Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois on March 2, 1990 · 142
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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois · 142

Chicago, Illinois
Issue Date:
Friday, March 2, 1990
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mm i i 1 1 ii umiii i i n iii-im i iiiniwt FrMay 74 Section 7 Chicago Tribune, Friday, March 2. 1990 CN udIovMo Rating 6 recently published guides to movies on video BJim Emerson ack in the 1930s and '40s, people went to the movies regularly "4 ana saw jusi aooui whatever was playing at the local ' bijou that week. Today, with the vast assortment of movies available for home viewing at their ccinnenience (on broadcast TV, cable movie channels, video-cassettes, laser discs), people are generally a little more selective about what they watch. , Maybe they're just over whelmed by the number of choices looming in front of them, on video store shelves and in the columns of TV programming logs. Hence the increasing role of the movie critic as consumer reporter, nudging prospective viewers one way or another to help them decide if a particular picture is worth watching, renting or even buying. Six hefty guides to movies on video have recently been published totaling 6,560 pulpy pages of tiny print in skinny columns, listing tens of thou-' . sands of movies along with opinions about their comparative aesthetic worth (or entertainment value, at least) from critics such as Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times and TVs "Siskel & Ebert," Mick Martin of the Sacramento Bee, the New York Daily News Phantom of the Movies, film historians Leonard Maltin of "Entertainment Tonight" and the late Britisher Leslie Halliwell, and millions of surveyed cable subscribers (HBO). These guides range in price from $5.95 for Maltin's paperback to $50 for Halliwell's hardback. Some aspire to being comprehensive. (Maltin's 20th anniversary edition lists capsule comments on 18,500 films, from silents to 1989 releases, including more than 7,000 available on videocassette). Others go into more detail: Ebert's 1990 edition lists more than 800 films from the last 25 years but devotes a full-length review to each and lists the names of the movie's characters as well as the actors who played them. f j ml 3 DAYS ONLY SAT., SUN. & MON. SAVE OVER 12 ON THIS 1249. SOFA FROM CHICAGOLANDS ONLY SOFA MAKER THAT ACTUALLY BUILDS SOFAS FROM THE HARDWOOD FRAMES TO THE FINISHED PIECE WITH A UNIQUE LIFETIME GUARANTEE! What a tremendous offer! An 88 "sofa built by expert craftsmen in your choice of hundreds of beautiful fabrics and meticulously tailored to the very last detail. Discover for yourself what four generations of Homer s customers already know. The best sofa makers in all Chicagoland are at Homers CHICAGOLANDS ONLY FURNITURE FACTORY SELLING DIRECT TOO 1 1 Ittnwr furniture f v ' T tohBEi AC- I A -ft . .i'-lK J' 2iS-- m -m mm m . .... m. -m mm rm w - - ... ,., - F -j wm$ 21(1 K. Roosevelt Kd. Lombard Pail) lo 1 Sat. In SM, Sun. 11-5 70X.d27-.VIOO Avilil.lhk' lis ;l ijilri'n sudl he'd Willi firm jnni'rsprint mqttn'ss. . . 'JS. mt v. nisih al Winohesler Mon. & Thurn. lo 1 Siit.lo5:10. Sun. 12-5 JI2-2JN-J7II FURNITURE CRAFTSMEN SINCE 1912 SSI N. Micks Rd. Palatine Mon.,Th., Fri. lo 1 Tu., Wedj. It Sal. lo 5:10. Sun. 12-S 70N-1SN-4900 DON'T LET THIS ONE GETAWAY! HiO N. Skokie Hlvd. Skokie Dally to 4 Sut. In 5:10, Sun. 12-S 70K-67-JltnO Or connntfAf Arwic. pfn 77.V4 W. North Ave. Flmwond Park Mon.,Th Frl. to Tu.. Weds. & Sat. to 5:10, Sun. 12-S 70N-4S2-..'0 .inS.UV.Grund Ave. ill Sacramento Daily to S Sat. to S, Sun. 12-S 112-(..1H-2I50 Some guides are designed for "family' viewing the HBO Guide includes MPAA ratings and scrutinizes its 3,000 films for content in 10 more specific categories, including "Nudity," Graphic violence and "Strong sexual content." Others appeal to more offbeat tastes: "The Phantom's Ultimate Movie Guide" lists "more than 4,000 of the latest, greatest, weirdest and rarest action, horror, sci-fi, cult, camp, comedy and classic videos, according to the cover blurb. Now you're faced with another problem: How do you decide which guide(s) to choose? The best way is to put them through their paces. Here are the basic facts about each guide's format and scope.: -Rotter Ebert s Home Movie Companion" Ebert s book, although marke ted as a guide to films on home video, is really a selection of his reviews over die last 23 years or so. This volume should be used in conjunction with one of the more comprehensive guides by those who want to go (as New Yorker critic Pauline Kael once put it) deeper into movies. These relatively short reviews don't go as deep as Kael, but they go into greater detail than Ebert on his TV show. As a critic, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ebert has a conversational style and is very generous with his stars. Four-star ratings abound, for such disparate movies as "3 Women," "On Golden Pond." "Blow Out," "Housekeeping," "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia," "Mississippi Burning" and its aesthetic and thematic antithesis, "Do the Right Thing." He gives his lowest rating (one star) to. "Blue Velvet" (too smug, campy and full of cheap shots) and the mutilated American version of Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West" (but his highest rating to the restored, 227-minute version, ayajabfe,pn cassette).,,. Ebert also includes interviews with 23 filmmmakers and actors, an anticolorization essay titled "Why I love Black and White" (the cover of the book itself is in black and white as a homage), questions and answers about black and white, a list of 10 great black-and-white films, a suggested basic video library, a list of movie sources, a guide to state-of-the-art video projection systems and Ebert's own idiosyncratic movie glossary. "Leslie Halliwell's Film Guide" Halliwell's is the most detailed guide when it comes to behind-the-scenes credits, including the film's writers, source novel or play, cincmatographcr, score composer, distributor. Academy Awards (and nominations) and whether the film was released in Technicolor or Metrocolor, Panavision or Cinema-Scope or Todd-AO. As a critic, however, Halliwell is something of a grumpy old English fuddy-duddy. The British tilm historian (who died last Sec Guides, following page

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