St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on November 7, 1985 · Page 37
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 37

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St. Louis, Missouri
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Thursday, November 7, 1985
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Page 37
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Thurs., Nov. 7, 1985 ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH 7C Movies WESTPORT CHILDREN'S THEATRE, Review 'Target' If, as they say, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, clear a wide path on the downhill slide for Arthur Penn, Gene Hackman, Matt Dillon, Howard Berk, Don Petersen, Richard D. Zanuck, David Brown and Victoria Fyodorova, and the scores of other folks involved in "Target," either in front of or behind the camera. It's kind of a shame, too, because the basic concept is excellent and could have resulted in a nice, attractive movie with considerable style. But I'm afraid "Hollywood" got to it and as action came in the door, credibility leaped out a rear window. The idea is this: Matt Dillon, once again a sulky teen-ager, considers his father, Dallas lumber dealer Gene Hackman, a jerk and a wimp. Gayle Hunnicutt, wife to Hackman and mother to Dillon, goes to Paris with a group and disappears. Hackman and Dillon go to Paris to look for her and suddenly we discover that Hackman is a former CIA agent Review 'Bring On The Night' "Sting is a throwback," says Bran-ford Marsalis in "Bring on the Night." "He wants to be a musician." Saxophonist Marsalis, brother of Grammy Award-winning jazzclassical trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, is one of the reasons "Bring on the Night" has dimensions and textures beyond those usually found in rock movies. Another reason this film of 10 days in the early life of a band is fascinating for more than musical reasons is that Sting, the 34-year-old leader, is interested in being a lot more than just a rock superstar, a category of success (and excess) many people would gladly settle for. "Bring on the Night" is a fine film, more in the tradition of Martin Scorsese's "The Last Waltz" (about The Band) or D.A. Pennebaker's "Don't Look Back" (Bob Dylan) than such well-made straight concert films as Jonathan Demme's Talking Heads movie "Stop Making Sense." Both Sting and director Michael Apted ("Coal Miner's Daughter") have expressed some admiration for Demme's movie, but said they wanted to achieve a lot more than that. They have succeeded. The music essentially, the same songs and jazz-oriented instrumentalists and vocalists featured in Sting's recent concert at the Muny is excellent, but those with little.interest in even this sophisticated rock should find the movie entertaining. That is because Apted focus as much on the people involved in creating this innovative band as on the music they play. In addiiton to Sting, the stars of "Bring on the Night" include Marsalis, whose dry, funky wit is a delight; Sting's girlfriend, Trudie Styler, who was to deliver the couple's second child on camera during the filming; and Miles Copeland, Sting's abrasive American manager. Insights into the business of rock 'n' roll, as the band is assembled and rehearses for its Paris opening, are frequent and intriguing. Apted is a feature director of considerable talent, as he demonstrated in "Coal Miner's Daughter," but his background is in documentaries. His "28-Up," which tracks a group of English children at seven-year intervals in their lives, had its debut in this country to much praise at the New York and Seattle film festivals. Apted does an excellent job of telling the story of the band, not eschewing the odd ego conflict, while at the same time giving the music plenty of footage. He is particularly skillful in the second half, cutting between rehearsals, final concert and the private lives of the musicians, including the touching and tastefully handled delivery-room scene. "Bring on the Night" is a lot more than just another rock concert movie. (Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes. Rating: PG-11 At the B.A.C Quad Cinema, Brentwood) Harper Barnes From Pag S Webster University. The video exhibition will run continuously from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Nov. 12-16. at First Street Forum, 717 North First Street. Laclede's Landing. Visiting video artist Lynn Blu-menthal will appear at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12. A reception will follow. Admission: $3. Information: 421-3791. ST. LOUIS PUBLIC LIBRARY Travel Films will be featured during November at the Midweek Matinee at noon Wednesdays at the Main Library. 1301 Olive Street. This week (Nov. 13): "The Taj Mahal" and "Benares: Steps to Heaven." Free. Information: 241-2288. MACHACEK BRANCH LIBRARY Horses and simple country pleasures will be featured at the series to be shown at 1:30 p.m. Thursdays m November at the library. 6424 Scanlan Avenue. This week (Nov. 14): "A Visit With the Rancher" and "White Mane." Free. Information: 781-2948. DIVOLL BRANCH LIBRARY A series Of film classics will be shown during November at the library. 4234 North Grand Boulevard. This week: "Lawrence ol Arabia" shown at 2 p m. Nov. 14. Free. Information: 534-0313. UMSL Films are shown at the times and locations indicated. University of Missouri-St Lows. 8001 Natural Bridge Road. General Admission: $1 50. Trip week: "Three Stooges Festival" at 7:30 and 10 p m. Nov 8. Net week: "Gremlins" at 5 and 7 30 p m Nov. 14 and 7 30 and 10 p m. Nov. IS. Information: 553-5536 SlU-E The Institute lor Humanistic Studies vol conclude its observance of the International Decade for Women with a Mm festival continuing m trie 0ia Vu Room of tne Unwervty Center. Southern inmos Unrversity-Edwardsviiie. "Seven Beauties" w be shown at 7 p m. Nov 8. "Swept Away" wH be show at 1 30 p m. Nov 8 and 7 pm. Nov. 9 Each evening performance be Mowed by a panel d'scoison AJmrssyv Si matinees and $2 50 for evemngs Information: (618) 692-2619 who quit the business and took up a new identity some 20 years earlier. This, of course, makes him look a lot better to Dillon and a good story is about to begin. Not so fast . . . Despite a rather lethargic, upper-middle class existence, Hackman has not lost a single one of his skills he speaks several languages fluently, drives with the skill of a road racer, handles weapons as if he had just come from the target range, has not forgotten a name, source or telephone number. It's amazing, and totally unbelievable. I know dramatic license is necessary in fiction and I was prepared to accept a reasonable amount, but this is absurd. And his role is no less absurd than the premise that an East German would patiently wait the same amount of time in order to get revenge on the American. After all, if he could know when Hunnicutt was going to travel to Europe, he could have just as easily hired the work done in Dallas. Hackman's search for his wife, with Dillon tagging along behind, except when he wanders away and bollixes up the father's moves, takes us across Europe, from Paris to Hamburg to Berlin, as Hackman insults his former CIA companions, dodges bullets, escapes innumerable murder attempts and manages to be James Bond, Rambo and George Smiley all at the same time. If credibility were not snapped so early and often and if the proceedings were not about 20 minutes too long, this would be an enjoyable piece of entertainment. Hackman is, as always, better than competent. He approaches roles with style and an understated presence that makes them that much more powerful. He avoids bombast and unnecessary nonsense, sticks to the character at hand and makes him if not his abilities believable. Oddly, Hackman is a talented race driver, but that's the off-screen Hack-man and not the character he plays. Dillon is a very different kettle of fish. He is not only sullen, but also expressionless. If he's supposed to be a bored teen-ager, he's great, but in addition, he comes across as a bored actor, as if he's played too many S. E. Hinton characters, all directed by Francis Ford Coppola. He has a chance to add a lot of life to the film, but fails on every count. Hunnicutt is wasted, spending most of her screen time tied to a chair in an old airplane hanger, but Fyodorova and young Ilona Grubel add some charm, the former in a few wistful scenes as a one-time lover of Hack-man's, the latter as a bouncy, sexy, charmer who turns Dillon into jelly. Penn, who has directed some wonderful films ("Bonnie and Clyde," "Little Big Man," "Four Friends") generally has a better touch with action than he has shown here. (Running time: 1 hour, 57 minutes. Rating: R, language. At the Chesterfield, Jamestown, RKO Cave Springs, RKO Crestwood, RKO Esquire, RKO Village) Joe Pollack NOVEMB t- rl"?' 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