roy Scheider stars as a Houston cop on the trail of a serial killer with baseball connections in this made-for-cable thriller. Too many character show symptoms of Stupid Victim Syndrome (running from a well-lit, crowded area to a deserted side street when you know a maniac’s after you.) C-

Nightlife (1990, MCA/Universal, PG-13)
A jokey made-for-cable Dracula parody that’s too pleased with itself to work. Still, it’s enjoyable to see Serious Actors like Chariots of Fire‘s Ben Cross (as Vlad) and ethereal Maryam d’Abo (as his long-lost bride) indulge in goofy slapstick. Co-scripter Anne Beatts used to write for National Lampoon, and Nightlife has a similar ration of bona fide laughs to sputtering misfires. But Roman Polanski’s Fearless Vampire Killers is still the champ in this subgenre. C+

The Rose and the Jackal (1990, Turner)
Another dude made-for-TNT movie: vaguely fact-based, romance-novel swill set against the turbulence of the Civil War. The dashing Allan Pinkerton (Christopher Reeve) falls in love with the beautiful Southern belle Rose O’Neal Greenhow (Madolyn Smith Osborne). They fight, they kiss, they’re separated by massive historical events?You fidget, you yawn, you slip into a merciful doze?D+

That’s Action (1990, AIP)
AIP Studios is a prolific producer of B-grade action adventure pictures. For viewers who can’t be bothered with plot exposition and character nuance, AIP has compiled this 78-minute tape of great moments in chase scenes, fist-fights, body burns, explosions, etc. But that’s all there is — nothing but film clips, with snippets of narration (by Robert Culp) to tie them together. The perfect gift for the person who has everything, except taste. F

World’s Youngest Ballet (1990, Kultur)
The First International Ballet Competition was held at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater in 1969, and its gold metal winner was a 21-year-old entrant from Leningrad’s Kirov Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov. This Russian-produced 73-minute documentary of the event includes the first known Baryshnikov performance footage, including rehearsal shots and excerpts from two dance solos, one from La Bayadere and the other from Vestris. A treasure for balletomanes. A

Reissued
A Room With a View (1985, CBS/Fox)
A flawless faithful adaptation of E.M. Forester’s novel about a young Englishwoman torn between the love and confusion she finds abroad and the comfortable, yet suffocating propriety of life at home. Julian Sands and Helena Bonham Carter make charming romantic leads, but the supporting cast — including Daniel Day-Lewis as the jolted prig fiancé, Maggis Smith as the prim spinster chaperone, and Simon Callow as the jubilant local preacher — constantly threaten to upstage them. A

The Year of Living Dangerously (1983, MGM/UA, R)
In Peter Weir’s picture of the starving, teeming Djakarta of the mid ’60s, a green but cocky Australian journalist (Mel Gibson) falls under two separate, equal spells: that of a British embassy attaché (Sigourney Weaver) and that of a bitter, compassionate photographer (Linda Hunt). Hunt won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her compelling performance as a half-Chinese, half-European man. A.

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