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THE WEEK

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GETTYSBURG (PG) This epic telling of the Civil War’s three mostcrucial days is amazing as a feat of moviemaking logistics. But asdrama it’s florid hokum, as history it’s a short-sighted muddle, andeven as re-creation it’s a little sketchy (where’s General Sicklesand the fight in the peach orchard?). There’s no reason for the4-hour-and-10-minute running time, either. Shots are held too long,speeches go on well past the point of dramatic return: The wholeenterprise seems swollen by studio owner Ted Turner’s Selznickianambitions (Ted, you already own Gone With the Wind). Buried under thefake whiskers are some good performances, most notably Jeff Daniels’beautifully lived-in Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, the weary hero ofLittle Round Top. Otherwise, this is like watching a bas-relief. C — Ty BurrIn TheatersTHE AGE OF INNOCENCE (PG-13) Martin Scorsese’s luxuriantly subtleadaptation of the Edith Wharton novel. Newland Archer (DanielDay-Lewis) is a proper young lawyer in 1870s New York who is drawn,with a primal romantic fervor, to his fiancee’s cousin (MichellePfeiffer). By the end, we grasp Archer’s tragedy, but in our headsrather than our hearts. B+ ( 188, Sept. 17) -OG

THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES (PG) A toothless exercise in nostalgia,this laughless throwaway takes half an hour to set up what the TVshow did in its theme song. By the time the Clampetts make it toBeverly Hills, it’s clear that, with the exception of ClorisLeachman’s mean-as-a-polecat Granny, the all-new cast members arelightweights compared with the originals. In other words, this is amovie that makes you long for the brilliant comedy stylings of MaxBaer Jr. D ( 193, Oct. 22) -OG

COOL RUNNINGS (PG) The story of the first Jamaican Olympicbobsled team is Disney-ized into a mass of cliches. C- ( 192, Oct.15) -TB

DEMOLITION MAN (R) Until the climax (45 minutes of smashingmayhem), this Joel Silver production is an intermittently amusingsci-fi satire. Sylvester Stallone, as a cop, and Wesley Snipes, as apsychovillain, are frozen for several decades and thawed out in theyear 2032. The joke is that society has become so systematized andpleasure-denying that it’s now a world of wimps. Stallone proves awinning comedian, rolling his eyes at a world that no longer placesany value on testosterone. B- ( 193, Oct. 22) -OG

FEARLESS (R) In Peter Weir’s emotionally eerie drama, Jeff Bridgesplays Max Klein, a San Francisco architect who survives a planecrash. During the queasy descent, he confronts the prospect of hisown death and realizes that he’s willing to die. Now Max is trappedin a state of numb transcendence, reliving that one fearless momentover and over. The strength of Fearless is that, through Bridges’extraordinary performance, the film dares to imagine Max’s tormenteddelirium as a genuine religious state. As a fellow survivor, RosiePerez gives a compelling performance, but her character remainsunderimagined. B ( 192, Oct. 15) -OG

THE GOOD SON (R) A nasty and rich pop thriller. Elijah Wood grabsour sympathy as a kid sent to stay with his aunt, uncle, and creepycousin Henry (Macaulay Culkin). A- ( 190, Oct. 1) -TB

JUDGMENT NIGHT (R) The urban-action cliches get piled on withmaximum density in this junior-division, inner-city Deliverance. D+ (194, Oct. 29) -OG

MALICE (R) Alec Baldwin gives an enjoyably superciliousperformance as a hotshot stud surgeon. But the plot of this thrillerhinges on an act of self- mutilation so misanthropically far-fetchedthat even when the movie is over you can’t quite believe what thefilmmakers had in mind. C- ( 191, Oct. 8) -OG

MR. WONDERFUL (PG-13) Matt Dillon and Annabella Sciorra star in afriendly, moonstruck comedy about missed connections, casualrelationships that don’t add up, and people confronted with so manyromantic choices that they no longer know their own hearts.Unfortunately, the film itself is a series of missed connections.C ( 194, Oct. 29) -OG

RUDY (PG) The true story of Rudy Ruettiger (Sean Astin), a fierceyoung striver who grows up during the 1960s convinced that it’s hisdestiny to play football for Notre Dame. What are his qualifications?Well, he’s about 5 foot 6 and he shows no discernible talent forfootball. Ponderous and falsely heroic, the movie is a piece ofClinton-era kitsch: a Rocky for an America that now wants to patitself on the back simply for getting in the game. C- ( 194, Oct. 29)-OG

SHORT CUTS (R) Robert Altman’s epic about a pack of spirituallyhungry ^ characters in contemporary suburban Los Angeles. What’s mostextraordinary about it is how many of its scenes hit us with theintimate force of revelation. A ( 190, Oct. 1) -OG

TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (PG) The hero of thisanimated musical fantasy is a friendly corpse named Jack Skellington,who looks like a jack-o’-lantern after a car accident. Is he toogrotesque a hero for children? Not really. The question is whetherhe’s a charming enough apparition for kids or adults. Usingstop-motion puppet animation, Burton and his team cram every framewith chattering ghoulies who scramble around miniature sets that areextraordinary in their surreal grandeur. Yet none of the littlemonsters ever become characters. In place of the hellzapoppinslapstick of Burton’s best movies, Nightmare provides a joylessfrenzy of movement. C ( 193, Oct. 22) -OG

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