LA Weekly from Los Angeles, California on May 10, 1979 · 9
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LA Weekly from Los Angeles, California · 9

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Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Thursday, May 10, 1979
Page:
9
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L. A. WEEKLY May 10, 1979 9 she sings smooth blues with just the proper edge and convinces us and Dooley she's the appropriate foil for his clumsy perfections. All the Altman touches are here, including a group of secondary characters so stylized they see creatures only a great cartoonist could create. The music, the mood, the characters: Altman blends them all together in this oddly staccato style that makes this picture such a pleasure. (GV) BLAZING SADDLES ' This was the first of Mel Brooks' parodies of classical Hollywood genres. It was also his first big moneymaker. The film is fast and adventurous with about every other gas working. Occasionally, Brooks seems to lose control, but there are enough laughs to give you sore ribs for a week. (Big Boy Medlin) BOULEVARD NIGHTS Much has been made of Boulevard Nights being . filmed in the streets of East L.A., but there's nothing in the editing to match the rhythm of the streets, and only a few, isolated shots show the love of a cameraman. The story is standard soap-opera. To make such a movie "actual" you must film peoples' imaginations as well as their neighborhoods. That notion wasn't valued or attempted by the makers of Boulevard Nights. They put some made-for-TV Chicanos on an East L. A. street, and let it go at that. Only the acting of Danny de la Paz is a reminder of what the film could have been. (MV) BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY The eight-year-old child I borrowed for the screening said, "That wasn't exactly what I thought it was gonna be." Right. As promised? a 20th century Buck Rogers does encounter the 25th century after a long sleep in deep space. And the fearless captain certainly saves the ever innocent earth from an evil alliance with the Draconian dynasty. But most of the-action takes place in the boudoir. Or its love-struck leading ladies are constantly suggesting it should, with all the subtlety of both Laverne and Shirley. Fully half the audience seemed to enjoy watching Gil Gerrard fend off the forward females with lines like, "I've been out of it for 500 years so I've got to be careful with re-entry." And the gay computer really got some laughs. But even during the few scenes which actually had the feel of a far distant time, the script insisted on tugging you right back to contemporary TV land with more cute dialogue. This isn't a space opera; it's a sit-com. (GV) THE CHAMP Eighty-six minutes ought to be ample time for any kid to weep his way through a movie. But director Franco Zeffirelli saw fit to tack another 30 minutes crying time onto this remarkably slow remake of the 1931 release. Of course, without that extra half-hour, an audience wouldn't get to see nearly so often Florida's fabulous flamingoes in flight or wonder why Southern skies seem so saturated with soft mist no matter what time of the day or night the camera catches their gauzy sweep. Then, too, there's that trembly flute that fires up well in advance of every emotional outpouring. It's not that I don't enjoy a good cry; I just don't like to see it coming so far ahead of time. Jon Voight as the broken-down boxer, Faye Dunaway as his ex-wife, and Ricky Schroder as'the weepy kid are all horribly miscast. True, it's worth a tear or two, but those should be shed for the wasted talent, including that of Strother Martin and Elisha Cook who fcome on camera only long enough to give Ricky a big hug. Of course, in this movie that sort of thing takes a while. (GV) THE CHINA SYNDROME Stunning. One of the great thrillers. Not only because it succeeds in scaring the daylights out of you . . . and not only because its subject (a nuclear accident) is serious and possible. What gives this film distinction is that it works so well as entertainment while catching our American speech (or attempts at speech), our work-a-day ways, and reflecting our ambivalent personal reactions to our national dilemmas. It's refreshing beyond hyperbole to see such suspense generated not by distortions of human perversion andor heroism, but by well-portrayed human reactions in a terrible but not exaggerated situation. All the stars contribute some of their best work of their lives - Jane Fonda has never been more touching. But the eye of the hurricane is Jack Lemmon, giving his best performance since The Apartment and Days of Wine and Roses. (MV) COMING HOME A beautifully acted love-story Jon Voight, Jane Fonda and Bruce Derh are memorable and then some, but the politics that supposedly gave the film prestige hardly remain in its after-image. Nancy Dowd, its original writer, tagged Coming Home's failure, pointing out that a war fought by working-class 18-year-olds can't be honestly portrayed by 40-year-old Beautiful People, no matter how sincere their intentions. This doesn't lessen its achievement as a love-story - especially its portrayals of male vulnerability and need. (MV) THE DEER HUNTER Insidious. Its excellences overpower your emotions while its evasions subvert your thought. Nobody ever says "gook," but the Vietnamese all look ike "Japs" in a World War II war, and these incredibly idealized Americans are virgin to American changes; they've never heard of drugs, rock 'n' roll, or The CBS Evening News. So The Deer Hunter fulfills the deepest fantasy of mainstream America: that 1972 be magically transformed into 1942. Yet while director Cimino lies like Kissinger he films like Ford: Deer Hunter is incredibly powerful to watch, and DeNiro, and Christopher Walken, . John Savage and Meryl Streep are excellent. So Cimino supplies us with a powerful new memory, less threatening and far more exciting than our dimming, dismaying memories of what happened to us all. Horrific history remembered as noble fantasy can only create more horrific history. Cimino bids to become our own Leni Riefenstahl. (MV) DREAMER An unexpected pleasure. Tim Matheson is Dreamer and he's the best bowler to blow through Alton, Illinois since Harry (Jack Warden) made the Professional Bowlers Association regional playoffs back in the '50s. Dreamer's got the stuff to go on at least one better, maybe even move right on up to the championship finals, but Harry worries his protegee will forego a shot at the big time for the more immediate rewards the comely Karen Lee (Susan Blakely) offers. That's the basic drama and it's absolutely innocent of any of the patronizing bumptiousness that too frequently bastes together the "B" picture plot. What Dreamer wants to be is a winner and though bowling is the only thing he's ever been ny good at, neither he nor the movie waste much time waxing lyrical over the lilting pleasures of the sport itself. Instead, we see the lively life that goes on around the game and all the good time characters any small town always tucks away in its work-a-day jobs: the oily ladies man, the old-pro waitress, the easy-lay lady, and the bumbling mechanic. Few of them ever bother to bowl, of course, but they do give an audience plenty of laughs and the fresh feeling that most people have better instincts and kinder hearts than any of us are usually willing to admit. (GV) FEDORA There's no pleasure in saying that Fedora is Billy Wilder's worst film, and there's no honesty in saying anything else. William Holden needs all his middle-aged chansma just to break even here his lines are all jibes about how "the kids with beards" have taken over Hollywood. (There is no hint that Wilder didn't like the Hollywood of his heyday much either.) And poor Marthe Keller, cast as the great star Fedora who's supposed to have the allure of Garbo, just thrashes about from one emotion to another, without conviction and apparently without direction. She plays both Fedora, and Fedora's secret daughter who takes over tor her mother and continues the legend. Once Billy Wilder's bitterness was his vision: we were people with limited, fragile capacities for good, in a world with a limitless capacity for what's venal. Now his bitterness is only that Hollywood has ' changed, movies have changed, and Billy Wilder doesn't know how to tell a story that can captivate the attention of this changed world. As an artist it's a sad ending for Wilder, as bitter as his best films. (MV) HAIR Somehow Milos Foreman has transcended the pap of his material to produce a lively, infectiously sincere film that dances you along. There are a hundred moments of beautiful quick exchanges between these players which touch you, involve you, make you smile. Each moment is small but each is genuine, g-ounded in understanding and observation; their effect is cumulative. The dancing, choreographed by Twyla Tharp, is perfect -loose, light, hardly stylized a) all (or so it looks), less like a chorus line and more like a lot of people romping across a field. Most of the music is just as dumb as it ever was, but inthe one good musica moment of the film, Cheryl Barnes sings "Easy to Be Hard" with the force and purity of a young Aretha. Hair could have been as grotesque a depiction of the '60s as Grease was of the '50s-1 frankly expected it to be, having nothing but contempt for the play. Surprise. (MV) Heaven can wait Warren Beatty saves several people's worlds while bargaining with an over zealous angel for his right to life. Not much meat here, but there are generous helpings of what we say we want: laughs, lovely Jadies and cute men, continued teflNIVERSAL (STUDIOS TOUR UIunMCAcoupmw okn mom -ust TOUR 00 m 303IB3& UBtiBllt 0 'IE0P; cM) IN THE 25th CENTURY ca can n T3 tsa CEirar glen a lahson mm Mtenbv GLEN A LARSON & LESLIE SIBIENS EcuWe Producer GLEN A LARSON ProducedbrRlCHAfO CAfFEYandLESLIE STEVENS UuacbrSTUFHIPS Dwded by DANIEL HALLER A UMVER3N. PICTURE ifoir u wnwawi J FOUNTAIN VALLEY 2, UA DEL AMO 2. Torrance 542 7383 Fountain Valley 714839-1500 UA MOVIES 4, North Hollywood 766-4317 LIDO, Los Angeles 652-8087 UA WARNER CENTER 4, MONTCLAIR 1, Montclair 714624-9696 Woodland Hills 999-2132 ROXY, Glendale 243-6393 , HAWTHORNE 1, Hawthorne 644-8668 STADIUM DRIVE-IN 5. Orange 714639-7860 UNIVERSITY CINEMA 2, ' PAN PACIFIC. Los Angeles 938-7070 AMERICANA 1, Panorama City 893-6441 U S C. Campus 748 -6321 UPTOWN, Pasadena 792 5276 - BOULEVARD, East LA. 261-2665 CULVER, Culver City 838 1893 NO PASSES ACCEPTED DURING THIS ENGAGEMENT' EGYPTIAN 2. Hollywood 467-6167 DAILY -12:30 2:25 - 4.20 6 15 - 8:10 -10:05 PM ALONDRA 6, Cerritos 924-5531 BRISTOL 4, Costa Mesa 714 540-7444 , Montebello 723-2133 THE FILM DAZZLING! The best movie musical since Cabaret. Chtrltt Chimplln, LA. Ttmt SOMETHING OF A MIRACLE... nTl o n better than the original... one of the most thoroughly satisfying musicals in years. Vine tnl Csnby, Ntw York Turns JOINS THE RANKS OF THE GREATEST MUSICALS ON CQZD Cn2 FILM. Its much better than the film the original... nothing short of marvelous. Gene Stskel.Chfcago Tribune I THE FILM PROOF THAT REAL MIRACLES CAN HAPPEN IN SHOW BUSINESS. It succeeds at all levels-as lowdovn fun, as affecting drama, as exhilarating spectacle. Frank Rich, Ttme nnnnrm THE STAR WARSOF MOVIE LKjZAu LRi MUSICALS. Dazzling! Superb! the film musical explosion! Jettny Lyons, WCSS-ftadio CGZ2D THE FILM FOR THE 70s... SINFULLY DELICIOUS. AotngSion . LESTER PERStf- MOIAEL BUTLER .IN.OSFORIIItoNiPRRAGNLRADO-MacDERMOTVIJAIR m-JOHNSMAGE TREAT WRilAWS-BEVERtY D'ANGELO -AIWE GOLDEN -DORSEY VAOGHT D0NDACUS CHERTl BARNES -tfSSSGEROME RACK, JAMES RAD0 mJISBtGHJ MacOERMCA p ROBERT GREENHUT MnfHOTwICROSLWONDRICEK R3CHALVEUJER TWYIA THARP mm LESTER PERSKYmISCHAEL BUTLER mML0S FORMAN iPQlWCn M SELECTED THEATRES ennu arj o Ajms h o w i psj ONLY 130 -00 -M0 -M0 -10:30 no lT. UTE SHOW -145 AM PACIFICS m do:.!: im ason WM, OU WK) MUWMS 4MI1 ta a. 1 1 JO ML 1UM m m MM W V FOW GROUP SALES INFORMATION CALL 4M-3401 COSTA MESA. Harbor Cinama 646-0573 OftAKSE. CinsdoiM 834-2553 PALM SPRINGS. Plaza 325-2626 SANTA 6AR3ARA, Plan Os Ora 6324936 NORAM

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