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The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California • 190

San Francisco, California
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Arts and Entertainment Guide for the Week of April 4 through 10, 1993 POINT OF NO RETURN (At the UA the JACK THE BEAR (At the Galaxy and Century THE ADVENTURES OF HUCK FINN (At the Movies and Geneva Drive-ln) in this twisted reworking of the "Pygmalion" story, a cold-blooded murderer (Bridget Fonda) Is rescued from death row by a covert agency that specializes in assassi Plaza) Danny DeVito turns warm and fuzzy in this family fable about a recently widowed father who moves to Oakland and gets a job hosting a TV horror-movie show. It's all about renewal and Alhambra, Empire and UA the Movies) Writer-director Stephen Sommers has created a strong and moving adaptation of Mark Twain's classic story about a rebellious boy. a runaway slave and Bedford Robert Redford stars in a tale of a rich businessman who makes an unusual of fer to a young couple in 'Indecent Proposalopening Wednesday at the Regency 1 Theater forgiving and conquering old demons, but it's filtered through Hallmark Card goo. Gary Sinise stands out as the evil neighborhood eccentric. Marshall Herskowitz, the co-creator of "thirtysomething," directed.

PG-13. 99 minutes. JUST ANOTHER GIRL ON THE I.R.T. At the the great Mississippi River that carries them away. As Jim, the escaped slave, Courtney B.

Vance is especially impressive. Young Elijah Wood plays HucK Finn, a boy faced with a man's decision when Jim is threatened by rogues who want to sell him back into slavery. Rated PG. 108 minutes. M.

LaSalle. ALADDIN (At the Regency 1) Walt Disney nation. Given deportment lessons and a beauty makeover, she's suddenly a nice, pretty girl forced to go around killing people. Gabriel Byrne plays the twinkly agent who guides this homicidal maniac through her transformation into an attractive government killer. Rated R.

110 minutes. M. RICH IN LOVE (At the Alexandria and Lumiere) Leslie Harris wrote and directed this portrait of Chantel (Ariyan Johnson), a smart and sassy black teenager who seems in charge of her life until she gets oreenant. Harris' debut feature Pictures' new animated feature is beautiful, romantic and frantically funny embracing the best of old-fashioned merriment as well Century Plaza) Albert Finney ano Piper Laurie head a fetching ensemble cast in this whimsical, funny romance about a lovable geezer (Finney) and his reluctant awakening after his wife aban as savvy contemporary humor. Robin Williams contributes the voice (and the heart and soul) of the genie who befriends young Aladdin.

Rated G. 85 minutes. P. Stack. has a hipness and a feel for the language of the streets that Isn't faked, and it's great to see a young black woman's point of view for once.

But the dire'ction is sloppy, much of the acting amateurish, and the film falls to pieces when Chantel can't decide how to deal with her condition. Rated R. 94 minutes. Guthmann, LAST DAYS OF CHEZ NOUS (At the Vogue) dons him "to find another life." Director Bruce Beresford's family drama doesn't delve very deep, but Finney's performance is extraordinary. Rated PG.

105 minutes. P. Stack, A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT (At the Serra- THE BELL OF PURITY TEMPLE (At the Four monte) Director Robert Redford's Star) veteran Chinese director Xie Jin has turned an inherently touching story into a memorable picture of rustic life, a moving drama of mixed family allegiances and a i superb adaptation of Norman Ma-cLean's novel stars Craig Sheffer. and Brad Pitt as devoted brothers whose stoic upbringing keeps them apart. Their meeting ground Gillian Armstrong's quirky, impressionistic family drama takes place in Sydney, where the bohe-mian marriage of an author and her French husband is torn apart by the wife's sister.

Lisa Harrow is study of a spiritual man tested by complex emotions. It is the quiet but compelling story of a Japanese child, abandoned in China and found by a Chinese midwife who saves his life and raises him as her own. Not rated. 121 minutes. In Mandarin with English subtitles.

P. Stack. BORN YESTERDAY (At the Regency 2 and is the sport of fly fishing, used as an eloquent metaphor for the fortunes and losses of a Montana family. The film shimmers with grace and visual beauty. Rated PG.

123 minutes. Stack. SCENT OF A WOMAN (At the Kabuki and the wife, Bruno Ganz the cad and Kerry Fox at My the sister. It's not Armstrong's best, and yet It's a pleasure to watch her tell a story through subtle details and interior moments. Rated R.

96 minutes. Guthmann. LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE (At the Clay) 1- Balboa) A disastrously sentimental story of a blind man and his growing friendship with a young college student. As the Irascible, drunken Frank Slade, Al Pacino is convincingly obnoxious and lout Laura Esquivel wonderful novel Century Plaza) This remake of the 1950 Oscar-winning film of a 1946 Garson Kanin play was reborn too late. Melanie Griffith is fine playing the beautiful-but-dumb (or is she?) role that Judy ana humor in what happens there.

The film builds with ease and quiet confidence into something lovely. Rated PG. 101 minutes. M. LaSalle.

ETHAN FROME (At the Alexandria) It's about the powers of passion has been adapted for the screen by her husband, director Alfonso Ar-au. The result is as rich and savory as Mexican hot chocolate. lonely hero with a personal sense of justice, pitted against a doomed criminal who has his own kind of honor. The violence in this ironic pairing often goes over the top, but Woo's delicious intelligence has its own stunning effect. Not rated.

119 minutes. In Cantonese with English and Chinese subtitles. P. Stack. HEAR NO EVIL (At the Galaxy, Stonestown, impossible to improve on Edith l- Wharton's great short novel of ish, but the character doesn't grow: this is a lout with, underneath it all, the heart of a lout.

As his guide through a dashing Manhattan adventure, Chris O'Connell is a light-' weight. Rated R. 150 minutes. M. LaSalle.

SOMMERSBY (At the Balboa) What sound Holliday originated, but the film Is a dated vehicle. In spite of some amusing lines and Individual situations, this story of a brutish millionaire with an embarrassingly simple girlfriend seems both naive and out of kilter in Its updated setting. Rated PG. 100 minutes. M.

LaSalle. CB4 (At the Kabuki, St. Francis, Century thwarted love, but this adaptation directed by John Madden is sensitive to the story's bleak, wintry beauty. Liam Neeson has the title Strand and Geneva Drlve-ln) Mar-lee Matlin and D.B. Sweeney co-star in this thriller about a deaf woman who becomes a target for a murderer.

The plot doesn't stand up to scrutiny, but both Set during the Mexican Revolution, it focuses on the fiery Tita, the youngest of three daughters ruled by a merciless mother. Frustrated in love, Tita becomes a genius In the kitchen, and her spicy concoctions have unusual effects. Under Arau's witty and wise direction, cooking becomes a metaphor for magical rituals that can change a world. 113 minutes. In Spanish with English P.

Sfacfr. MARRIED TO IT (At the Royal) Arthur Hiller ed like an embarrassing blunder the romantic pairing of Richard Gere and Jodie Foster turns out to be surprisingly entertaining and persuasive. Gere plays a Civil War veteran, presumed dead, who role of an Impoverished Vermont farmer who has given up passion and hopefulness until a young housekeeper (Patricia Arquette) arrives to care for his ailing wife. Rated PG-13. 99 minutes.

P. Stack. FALLING DOWN (At the Century Plaza, Plaza and Geneva Drive-ln) This intermittently amusing parody of the rap music industry starts out energetic and alive, then loses its inspiration and its nasty edge. Chris Rock. Allen Payne and Deez- Matlin and Sweeney are likable and the film has a visceral appeal.

Rated R. Ill minutes. P. HOMEWARD BOUND) THE INCREDIBLE JOUR Coronet and Stonestown) A liant drama with black-comic undertones. The film is directed by returns home after a seven-year absence, only to raise suspicions that he may be an impostor.

Jon Amiel Singing directed, cinematographer Philippe Rousselot created the exquisite images and both stars are attractive. PG-13. 118 minutes. Guthmann, STRICTLY BALLROOM (At the Bridge) It's NEY (At the Tanforan Discount) Another Disney delight, based on the humane and comical chil- Joel Schumacher and stars Mi- directed this muddied comic study of the marital crises of three different couples who are close friends. It's an odd mix of honesty and dishonesty, cliche and insight.

The ensemble includ chael Douglas, in what may be the er 0. play middle-class black kids who get the idea to become gangsta rappers by posing as tough guys from the mean streets. The rap songs are the best and funniest bits. Rated R. 90 minutes.

M. LaSalle. COP AND A HALF (At the Kabuki, UA the dren's novel by Sheila Burnford. best performance or nis career, as i ne stars are a trisny Duiiaog pup. a middle-class defense worker who goes off the deep end one hot summer day.

Rated R. 116 minutes. M. LaSalle. A FAR OFF PLACE (At the Tanforan Dis hard to Imagine a more exuberant and sheerly romantic comedy than this Australian import set in the supercharged and deliciously es Beau Bridges, Stockard Channing, Robert Sean Leonard, Mary Stuart Masterson, Cybill Shepherd and Ron Silver.

Rated R. 112 minutes. M. LaSalle. MATINEE (At the Balboa) John Goodman is spoiled Himalayan cat, who make an arduous trip across the mountains to find their lost family.

There isn't a jaded, cynical moment in the film. Rated G. 84 minutes P. Stack. HOWARDS END (At the Opera Plaza) Movies and Geneva Drive-in) Henry Winkler directed this dreary exercise about a burned-out detective (Burt Reynolds) forced to work with an 8-year-old crime witness who wants to play cop.

corrupt world of ballroom dance competitions. Paul Mercurio, a count) Lost in Africa, a couple of white teenagers, guided by a smiling, magical and astonishingly resourceful Primitive Man (Sar-el Bok), have quite an adventure In this handsomely photographed delightful in this sweetly amusing fi '60s-era comedy about a horror- .8 Adapted from E. M. Forster el of human connections and follies, this newest film from the movie mogul who comes to Key West, with his latest masterpiece: "Mant" "half man, half ant and all terror." Despite some ballet star, is sensational as a champion ballroom dancer who dares to deviate from the sequined formulae and strut his own stuff. In its mixture of camp and reality, the film is Irresistable.

Rated PG. Ill P. Stack, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJATURTLES III (At James Ivorylshmail Merchant Rutn grower jnaovaia team is close to flawless. Two families Rated PG. 87 minutes.

P. Stack. THE CRUSH (At the Presidio, Century Plaza and Geneva Drive-ln) A suspense thriller about a young woman womb Alicia Silverstone) and her terri-DTliPW fying fixation a journalist (Cary jEVjey Elwes), who cannot escape her. Rated R. 85 minutes.

THE CRYING GAME (At the Kabuki, Empire incoherence In the plot, the film is genuinely charming and generous with Its humor. Rated PG. 99 minutes. P. Start.

NOWHERE TO RUN (At the Tanforan but troubling new Disney film. Besides several violent scenes of slaughter, the film makers show a South Africa in which it's pretty much accepted that whites run everything and that the mystical "natives" are happy to help. Rated PG. 104 minutes. P.

Stack, A FEW GOOD MEN (At the Cinema 21) find their lives strangely joined. Vanessa Redgrave Is amazing as Mrs. Wilcox, a woman who glows with beatitude as she approaches death. Anthony Hopkins is her stiff-backed husband, and Emma Thompson in an Oscar-winning performance is the wise feminist who becomes his second wife. Rated PG.

140 minutes. Guthmann. the Kabuki, Empire, St. Francis and UA Colma) Leonardo, Rafael, Donatello and Michelangelo, the world's most famous turtles, end up being transported back to 17th century Japan. It's bad news for and UA Colma) Irish director Neil Discount) Martial arts star Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a fugitive who ends up befriending and protecting a widow (Rosanna Arquette) and her children from an, evil land developer.

Director Rob Jordan's compelling new film is Flashing his cocky-jock grin, Tom Cruise acts faster, louder, bigger as Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, a glib Navy defense attorney who defends two Marines accused of murder. Demi Moore is the anal- both a political thriller and a love story, uniting various sexual and political currents into one dreamlike narrative. Set in the under IL LADRO Dl BAMBINI (At the Opera Plaza) their fans, though, because this installation fails to capitalize on the charm of these characters, the plot is unintelligible and there are no jokes. Rated PG. 97 minutes.

LaSalle. TOUS LES MATINS DU MONDE (At the ert Harmon brings a few fresh touches to the basic action movie style. Rated R. 90 minutes. M.

LaSalle. OLIVIER OLIVIER (At the Lumiere) Agnies- ottering a contemporary spin on classic neorealist cinema, Gianni Amelio tells the story of a young policeman who's given charge of an 11-year-old prostitute and her younger brother. The two child worlds of Ireland and London, it stars Stephen Rea and Miranda Richardson as members of the IRA and the uniquely versatile Jaye Davidson as a wistful singerhairdresser. Rated R. 100 minutes.

M. LaSalle. DAMAGE (At the Lumiere) Louis Malle's retentive lawyer who pushes him to do the right thing, and Jack Nicholson is the big bad commanding officer who wants to thwart the investigation. It's directed with taut efficiency by Rob Reiner. Rated R.

134 minutes. Guthmann. FIRE IN THE SKY (At the Galaxy, Plaza Opera Plaza) Gerard Depardleu plays Marin Marais, a musical prodigy who becomes the court ka Holland directed this dark drama about a young boy's disappearance and possible reappearance many years later. Brigitte Rouan brings a transcendent be-lievability to her role of the child's composer at Versailles under Lou- I6 ls XIV- His fecluslva mentor, the actors are but Amelio is so absorbed with formal composition and slow, self-conscious pacing that his film feels drained. No rating.

118 minutes. In Italian with English subtitles. Guthmann, INDOCHINE (At the Opera Plaza) Regis beleaguered tale of sexual obsession the subject of an MPAA ratings battle over its steamy sex is a strange but satisfying hybrid of high-gloss trash and Greek tragedy. Jeremy Irons plays Twin, Strand and Geneva Drive-ln) Based on an account by Travis Walton, this convincing and often -genuinely scary drama tells the story of Walton's alleged abduction by aliens 17 years ago in the Colombe, Is played with grace and gravity by Jean-Pierre Marielle. Directed by Alain Cor-neau, it's a serene meditation on loss, grief and musicianship, with a magnificent score assembled and performed by Jordi Savall.

Unrated. 114 minutes. In French with English subtitles. Guthmann; UNTAMED HEART (At the Balboa) Christian Wargnier historical epic casts Catherine Deneuve as Eliane, a French colonial who operates a rubber plantation in 1930s Vietnam, and sees her adopted Asian daughter (Linh Dan Pham) trans a British government official who falls for his son's fiancee (Juliette Binoche), with disastrous results. Rated R.

100 minutes. Guthmann. EL MARIACHI (At the Kabuki) By turns Arizona woods. D.B. Sweeney is persuasive as a man whose life Is changed forever by an encounter with cold, unfeeling aliens.

Rated PG-13. GROUNDHOG DAY (At the Kabuki. North- anguished mother, hoping against hope that the scruffy street hustler who claims to be the long-lost Olivier is really her son. It's a poignant study of obsession, delusion and transformation. Rated R.

110 minutes. P. Stack. THE OPPOSITE SEX (At the Alexandria) A desperately flailing sexromance comedy that has not one even I remotely sincere or funny mo- ment. It has nothing to say, but Ej says it for an hour and a half.

Arye Gross, Courteney Cox, Kevin Pollack and Julie Brown are the hapless players. Rated R. 86 minutes. M. LaSalle.

PASSION FISH (At the Galaxy) Set In hilarious, soulful, gritty and sexy, this lively crime drama was creat Slater, Marisa Tomei and Rosie Perez star in a low-key, beguiling romance set in a Minneapolis diner. Tomei Is outstanding as a waitress attracted to Slater's character, a gentle, hulking bus- ed by 23-year-old director Robert point, Century Plaza and Empire) i This delightful romantic comedy, directed by Harold Ramis, is rich in fantasy and unexpectedly fun- formed to a political fugitive called "the Red princess." Deneuve elevates all with innate dignity and a surprisingly impassioned performance. In French with English subtitles. Rated PG-13. 155 minutes.

Guthmann. INTERVISTA (At the Castro) Federico Rodriguez or Austin, i exas, ror a budget of 7,000. Set in a Mexican border town, it stars Carlos Gal- ny twists. As a boorish weather boy too shy to speak. Rated PG-13.

102 minutes. M. lardo as a voung guitarist mistaken for a man condemned to relive one Feium's latest, an autooiograpm- Jr cal mock-documentary, is partly a OPEfJSi-iGS drug-world hit man. Gallardo is wonderfully appealing and the film has a poetic tone deftly contrasted with moments of harsh realism. Rated R.

80 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles. P. Stack. ENCHANTED APRIL (At the Opera Plaza) miserable day over and over, Bill Murray makes a brilliant transformation as he begins to fall in love with his producer, played with wondrous vitality by Andie MacDowell.

Rated PG. 101 minutes. P. Stack. HARD BOILED (At the Gateway) Hong Kong Louisiana bayou country, John Sayles' new character drama his best by far stars Mary McDonnell as a soap-opera actress who returns to her childhood home after a paralyzing sentimental glance at tne mas-, ter's early years as a film maker, and partly a tribute to Cinecitta, the legendary Italian movie stu Mike Newell directed this roman-ii tic comedy set in 1920s Italy.

Four INDECENT PROPOSAL Wednesday at the Regency 1'. MANUFACTURING CONSENT: NOAM CHOMSKY AND THE MEDIA Friday at the MATCH FACTORY GIRL Friday at the Roxie, RIFF-RAFF Friday at the Lumiere. THE 5ANDLOT Friday at the Galaxy. dio. Mixing nostalgia and irony, Fellini'S reverie has a sad undercurrent as if he didn't have the energy to do something more ambitious.

With cameos by Marcello Mas-troianni and, most memorably, Anita Ekberg the stars of "La Dolce Vita" reunited. No rating. 108 minutes. Guthmann, accident. Alfre Woodard is the nursecaretaker who gets this "bitch on wheels" on the right course, and David Straithalrn is the good-ole-Cajun-boy who sets a fire under her dormant sexuality.

Rated R. 135 minutes. Guthmann, action maestro John Woo directed this sophisticated, operatic melodrama that is beautiful and funny, menacing yet filled with perverse grandeur. Chow Yun-Fat plays a maverick cop-jazz clarinetist, a w. Englisn women (Miranaa Kicnaro-son, Joan Plowright, Josie Lawrence and Polly Walker) rent a castle in Italy and find both beauty.

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