The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California on February 15, 1985 · 70
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The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California · 70

San Francisco, California
Issue Date:
Friday, February 15, 1985
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E6 Friday, February 15, 1985 San Francisco Examiner Taut drama of a reporter with a killing connection By Barbara Shulgasscr Examiner staff critic , OMPARED TO Phillip Borsos dire tion of 'The Mean Season, Brian , Do Palma's Hitchcock "homages" look like a lot of mindless aping. The Mean Season" Is a taut piece of work right down to the throbbing vein that stands out on Kurt Russell's forehead. Russell plays Malcolm Anderson, a crime reporter who after eight years In the business is tired of seeing his ''name in the newspaper next to dead bodies." His threats of resignation are an office Joke by now. When a colleague catches him riffling through the papers on his desk, she asks if he's lost something. "Enthusiasm, ambition, drive," he replies. But this time he is in love with Christine (Mariel Hemingway) and the two are ready to move to Colorado where he wUI be managing editor of a small paper. Then a story falls into his lap a seeming ly routine murder until the killer, who admires Mai's writing, calls to announce there will be more blood and that Mai is to be his "conduit" to the public. Richard Jordan, who is starting to look like Peter Lorre, is good as the breathy, thoughtful murderer who begias to hate Malcolm when he finds he is making the reporter a star rather than becoming one himself. "I'm doing all the work and you're getting the attention," he tells Mai. Russell gives an immaculate performance as a man who has been frequently revulscd by the unpalatable requirements of his job. I le Interviews a dead girl's mother and you can see his self-disgust as he nods and coos to cajole a story out of her. Borsos, who also directed the romantic and lush "The Grey Fox," is not out to stun you as a director. He works in quiet, small ways, with vague visual and aural keynotes echoing throughout the movie. The ominous storm clouds moving over the horizon during the Florida hurricane "mean season" are like REVIEW highlights "The Mean Season," directed by Phillip Bonos,, written by Leon Piedmont; based on novel by John Katzenbach, music by Lalo Schilrin. with Kurt Russell. Mariel Hemingway and Richard Jordan. A Miami reporter sick of writing about dead bodies la drawn into a mass murderer's plana when the killer phones with news of each new murder. The killer, who admires the Journalist's writing, feeds him Information giving the reporter a jump on the competition covering the story, and raising' ,the question of where reporting ends and collaboration begins. Borsos handles the Intricate story with Hitchcockian aplomb and performances are unimpeachable. Rated R. Top admission: $5,50. At the Alhambra, New Mission, Coliseum. St. Francis and Serramonte 6. " the feathers that cover two victims who were shot through pillows to muffle the gunshot. The script is savvy, and for the most part a truer depiction of the Journalistic process than either "Absence of Malice" or "All the President's Men." The screenplay by Leon Piedmont is from "In the Heat of the Sum- ; mer," a novel by John Kataenbach, a former ,' crime reporter for the Miami Herald. '' They do not neglect to add cynicism. The ''i city editor whispers to Mai, "Our illustrious publisher thinks you may be entering Pulit-" zer territory," and soon Mai Is excusing his grab for fame with claims of journalistic responsibility. When his girlfriend wants him to drop the story, he tells her he cant because the killer will only talk to him. "Are you reporting it or participating in it?" she wants to know. Hemingway, whose most salient quality in past films has been wideness - primarily in the face and neck has never been much of an actress. But as Christine she drops her little girl whine and finally shows some depth. So one can almost forgive the gratuitoas peek at Hemingway's recently beefed-up chest. Hemingway was sillconed for her role as a Playboy bunny, apparently in the name of art, which seems a bit like Boris Karloff (havlng his forehead surgically elongated to pjay Frankenstein's monster. Presumably in her ease there are extra-vocational benefits. , The Mean Season" has plenty of rational lapses, but so do "The Big Sleep" and "North by Northwest," and both work anyway. Besides, to delineate these weaknesses would give away too much of the plot, One loose end involves a letter that leads Mai to a source. How does the letter-writer know Mai w ill respond? , j, Another turn of plot depends on the police ignoring how long a particular dead body has been lying around. But again, going into this gives too much away. , 1 Borsos, only 31, works with an exciting and innate skill rather than a facile ability to , reproduce other people's style. Most exciting t is that at his age he should be good for. another 50 years. S "The Mean Season" opens today at the! Alhambra, New Mission, Coliseum, St. Fran-1 els and Serramonte 6. Making a hero of a graffiti painter pi n M By Barbara Shulgasser Examiner staff critic I ANY URBANfTES appar ently subscribe to the notion that graffiti is the best revenge. "Turk 182" is here to confirm this position. Jimmy Lynch, a.k.a. "Turk 182," Is a young man who risks arrest and occasionally his life to deface trains, computer scoreboards and other public monuments in the name of justice, 1 Jimmy (Timothy Hutton) is harassing New York's Mayor Tyler because rjis brother, a fireman, has been robbed of his pension. The brother, Terry "Turk" Lynch (Robert Urich), 4as injured off duty when he heroically rescued a child from a burning building near his local pub. The authorities have frozen his benefits. They claim Terry was drunk, j Jimmy petitions City Hall but is swatted like a bothersome insect by the mayor who is too busy running for reelection to hear Jimmy's troubles. This is perhaps the most unrealistic moment in a film overflowing with Unreallsm. Any sensible politician would immediately recognize the opportunity to aid a handicapped civil servant as a public relations bonanza. J Jimmy begins painting the city with an anti-Tyler slogan. Everyone Joves a harmless criminal, particularly ,$ne who eludes the law, so he soon REVIEW highlights "Turk 1821" directed by Bob Clark, written by James Gregory Kingston and Denis and John Hamill, with Timothy Hutton, Robert Urich, Robert Culp and Darren McGavin. Jimmy's brother Terry is a New York fireman injured In the line of duty but denied his pension. Taking on Terry's nickname, "Turk," Jimmy begins a campaign to harass the mayor into coming up with the money. How Jimmy, a 20-year-old unemployed drifter, can afford all the equipment his stunts require is never mentioned.' Plausibility is not the movie's strength but you find a mild smile settling on your face lor long stretches. Rated P6-13. Top admission: $5. At the Alexandria and Serra. ' becomes a hero with all the trappings: T-shirts; newspaper headlines; television. Everything but the movie rights. The schemes grow more daring. When the mayor unveils a paint-proof subway car, Jimmy; disguised as a transit maintenance man, sandblasts the surface and covers the car with paint. " How does the unemployed Jimmy afford to buy sandblasters? And ropes and pulleys for hoisting himself onto the' billboards? And if this average, unemployed Brooklyn youth' knows how to do all these things, how come he can't find a job? While we're at it, what does graffiti have to do with securing a disabled fireman's pension? The filmmakers must have been wondering, too, be- ms . . . v. if iiamA U...iiii.M...iltl-i 1 I ..- Billboard's top LPs Timothy Hutton with social worker Kim Cattrall in 'Turk 182' cause about 10 minutes from the closing credits of "Turk," they throw in a television interview in which Jimmy explains all. "182," by the way, is brother Terry's badge number. , , . Implausibility aside, "Turk" is a cheery little movie. As Jimmy, Hutton lit&bly snorts his words like a new wave Leo Gorcey. . . '$Also good is Darren McGavin, who is becoming a master of the memorable cameo. As he did in "The Natural," he gives his small role sparkle; This time he plays a sly and rumpled detective on Turk's tail. , Kim Cattrall, as Terry's social worker, is the weakest member of the cast When Turk's identity dawns on her, she does everything but switch on a lightbulb over her head. Is this What they mean by a luminous performance? One more question. Why does everyone who is supposed to be from New York talk like a thug? It's a tough city, but you don't have to be a gangs-tun to live dere. This film opens today at the Alexandria and Serra. This week's top record albums as compiled by Billboard magazine: 1. "Like a Virgin" - Madonna (Sire) 2. "Make It Big"-Wham (Columiba) 3. "Born in the U.S. A." Bruce Springsteen (Columbia) 4. "Ccnterficld" John Fogerty (Warner Bros.) 5. "Agent Provocateur" Foreigner (Atlantic) . 6. "New Edition"- New Edition (MCA) 7. "Purple Rain" Prince & the Rev- olution (Warner Bros.) 8. "Reckless" Bryan Adams (A4M) 9. "17"- Chicago (Full Moon-Warner Bros.) 10. "Private Dancer" Tina Turner (Capitol) 11. "Big Bam Boom" Daryl Hall & John Oates (RCA) 12. 'Beverly Hills Cop' Soundtrack" (MCA) it t o , ' I r: 13. "Suddenly"- Billy Ocean (Jivo Arista) 14. "Building the Perfect Beast'- i Don Henley (Gef fen) ' 15. "Vheels AreTurnmg"-REp Speedwagon(Epic) ' 16. "She's So Unusual" Cyndi I-au:. , per (Portrait) f,. , 17. 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