The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California on May 23, 1986 · 77
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The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California · 77

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San Francisco, California
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Friday, May 23, 1986
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77
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Friday, May 23, 190GE-3 Love tries to conquer politics -I t in: id: -y js ; By Barbara Shulgatier EXAMINER STAFF CRfTlC San Francisco Examiner ai,w,MIIM"l,'B,-IMMI,l"ltMW I I V i ' . . 1 I , km m 7 el I., t; s i Oliver Robins and Heather O'Rourke face the forces of darkness In 'Poltergeist II' Not a ghost of a chance By Allan Uirich EXAMINER STAFF CRITIC IN AN EARLIER cinematic era, it took on$ a silver bullet, an upraised crucifix or a stake driven through the heart. But to rid yourself of a movie monster in 1986, it takes nothing less than a sequel. .Said monster and said sequel open today at the Northpoint as "Poltergeist II: The Other Side," a movie lodged somewhere between life and death, between rip-off and invention, between exploitation and mordant wit. First, this is definitely a movie targeted at the millions who persevered through Papa "Poltergeist" in 1982. ABC obliged with a reshow-ing of that ectoplasmic classic last weekend, and, just in case the mind wanders off or a neophyte wanders in, director Brian Gordon cuts in flashbacks of the eerie doings in the suburban vistas of Cuesta Verde (what the heck, use the footage, it can't cost that much more). - When, in part one, Craig T. Nel son, JoBeth Williams and . brood abandoned the, smoldering chasm that was their split-level and headed for a sojourn with grandmother, we never suspected the following: ' That little Carol Anne, the girl who got sucked into the next dimension, was imbued with clairvoyant powers, as are her mother and grandma, too; that those maleficent spirits who plagued them also are Capable of traipsing through the Southwest seeking the living who Ann Landers y Victims of suicide EAR READERS: Recently a Mobile woman wrote to say she had read a great deal about how parents cope with the suicide of their children, but she had nqver seen anything by children whose parents had killed themselves. "Please ask your readers how they dealt with this tragedy," she wrote. ' "I need help." I was staggered by the responses. The letters were extremely poignant and insightful. Here are some excerpts. From Chicago: Maybe I can help the woman in Mobile. My dad picked Father's Day to kill himself. His choice of the date, I felt, carried ' a special message for me. I was his only child. After my parents were divorced, I saw very little of Dad, but it was his choice, not mine. Almost every attempt I made was rebuffed. When we were together he did everything possible to make me feel rotten. His suicide sent me into a hellish depression. Thank God I found a marvelous therapist Royal treatment 'SCfttPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE Cant get enough of Prince Charles and Princess Diana? : Then "The Prince and Princess ;of Wales, Talking Personally" is for you. Brought to you by the folks at Vcstron Vidoo, the original production features the royal couple chat-, ting. The tape will be released June 11. i 1 V Movio review 'Poltergeist II: The Other Side Starring: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams Screenplay: Michael Grais, Mark Victor Director: Brian Gibson Rating: PG-13 Theatre: Northpoint Critic's Evaluation: --'j possess the power, and that anyone would labor to foist another 90 minutes of shock tactics upon summer audiences, when the original "Poltergeist" said it all. The earlier film cleverly combined chills and chuckles. It offered enough pseudo-scientific jabber to lure the viewer into its trap, and "Poltergeist" (directed by Tobe Hooper, but with reported assists from Steven Spielberg) was sophisticated in the way it built its thrills from clever little stunts to gut-wrenching horrors. And it observed life in middle-class suburbia with remarkably sardonic humor. For constructing their homes on a graveyard, thus tampering with the natural order, the inhabitants of Cuesta Vista paid, and paid. In "Poltergeist II," the script by Michael Grais and Mark Victor just shovels on the gore, and there's little shock value because the appearance of every flayed hand or mold-ering body is heralded by a deafen who helped me understand that I must not let my father punish me from the grave as he did in life. I owe my sanity to that wonderful psychiatrist. From Tucson: My mother killed herself eight years ago when I was 16. She had made several attempts, but we always managed to get her to the hospital in time. I knew one day she would succeed, but when it happened, I was not prepared for the shock. Our family doctor pulled me through. He made me understand that if a person is determined to end it all, nothing can be done to change the course of events. From Minneapolis: My mother-in-law shot herself on Christmas Day. She left behind a husband who blamed himself (unjustifiably), children who were devastated because they had no idea she was contemplating such a thing, and grandchildren who keep asking if suicide is hereditary. No one can understand why she did it. How sad that she didn't stick around to enjoy her beautiful grandchildren, especially the one w ho looks exactly like her. She would have been so proud. From New Orleans: Four years ago my mother took 150 sleeping pills and died in the night. Three months later my father hanged himself in the garage. I was the eldest child and my reaction was GUMP OPEllltlG SALE BDQYQUARD STATIONARY BIKE , 995 REG. $359..... NOV $299 , M 960 REG. $399 NOW $359 ' BOWERS 614XL REG. $299... NOV $249 :CsI CHROME DUMBELLS i 3LB. REG. $18.95......... NOW $ 9.95 5LB. REG. $24.95 NOW $13.95 U : - : g; WE &PfcUUiE IN MOME GVM OfcSlON AND PtflSONAiiZEO WE GAHftV All UKMA BPANDS iNauOiNQ PARAMOUNT. MOW ARK EKCEl , MARCV, IANWCE. PRITIMH AND fXCtUS'VElV ON THE PENiSbiAA, THE PSECOB "M ' SEHES AS SEEN ON MS AMI VICE RPvOMn FiTMESS A0 9? I ing outburst from composer Jerry Goldsmith. The aim is to terrify and anything goes. After grandma (Gerald-ine Fitzgerald) dies, she phones Carol Anne (a direct steal from Muriel Spark's novel, "Memento Mori"). There's a wise Indian (Will Sampson), pledged to protecting the Freelings from the undead. And when Nelson swallows a worm in a bottle of mezcal, you know the movie will follow it with more than a case of mild indigestion. Gibson, a British director, who has concentrated previously on television, still musters a few scary moments. The orthodontists in America will rise up in protest after a sequence involving a boy's braces. And there's a nifty little episodes with the family trapped in a station wagon. Most of the performers enter into the conceit with relish. Zelda Ru-. binstein, the "magic munchkin" with aviator glasses, who "cleans" houses, has returned. And, as the leader of the lost souls, the late actor-director Julian Beck (in his last performance) approximates an itinerant preacher with teeth like a Steinway keyboard. If "Poltergeist" contained an ecological message, its clone stresses family values. That linking hands can save one from the abyss is an explanation even horror fans should laugh off the screen. Pile on the grossness if you must, but please save the sermons for the Sabbath. tremendous rage. How could they have left me with the responsibility of raising three younger brothers? Our pastor (a woman) pulled me through. She counseled me four times a week for 2Vi years. I am no longer angry. Just sad. I am also convinced that anyone who takes his or her own life is mentally ill. From Sacramento: I tried suicide twice, but I'll never try it again because of what a woman wrote in Newsweek Feb. 7. Anne-Grace Scheinin, a manic-depressive like her mother, tried several times to kill herself. When her mother was found dead of asphyxiation in the garage, she vowed she would go on living no matter what. Her words convinced me that I would, too. Here they are: "Suicide doesn't end pain. It only lays it on the broken shoulders of those left behind." From Denver: I was 13 when my mother killed herself. For 14 years my attitude was pure hostility. "She didn't need me so I don't need her." I felt abandoned. After ruining a good marriage, I finally decided I needed help. My therapist was terrific. After two months he advised me to go to my mother's 'grave, cuss her out and then say, "I love you anyway, Mom." I did just that and it was a miraculous cure for my sick soul. 1 recommend this to Mobile. It made a different person out of me. 435 MiMSiTT WE. PALO ALIO (4E5) 325-2522 CnDEU 11 PHCfiE ETTER TO BREZHNEV" is a sweet, crazy little movie in which romantic music swells as lovers embrace, stars twinkle on cue and a mother abjures the nurturing role to curse out her daughter routinely with language that would wilt a Teamster. The low-budget British film ($70,000), opening today at the Cannery, is partly a story of young love, partly a commentary on political ignorance, partly a portrait of lower class English mores and economic deprivation and partly a daft comedy that moves between reality and fantasy like a rabbit popping in and out of a top hat. Director Chris Bernard's presti-digitatious bent accounts for this, and the magic is aided by family collaboration. In Frank Clarke's script he has the material through which to convey the lives of two pleasure-seeking missiles named Teresa (Margi Clarke, Frank's sister) and Elaine (Alexandra Pigg, Margi's best friend) who frequent the kind of establishments in which women without male accompaniment are viewed as open invitations to sexual adventure. At one such spot, the duo repay the coarse advances of a swarthy lout by filching his wallet. At another, they aggressively respond to the interest of two Russian sailors docked in Liverpool for the day, while Teresa's prim underpinnings peak through. "Play hard to get!" she advises. ' Elaine falls in love with Peter (played by the angel-faced Peter Firth) after they spend a chaste night talking into the wee hours in a rented room. Meanwhile, in the next room, Sergei (a regally mournful Alfred Molina) and Teresa find more strenuous ways to occupy their time. Elaine, who is unemployed, and Teresa, employed by a poultry factory, where she spends her days with fingers exploring the cavities of chicken carcasses, are heavy with the burdens of life in a depressed British economy. Their strife is as simple as their pleasures; they suffer no existential conflicts. What Elaine and Teresa worry about most is who will pay for their next drink. Their utter simplicity is what makes them so attractive. SCRIABIS tea Symphony So. 1 I I he Philadelphia Qrrheslrfretm I I R1CCARDO - Mim f f Z K N &&8r&$M TTPCASS 12.99 CD IP LPCASS 12.99 CD a 7"99 ygoTpTCASS 12.99 CD, APRILEMIUO VERDI ; ' 199LPCASS 12.99 CD , ' ' 1' - A 1 1 11 r r . IT ft K Vi, . c lll SERAPHIM CASSETTES 4 FOR 10 OR 2.99 EACH LPCASS 3.98 LIST SALE ENDS JUNE 11TII 1986 I SAN Wl El neil to l A f f I . I - Alexandra Pigg and Peter Firth Movie review 'Letter to Brezhnev' Cast: Alfred Molina, Peter Firth, Margi Clarke and Alexandra Pigg Director: Chris Bernard Writer: Frank Clarke Theater: Cannery Rated: R Critic's evaluation: y2 When drinks aren't offered, Teresa takes matters into her own hands, expertly lifting wine bottles , from other people's tables. So much of civility and decorum is tied up in their notions of who should pay for w hat in the game of courtship (we see one friend of theirs trying to keep a wandering boyfriend by giving him "loans"), that when it comes to spending the night with their amorous and penniless sailors, the girls wonder if they are tramps because they have paid for the rooms. Here, Elaine displays a philosophical bent that serves her well. "Let's go get our money's worth outta them," she says to Teresa,- Rndri Watts clay LUxl M""" 1 . indWsw GNU0 EIUBES KATHLEEN BATTLE CHRISTOPHEII PARKENINu Pleasures of Their Company tea .s ''"l ANALOG VBLPTCASS 12.99 CD BATH FESTIVAL 1121. THE EMPIRE BRASS DOOGtASMAJOrtofgwi -. ( fli. Sonic ipecvKui LPCASS 12.99 CD DIGITAL COPWKD BlUYIKtKID KODW 7, tompWlB jgf' 7.99 LPCASS 12.99 CD G3J Angd ESLffll OP?N 9AM TO MDNiGHT 365 DAYS A MATEO Cmmc Bfl Good Guy SAN FRANCISCO Columbus Bay mm ttte Wharf CONCORD 7i willow fta no MOUNTAIN VIEW El Cmmo Peal ELRKEilV CLASSICAL (MIX 2S.85 Teierpn Awe VIDEO Ll RENTALS AT TOWEM VIDEO i;i Mi O1 i V if - ' In letter to Brezhnev' with back-slapping team spirit!' Clarke, as the boisterous; and tawdry Teresa, is a combination be-. tween Gwen Verdon and Janet Leigh, half floozie and half countess. Pigg's Elaine is a saucy woman of 22 with almost unbelievable self-possession. Lovesick, she writes a plea to the Soviet Union's chief of state to help bring her and Peter together and, when his response is an airplane ticket to Russia, she doesn't hesitate to leave her abusive mother, small-minded sister, clutch of wastrel friends and even the foreign office functionary who tries to dissuade her from expatriation in the name of love. She is going and that's that Bernard sometimes strains his humor muscles when reaching for a small laugh on an out of the way shelf. Peter and Elaine's sugary love affair is so corny at times that we wonder when they'll burst into song. In many ways, "Letter to Brezhnev" is a musical without the music. It is uplifting, cheery, idealistic and harsh. Whether love conquers ail the difficulties in store for Peter and Elaine is left unclear. It doesn't conquer all the difficulties of "Letter to Brezhnev." lit IH J ile ill till tTil iT i iiiRiiT, i in i Ci AS S I C Records, Cassettes & Compact Discs Sale DIGITAL 6.99 7.99 LPCASS 9.98 LIST LPCASS 11.98 LIST Choose from these great titles and more: VIVALDI; Four Seasons (Perlman, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra) lpcass 7.99 BRUCKNER: Sym. No. 4 (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Mnti) lpcass 7.99 ANDRE WATTS Plays Liszt, Album 2 lpcass 7.99 RESPIG1II: Pines Of Rome (Philadelphia Orchestra, Muti) lpcass 7.99 12.99 codscT PER DISC 16.98 LIST LIMITED TO STOCK ON HAND 3 DISC SETS 13.99 PER DISC 17.98 LIST Choose from these great titles and more on Compact Disc: BEETHOVEN: Concerto in D (Perlman) cd 12.99 ANDRE WATTS Plays Liszt, Album 1 cd 12.99 ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER. Requiem CD 12.99 SHOSTAKOVICH: Sym. No. 11 (Houston Sympljony, Stokou ski) cd 12.99 : ANGEL VOICES, EIIECE & MASTER SERIES IP'S & CASSETTES LPCASS 6.98 LIST YiAKt BERKELEY 7S10 Ouranl SI CAMPBELL l00 Sou Bauom v a(TOs Irom H Prurwvsrtl HO

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