The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California on July 2, 1986 · 48
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The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California · 48

San Francisco, California
Issue Date:
Wednesday, July 2, 1986
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9mn Francisco Bxamincr SUMMER From E-3 ports that the filmmakers oscillated between turning Basil into a manic caricature of Holmes and turning him into "Bing Crosby." They've ended up with a half-formed rodent being just as obsessive as Holmes but liable to commit cute, endearing blunders, like mispronouncing the unbearably icky heroine's name. Given a quick one-year production schedule, the animators have kept a surprising amount of color and movement in each frame. But too often they resort to startling contrasts. This film doesn't approach the melodious flow of classic Disney cartoons, partly because the songs are forgettable, sub-"01i-ver!" stuff. One Rube Goldberg death machine does get the audience cheering, but the climactic, computer-animated fight in and around Big Ben is barely comprehensible. It's as if, at the last minute, the Disney folk decided on an unprepared-for happy ending. Movie review 'The Great Mouse Detective Directors: John Musker, Ron Clements, Dave Michener, Burny Mattinson Writers: Pete Young, Vance Gerry, Steve Hulett, Bruce M. Morris, Matthew O'Callaghan, Melvin Shaw, and Musker, Clements, Michener and Mattinson Rated: G Theaters: Alhambra, Empire, Century Plaza 8, Alexandria, Spruce Drive In Critic's evaluation: 12 The outlandish new action-adventure film, "Big Trouble in Little China," would appear to be more hip, at least as far as Meta-Cliche movies go. Adapted by W.D. Rich-ter from an original script by Gary Goldman and David Weinstein, the . concept of this "suspenseaction ' comedykung fughost story" has the airy craziness of Richter's directorial debut, "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai." But this Richter script is directed by John Carpenter, whose films thud instead of float. The loosely connected lunacy of Richter's best screenplays the sense of obscure incidents leading to unexpected calamities or to missed connections on a cosmic scale gets flattened out. This movie isn't a modern escapist adventure like "Buckaroo Banzai." In the not-so-grand tradition of Meta-Cliche movies, it's three episodes of an old-fashioned serial rigged out with kinda young, kinda now references. It teams up an imitation John Wayne truck-driver (Kurt Russell, in an endearingly blustery characterization) with a gung-ho Chinese sidekick (Dennis Dun) who involves him in an occult bride-snatching conspiracy occurring right under the streets of our own Chinatown. To give you an idea of how far-out this movie hopes to be, the villains include Thunder, Rain and Lightning, three warriors in armor and lampshade-shaped hats. They work for chief bad guy Lo Pan (James Hong), a 2,000-year-old man (give or take a century) who has several funny moments but is no match for Mel Brooks. To free himself of a two-millen-ium-old curse, Lo Pan searches for a green-eyed bride and winds up with two candidates: Dun's impor MOON From E-1 "Cherry Moon," the ingrained sexism is downright obnoxious. Christopher humiliates Mary's mother by having her beg for sex (in the dark it's presumably a case of mistaken identity) and cackles at the cuckolded husband of a another woman he's sleeping with. He even double-crosses his best male friend Tricky (Jerome Benton, who gives the movie's only bright performance). Worst of all, Christopher proposes to "liberate" Mary by dominating her completely. When she tries to call his bluff, screaming at him to level with her, he dons sunglasses and looks cool. Too bad she didn't knock them off. But then, that's only one of many missed opportunities in this abysmal picture. Smith will head S.F. Opera Guild EXAMINER STAFF REPORT Stephen M. Smith has been named executive director of the San Francisco Opera Guild. He moves to San Francisco from New York, where he was director of development for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Smith replaces the late Allen M. Hille-brandt ted fiancee, played by Suzee Pal; and Kim Cattrall as a crusading lawyer with the telling name of Grade Law. Some of Richter's humor comes through in the hero's offhand manner of noting that we live in "a pretty amazing planet . . . but we'd be fools to think we're all alone in this universe." The supporting characters, too, throw some pungent lines into the crazy salad there's one about how the Chinese mix Buddhism, Confucianism and alchemy to arrive at a world view that's "a salad bar." Fortunately, this film doesn't take itself too seriously. But that's a negative virtue. "Big Trouble in Little China" flatters the audience's mixed emotions about Movie review 'Big Trouble In Little China' Starring: Kurt Russell, Dennis Dun Director: John Carpenter Writers: Gary Goldman and David Z. Weinstein, adaptation by W.D. Richter Rated: PG-13 Theaters: Alexandria, Stonestown, Century Plaza 8 Critic's evaluation: action-movie conventions. One of the signal strategies of Meta-Cliche films is simultaneously to milk and poke fun at vintage melodramas (in this case, cliffhangers). But face-tiousness can only go so far in films without backfiring. It's just as predictable for Kurt Russell to knock himself cold as it would have been in the '40s for him to be invulnerable. "Big Trouble in Little China", turns into yet another failed remake of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." The original "Raiders" was the ultimate Meta-Cliche movie: It held out 75 b6i6 - IHtAIKl H it'Jl - TV YT r HUB It fe) i5IST jltuJ" J. .... il r 1 ffiTY ii 111 I'llll'liil'lfl in ft... , i -. . in- .it . .w - im'Vc? --,i'-ff- ":f' :i.,.T JlMvw1. m,mmmam0mMAM&H2tiffcfrrf&JL' ' vn nrmmm mar-trTSrWj nmrtnim,IMmmmUK rJ0 AJ. THESE sLfccTED BAy ARfeA TH6ATBES AND D R I V ENS" fc. M EJr fi W 11 Y H l 1 ar . CACT Kim (in Rmno. UA TANPnoftM DBDV IMtAIKt ALHAMBRA ST.FRANCIS M0VFT V fwn Sth ftthj PO If nwji C-WTH DAILY 1 :30,3:30, 5 30.7 4S.IO 00. Barg. mail, daily 1 st hr. only. Plus 'Splker' Dally Pycho' 12 00,3 JS. 7:00, :45. 10:25 PM. 'Spiker' I 45 b I 5 only Barg. mats. 3 III 2PM. promise for reviving the action-adventure genre. Instead, all we're getting are pale Imitations of "Raiders." I never thought I'd quote "Ca-hiers du Cinema," but what the Ca-hier reviewer said of "Raiders" Is beginning to seem prophetic: "When adventure cinema was still a dominant genre, It left enough imaginary freedom to attract the greatest filmmakers. They could then use it as a vehicle for their own concerns. . . . But when the reproduction of the genre itself becomes the subject of a film, then there remains little space for the NOW 921 1234 I THE ATM 1 ' 742-9200 - CINEMA CENTURY PLAZA 8 . SOUTH SAN WANCISCO CHESTNUT neoi SCOTT DOLBY STEREO DAILY AT: 12:30,3 :00 ,5:30 ,8:00, and 10:30PM. DOLBY STEREO DAILY AT: 1:15.3:30,6:50,8:10, and 10:30PM. M W0 - IHiAlkt NEW MISSION Mi5ION ol 77rrl mrf Plus 'Stronghold' Dally 'Psycho' 2:SS,C:4S, t0:30. 'Strong' I :00, 4 50,8:40. Barg. mats M-F til 5PM Sat 1st hr. Toes nltt barg. nile. Movie review 'Psycho III' StarDirector: Anthony Perkins Writer: Charles Edward Pogue Rated: R Theaters: St. Francis, Alhambra, New Mission, Serramonte 6, Coliseum Critic's evaluation: filmmaker or for a creative dynam 1c." There's no space for a creative Bill 9 .JjlKfc" . .-V"" PLAYING M7-2M - DHIVt-IN GENEVA NEXT TOCOW fAlACtJ - PLUS -" WISE GUYS " Open Mon-Thu 8:15PM Open FriSatSun 7:45 I' 7M-6M0 - IHtAcUt 1 Hi - IHlAlvt "1 Fremont- CINEDOME a EAST SAN JOSE prnnlliniirri rrt IP ri III Pinole-CENTURY 9 CINEMA Sin Jow-MERIDIAN QUAD dtnnAliiUni It D UULIdCUM Mrtm- contra costa cinema sn jo- Saratoga e cinema NfB $fiwMOH!f Mill , rirMfw t wh tvmiK Union City- UNION CITY Dl Sunnyvale- SUNNYVALE 6 CINEMA SHOWS TODAY AT I 1 :30.1 :4S,5:45, I IS and 10:30 PM. Twilight Discount t 5:45 PM. SHOWS TODAY AT 12 30,2:30.4:30, 8:30.1:30, and 10 25. Bargain matinees first hour Mon-Fri ec. Hols. dynamic in the "Psycho" sequels. They merely capitalize on a twisted nostalgia for Norman Bates, the mama's boy with the most famous mother since Whistler's. "Psycho II" had the core of an Idea: What if psycho-killer Bates got released from his mental Institution and V MM m 921-1234- THEATRE CINEMA 21 k CHESTNUT ft STEINEg SHOWS DAILY AT 1:15,3:25,5:35,7:45, and 9:55 PM. ALSO AT THESE SELECTED BAY EAST BAY Hayward UA HAYWARD CINEMA Berkeley - OAKS Martinez - CONTRA COSTA CINEMA Dublin DUBLIN PLACE 6 Fremont CINEDOME 8 EAST Oakland COLISEUM DRIVE IN Richmond HILLTOP MALL Vallejo VALLEJO AUTOMOVIE Antioch BRIDGEHEAD DRIVE IN Oakland 4 STAR Oakland PARKWAY CINEMA SAN JOSE San Jose MERIDIAN QUAD San Jose - OAKRIDGE 6 CINEMA EAST BAY Hayward- UA HAYWARD CINEMA Berkeley UA CINEMA Fremont- CINEDOME I EAST Pinole- CENTURY 9 CINEMA Martinez- CONTRA COSTA CINEMA Union City- UNION CITY Dl Vallejo- VALLEJO AM Antioch- BRIDGEHEAD Ol Dublin- DUBLIN CINEMA Oakland- FOUR STAR Oakland- COLISEUM Dl Concord- SOLANO Dl PENINSULA San Mateo- FASHION ISLAND CINEMA Ml. View- OLD MILL CINEMA struggled to go straight only to be hounded back Into homicide bya the scheming of everyone around' him? But this semiserious notion degenerated Into buffoonish black comedy. Instead of sustaining the audiences' rooting interest In Nor- Please see SUMMER, E-7 Thenewvisioni and triumph from the director of "Purple Rain" run m"" t.i im in PG13I3S3 MfGIMl MOTION PICTIMf StHJNDTRAC T RTHMtt miMd m Atlantic udm t itfh Jv77m. 756-6500 - THEATRE SERRAMONTE 6 NEAR SERRAMONTE MAIL PLEASE CALL THEATRE FOR SHOWTIMES AREA THEATRES AND DRIVE INS San Jose SARATOGA 6 CINEMA Sunnyvale - SUNNYVALE 6 CINEMA San Jose - CAPITOL SQUARE PENINSULA Burlingame HYATT CINEMA Mtn. View OLD MILL 6 CINEMA So.S.F. - SPRUCE DRIVE-IN NORTH COUNTIES Fairfield SOLANO MALL Vacaville - VACA VALLEY Napa . UPTOWN MARIN San Rafael - REGENCY CINEMA SANTA ROSA Santa Rosa - UA CINEMASQUARE San Bruno-UA TANFORAN PARK Burlingame- BURLINGAME Ol S. San Francisco- SPRUCE Dl SAN JOSE San Jose-' MERIDIAN QUAD San Jose- SARATOGA 6 CINEMA Sunnyvale- SUNNYVALE 6 CINEMA San Jose- OAKRIDGE C CINEMA San Jose- CAPITOL SQUARE CINEMA San Jose- CAPITOL Dl MARIN San Rafael- MONTECITO NORTH COUNTIES Santa Rosa- UA CINEMA SQUARE Fairfield - CHIEF AM Vacaville - VACA VALLEY CINEMA

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