Dayton Daily News from Dayton, Ohio on July 20, 1988 · 32
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Dayton Daily News from Dayton, Ohio · 32

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Wednesday, July 20, 1988
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32
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3 . C Dayton Daily New Wed., July 20, 1988 Midnight Run' is just plain fun By Tarry Lawson FILM CRITIC I'm certainly an admirer of Robert De Niro, but I must admit that the idea of him starring in an action-chase comedy as a bounty hunter evading the mob, the FBI and whatever other gun-toting threats a scriptwriter can conjure in to bring in his man and collect his reward did not have me overly eager. De Niro is one of America's best actors, but he is also one of the most stylized, and thereby difficult to take seriously in genre pictures. Remember Falling In Love? The Last Tycoon? But to my surprise and probably everyone else's De Niro is not only perfectly cast in Midnight Run, turning in his best all-around performance since his brilliant cameo in Brazil he's also lucky enough to give that performance in one incredibly entertaining movie. There is nothing whatsoever novel or arty about Midnight Run, and in the end, that's probably to its credit: By steadfastly sticking to basics, it never falls victim to pretentious conceits, as did De Niro's last two outings, The Untouchables and Angel Heart. Like that other summer crowd pleaser, Bull Durham, it's an example of how fresh and fun a formula film can seem when it's well-written, well-cast and made with enthusiasm. ! One way in which scriptwriter George Gallo and director Martin Brest (Beverly Hills Cop, but don't hold that against him) pull this off is by adhering to old-fashioned storytelling principles: They never reveal too much too soon. At the beginning of the film, we learn that De Niro's character, Jack Walsh, is a bounty hunter, that he is very good at his job, that he is often in the employ of a notoriously stingy bail bondsman (Joe Pantoliano), and that he often competes for rewards with another industrious but not-so-bright tracker-for-hire, Marvin Dorf ler (John Ashton). The bail bondsman exhibits his faith in Walsh's abilities when he offers him $100,000 to bring in his biggest skip ever: A mild-mannered accountant named Jonathan Mardukas (Charles Grodin) who made three very major mistakes. He embezzled $15 million; he embezzled it from a very vindictive Chicago mob boss, Jimmy Serrano (Dennis Farina); and then he gave it all . well, the greatest part of it away ;lo charity. But now he's on the lam, and lot more folks than Walsh have an interest in his whereabouts. There's the jnob boss, of course, who has two of his own guys on the case, and then there's the FBI team, headed by Alonzo Mosely (Yaphet Kotto), who would like to put Mardukas on the stand to testify against his former employer. And final-ly, there's Mardukas himself, who MIDNIGHT RUN V2 Excellent Good Fair Poor knows that no matter who finally ends up taking him into custody, he's ultimately a dead man. And that will become the abiding issue when Walsh finally snags his man, only to find himself being pursued across the country by gangsters, hired hitmen, rival bounty hunters, the Feds, various local law enforcement agents and, just as relentlessly, his own conscience and his own past. As captor and captee begin their own bickering, bantering and negotiating knowing that both their futures depend on how they maintain this wary relationship Midnight Run manages to make the time between shootouts, chases, hoodwinks and double-crosses every bit as exciting and absorbing as the fireworks. Of course, watching De Niro and Grodin square off is almost worth the price of admission: As you might expect, they play the conflict of World's Crudest Creep vs. World's Fussiest Fellow for all it's worth, to hilarious result. But if they're the center of attention, they've surrounded themselves with the creme de la creme of American actors, from Pantoliano to Farina to Koto to Ashton, all of whom play parts they could play in their sleep, yet all of whom take care to do the very best variation yet. It's the hallmark of this movie, and it works so well that even when Brest and the boys get greedy, slipping in one too many chases and one too many switcheroos, we hardly mind, because at that point, we're already far ahead of the game. After the first sparkling hour of Midnight Run, everything else is just gravy. My only complaint, in fact, is the timing: Not of the film itself, but of its release. If a film as good as Midnight Run gets lost amid the Rambos, Rabbits and Russkies that are holding up box offices across the country, some marketing executive deserves to see a bounty on his head. This should have probably been released in October when movie-goers are looking for relief from all those serious, semi-arty projects the studios usually unload in fall. This is the perfect antidote: Brawn with brains, dead-serious silliness. I had a great time. MIDNIGHT RUN is playing at the Beaver Valley and Cinema North theaters. It is rated R, for violence and vulgar language. Running time: 125 minutes. "Die Hard' is pack of energy Willis perfect as reluctant hero By Terry Lawson FILM CRITIC If, like me, you figured that any movie named after a battery would probably be in dire need of jumper cables, let me quickly set you straight: Die Hard has more pure energy than any action film released thus far in 1988. Produced by Joel Silver and Lawrence Gordon, the canny team responsible for 48 HRS the film that kicked off the genre a friend calls "schtickson" a hybrid of comic schtick and full-bore action Die Hard is, minute for minute, as entertaining as these formula films get, and can be expected to enjoy one long afterlife at the box office. And that prediction is courtesy of someone who figured any film that tried to pass off Bruce Willis as a cross between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Clint Eastwood would have to be more bogus that Willis' own attempts to pass himself off as a rock and roller. He wasn't the producers' first choice either, but they ought to be pretty happy now that Clint and others passed this up, because Willis turns out to be the perfect choice to play Die Hardb reluctant hero. In most of the adult comic-book movies, the hero is either invulnerable or unstoppable, but Willis' character, a New York cop named John McClane, is decidedly life-size. He's been whittled to that proportion of late by the departure of his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), who has moved to LA to take a high-level corporate job for a Japanese multinational firm with an ultramodern skyscraper headquarters in Century City. And when he goes to pay her and his daughter a visit on Christmas Eve, he discovers she's even reclaimed her maiden name. McClane discovers this when the building guard tries to locate her on the high-tech company's computer directory, which finally reveals she's upstairs at the company's lavish Christ- DIE HARD Excellent Good Fair Poor mas party, hosted by her boss. He's just given Holly a promotion, but it's the last decision he's ever to make. While John is freshening up in the executive washroom, a group of extremely well-dressed fellows, with machine guns for accessories, invade the building and take the party guests hostage. And when the company president refuses to tell their suave leader Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) the access code for the vault, Gruber orders him murdered an event witnessed by the still concealed McClane. McClane's presence in the building is ultimately discovered, after he surreptitiously takes down one terrorist and manages to use his walkie-talkie to attract the attention of a desk cop named Al (Reginald Veljohnson), who quickly becomes his sole comrade and link to the outside world. But as he moves through elevator shafts, heating ducts and rooftops, his position remains unknown by the ever-cool Gruber and his more excitable second-in-command, Karl (Alexander Gu-dunov). Karl wants him dead while Gruber just wants him neutralized until these phony terrorists can complete their real objective, which is ripping off the corporation's assets. If Die Hard were only a game of cat and mouse, it would be one impressive chase, punctuated with daredevil stuntwork, great shootouts and the pithy one-liners from heroes and villains alike we've come to expect from this picture. But Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza's script gives a great deal more than gunplay and giggles. The characters are all developed far beyond the usual stereotypes, and dialogue is actually witty. Sometimes, it's even rather touching, as when a beleaguered McClane begins to realize just how his marriage went sour, or when his long-distance helpmate Al helps him get over a confidence crisis. Bruce Willis battles terrorists in LA office building And while Willis may be an off-the-wall choice for the lead, he turns out to be an inspired one; his McClane may not exactly be everyman, but he is a lot more recognizable to an audience than the usual Cinematic Commando; his resourcefulness actually seems to come from inside rather than from a scriptwriter's imagination. Rickman, making his movie debut after winning over theater critics via his starring role in Broadway's Les Laisons Dan-gereuses, is such a hissable villain that he should probably take care selecting his next part; otherwise, he's so convincing he could be forever typecast. Bedelia has little to do but as usual does it excellently, and Veljohnson is so endearing he'll probably be offered a television series based on his character. And while director John McTiernan intelligently avoids letting Die Hard descend into pure style and flash, cirie-matographer Jan De Bont and production designer Jackson DeGovia "also manage to turn it into the best-looking action-adventure movie in memory, especially in its 70mm version, which, unfortunately, isn't being shown in Dayton. But don't let that deter.'you: Die Hard is such an audience please,? it would probably still elicit screams oh a Sony Watchman. Like its namesake, this one will never let you down. DIE HARD is playing at the Beavercreek, Dayton Mall and Salem Mall theaters. It is rated R, for violence, vulgar language and brief jiuiii-, ty. Running time: 1 32 minutes. Show limes are provided by theaters. Accuracy cannot be guaranteed. BEAVERCREEK CINEMAS - Who Framed Roller Rabbit, (PGI 1, 3:15. 5:30, 7:45. 10 om; Coming To America, (R) 2, 5, 7:30, 10 p.m., The Dead Poo!, (R) )-30, 3 30, 5:30, 7:30, 9:30 p.m.; Big, (PG) 1. 3:15, 5:30, 7:45, 10 p.m., Diehard (R) 1, 4, 7, 10p.m.; Crocodile' Dundee II, (PG) 1:30, 4, 7:15, J0 p.m.; Arthur 2: On The Rocks, (PG) 1:45, 4:30, 7:15,930 p.m. BEAVER VALLEY - License To Drive, (PG-13) 1:20, 3:30, 5:35, 7:40, 9:40 p.m.; Short Circuit 2, (PG) 12:30, 2:45, 5:10, 7:30, 9:45 p.m.. Midnight Run, (R) 12, 2:30, 5, 7:30, 9:55 p.m.. Phantasm II, (R) 12:40, 2.50, 5, 8:10, 10:15 p.m.; Bull Durham, (R) 12:45, 3, 5:20, 6, 10:10 P.m.; Bambi, (G) 1, 2:30. 4, 5:30, 7 p.m., Big Business, (PG) 8:30, 10:20 p.m, CENTERVILLE - Big Business, (PG) 12:50, 2:55, 5, 7 05, 9:10 p.m.; Bambi, (G) 1, 3, 5, 7 p.m.; Red Heal, (R) 9 p.m., Arthur 2: On The Rocks, (PG) 1:30, 4, 7:10, 9:35 p.m ; License To Drive, (PG-13) 1, 3:05, 5:10, 7:15, 9:20 p.m.; Coming To America, (R)2, 4:30,7,9:30 p.m. CINEMA NORTH - Bambi. (G) 1:30, 3:20, 5:10, 7 p.m ; Big Business, (PG) 830, 10:15 p.m.; License To Drive, (PG-13) 2, 4, 5:55, 8, 10 p.m.; Short Circuit 2, (PG) 1 45, 4:30, 7:15, 930 p.m.; Midnight Run, (R) 2, 4:45, 7:30, 10 p.m.; Bull Durham, (R) 2:15, 5, 7:30, 9:45 p.m. DABEL Funnv Farm, (PG) 4:30, 7:15, 9:45 p.m. DAYTON MALL Who Framed Roger Rabbit, (PG) 1, 3:15, 5:30, 7:45, 10 p.m.; The Dead Pool, (R) 1:30, 3:30, 5 30, 7:30, 9:30 p.m.; Bull Durham, (R) 1:25, 3:35, 5:45, 7:55, 10:05 P.m.; Big, (PG) 1, 3:10, 5:20, 730, 9:40 p.m.; 'Crocodile' Dundee II, (PG) 1:30, 4, 7:15, 9:30 p.m.; Short Circuit 2, (PG) 1:45, 4:30, 7:15, 9:45 p.m Die Hard, (R) 1, 4, 7, 10 p.m.; Willow, (PG) 2, 4:45, 7:30, 10 p.m. ENGLEWOOD CINEMA - Funnv Farm, (PG) 430, 7:15,9:45 p.m. FAIRBORN - Beelteiuice, (PG) 7:30, 9:30 p.m.; Funnv Farm, (PG) 8, 10 p.m. HUBER HEIGHTS - Beelteiuice, (PG) 4:30, 7:15, 9:45 p.m. KETTERING - Beelteiuice (PG) 730, 9:30 p.m.; Funnv Farm, (PG) 8, 10 p.m. LITTLE ART - Bellman And True, (R) 7, 905 p.m. NEON MOVIES - The Manchurian Candidate, (PG-13) 5:15, 9:30 p.m.; Da, (PG) 7:45 p.m PAGE MANOR - Beelleiuice, (PG) 7:30, 9:30 p.m.; Funnv Farm, (PG) 8, 10 p m. SALEM AVENUE Coming To America, (R) 12:30, 2:45, 5, 7.30, 9:45 p.m.; 'Crocodile' Dundee II, (PG) 12:40, 2:50, 5:10, 7:45, 9:55 p.m.; The Dead Pool, (R) 12:50, 3, 5:20, 8, 10:10 P.m. SALEM MALL Who Framed Roger Rabbit, (PG) 12:50, 2:55, 5, 7:30, 10 p.m.; Die Hard, (R) 1:15, 4, 7:20, 9:15 p.m.; Big, (PG) 12:45, 3, 5:10, 7:40, 10:10 p.m.; The Great Outdoors, (PG) 1, 3, 5:10, 7:50, 10:05 p.m S0UTHT0WN CINEMA The Great Outdoors, (PG) 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7 30, 9:30 p.m.; Phantasm II, (R) 2, 4, 5:55, 8, 10 p m. TROY MAYFLOWER CINEMA Who Framed Roger Rabbit, (PGI 7:30, 9:45 p.m., The Dead Pool, (R) 7:30, 9:45 p.m. TROY SHERWOOD CINEMA - Coming To America, (R) 7:30, 9:30 p.m. WASHINGTON SQUARE - Au Revor Les Enlants, (PG) 5:30, 7:45, 10 p.m. DRIVE-INS BELMONT AUTO - Poltergeist III, (PG-13) 9:15 p.m., Rambo ill, (R) 10:45 p.m.; The Seventh Sign, (R) 12:15 a.m. DIXIE Coming To America, (R) 930 p.m.; 'Fatal Attraction, (H) 11:35p.m. MELODY 49 The Dead Pool, (R) 9:15 phi.; Above The Law, (R) 10:45 p.m.; Phantasm II, (R) 9:15 p.m.; Action Jackson. (R) 11 p.m. PARK LAYNE - The Dead Pool, (R) 9:15 p.m.; Above The Law?, (R) 10:45 p.m. PIOUA 36 The Dead Pool, (R) 9:15 p.m.; Action Jackson, (R) 10:45 p.m. ' ,l I SHERWOOD NORTH - The Dead Pool, (R) 930 p.m.; Above The Law. (R) 11:10 p.m. SHERWOOD SOUTH - Coming To America, IR) 930 p.m.; Fatal Attraction, (R) 1135 p.m. TROY DIXIE - Nightmare On Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors, (R) 9:15 p.m.; Phantasm II, (R) n p.m.; Flowers In The Attic, (R) 12:30 p.m. 31m ill 1 'li'Yk f I ll tCUl I I B I lll ! H !M A L i Fj m 3 tTM iTT""i iii LLv'iLrkLVMb t'&SeWiS&UHKMb - :- 'MWjiPMll!-'-- -. sf m& i)hHHHHHHHHHHHH jjii sj ill m jfjll is ilBl! ilHil illlil "'B : A ,BrPP I "" r STARTS TODAY ! 1 No Passes This Engagement IB 9am 1 pm -4 pm 7 pm -10 pm 1PM-4PM-7PM-10PM SALBM MALL 1 HOC SAKM AVI HUf 837 J306 1:15-4PM-7:20-9:50 "A NON-STOP BELIXFULL OF LAUGHS! DeNiro and Grodin are terrific!" -Jeffrey Lyons, Sneak PreviewsCBS Radio "Two thumbs up! Wonderful, warm-hearted and funny!" - Siskcl & Kbert "Completely original... a real surprise! A cross-country chase picture that's filled with action and a lot of humor. You'll want to see it again!" Roger Ebert, Siskcl & Eberl 4 A terrific run for your money! It'll have you laughing while your heart jumps!" Gere Shalil, The Ibday ShowNBC "The best buddy movie since 'The Sting'! DeNiro and Grodin are sensational... the perfect odd couple!" - Pat Collins, WWOR-TV "One of the funniest comedy teams of the year!" - Brum Williamson, I'LAVBOY "A material! It's thrilling. . .exciting : and funny! De Niro and Grodin fS are great!" . - - Gent- s,sM. Siskel & Chert . "Run-don't walk-to-" 'Midnight Run', the'w-f-comedy surprise of I the summer!" Bill Harris, At the MoviesShowtlmjT' "A top-notch movierc wit h last action. laughs galore and K9J tnnrh nfhpartl" Judith Crist ROBERT DE NIRO CHARLES GRODIN MIDNIGHT a (TIT LIGHT FILMS production a MARTIN BRKST FILM "MIDNIGHT RUN" WHET KOTTO JOHN ASHTON sr . uu.k i- L'A J VA IML' l)ArVll A MM if.' f iL'l till IL A 'f'V'. R RMTHICTID Mm nt or xdui i r.uNmit TIKI WllSDONAU) 'ITIORIN, A.S.C. SOI MITKA' K AVAIUBU: ON .MIA KH 'IKIlS lASSims WlTius HUM lilt: IMKW HoTik S?3 A I'MVERSAL PICTDRE cms unpens! OTYlttMN,il FROM THE DIRECTOR OF "BEVERLY HILLS COP." BtAVKR VAUMY 3349 M TltKSON ROAD tit Btlt ritfaMaiaMiaaUlVil 276 - 4111 UA 12:00-2:30-5:00 7:30-9:55 2:00-4:45-7:30 10:00 Sm Ctnterville Ad For Timtt

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