The Star-Democrat from Easton, Maryland on May 6, 1994 · Page 36
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The Star-Democrat from Easton, Maryland · Page 36

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Friday, May 6, 1994
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Page 8D The Star-Democrat Friday, May 6, 1994 FILMS IN BRIEF "ACE VENTURA. PET DETECTIVE" (PG-13) (Unre-viewed) This low-budget comedy stars Jim Carrey, who plays the reverse-Garrett Morris role on TV's "In Living Color." Carrey is getting rave reviews for his wacky portrayal of a detective hired to track down the Miami Dolphins' mascot. At the Tred Avon Square Movies 4, Easton, 7:30 and 9:20 p.m. nightly; weekend matinees at 2:30 p.m. "BAD GIRLS" (PG) (Unre-viewed) This revisionist western stars Madeleine Stowe, Ahdie MacDowell, Mary Stuart Master-son and Drew Barrymore as cow-gals in the Wild West, as it might have been envisioned by Thelma and Louise L'Amour. Paging Dr. Quinn, Dr. Quinn, call your office, please... . At the Tred Avon Square Movies 4, Easton, 7:20 and 9:40 p.m. nightly. "GUARDING TESS " (PG-13) (Good) Nicholas Cage and Shirley MacLaine star in this cross between "Driving Miss Daisy" and "The Bodyguard," which was filmed partially in the Mid-Shore area, though most of the local scenes apparently ended up on the cutting room floor. The movie revolves around the ongoing battle wits between Secret Service agent Doug Chesnic (Cage) and former first lady Tess Carlisle (MacLaine), a feisty presidential widow beloved by the public but detested by her bodyguards .for her outrageous demands (including that agents leave their guns behind when entering her room). Every time 'The Paper' captures frenetic By DOLORES BARCLAY AP Arts Editor Near the end of Ron Howard's "The Paper," an overwrought city commissioner jumps the columnist who's been skewering him with relentless exposes on parking enforcement, points a gun at the reporter and asks why he's being hounded. Because, the looming columnist, Dan McDougal (Randy Quaid), says with cool abandon, the commissioner works for the city and it's "your turn." It's that type of deadpan cynicism that helps make "The Paper" a high-voltage joy ride of journalistic fun. But woven into the laughter are some telling moments that mirror a few truths a.bout the Fourth Estate. Directing from a well-crafted screenplay by David and Stephen Koepp, Howard storms through 24 hours at the New York Sun, a Sequels move to video market By JOHN HORN AP Entertainment Writer LOS ANGELES (AP) The sequels to "Aladdin" and "Darkman" are on their way, but if you look for them in theaters, you'll sooner find an Arnold Schwarzenegger musical. Both "The Return of Jafar" and "Darkman II" are bypassing movie houses completely to premiere instead in video stores. The arrival of these and other noteworthy titles could revolutionize the direct-to-video market, currently the cinematic slag heap of unheralded dramas and unfunny comedies. "The Return of Jafar," an animated movie reuniting the "Aladdin" characters, is the first Walt Disney Co. movie produced expressly for the home video market. Similarly, "Darkman II" and a planned "Darkman III" are the first direct-to-video titles from MCA Home Video. In releasing their films straight to home video, Disney and MCA will go head-to-head with such movie theater, exiles as "Blindfold: Acts of Obsession," "Housewife From Hell," and "American Cyborg: Steel Warrior." "It really could be the ambassador to show that made-for-video isn't junky," Ann Daly, the president of Disney's Buena Vista Home Video, says of "The Return of Jafar." The movie, due May 20, is priced at $22.99. Later this summer, Disney will release its second direct-to-video title, "Muppet Classic Theater." Anyone who regularly goes to the local multiplex knows there are a lot of bad movies out there. The quality plummets even further when you start browsing the aisles at the neighborhood Blockbuster store: A Jot of these movies ever hear of "Skin Art?" are so inept they didn't even rate a pit stop at the $2 discount house. There are dozens of other films that aim for the big screen and miss entirely. Disney, for one, has "Holy Matrimony" and "Blood In, Blood Out" two high-budget films that proved so unwatchable they essentially became direct-to-video films by default. No matter how painfully bad, they still somehow get rented. Although most of the rental business is anchored by lavish, star-driven blockbusters like a ii I I fit '1 PAUL HOGAN ...is back in "Jack" the by-the-book Chesnic tries to crack the whip, he gets an angry call from the president, who chews him out. Cage gives a terrific performance, his anarchic explosiveness tightly contained but still present, but MacLaine owns the movie. She is perfectly cast as Tess compared to here, Jessica Tandy's Miss Daisy was just a sweet old lady. At the Tred Avon Square Movies 4, Easton, 7:20 and 9:10 p.m. nightly; weekend matinees at 2:20 p.m. "LIGHTNING JACK" (PG-13) (Unreviewed) Paul "Crocodile Dundee" Hogan stars as a quick-draw artist and bank robber who accepts storekeeper Cuba Director Ron Howard captures the frenzy and the passions, the pranks, the paranoia, the jealousies, the creative edge, the neurotic but intellectual curiosity, the intense camaraderie, and the sexual romps. Nothing is sacred in a newsroom, and everyone's fair game. scruffy daily that thrives on wham-bam headlines with slammers (exclamation points). It's an especially critical day for Henry Hackett (Michael Keaton), the Sun's metro editor, who's down to the wire over a story that could free two young men wrongfully charged with murder and also has a job interview with the highly respected Sentinel ("We cover the world"). Adding more dynamics to Henry's day: wife Marty (Marisa Tomei) is about to give birth to their first child, his managing editor Alicia (Glenn Close), wants him dead, and the paper's editor Bernie White (Robert "The Fugitive" and "The Firm," there is plenty of room for lesser titles Americans rent 90 million videotapes a week. "On any given Friday or Saturday night, video is larger than a fifth network in terms of homes using VCRs," says Louis Feola, president of MCA Home Video. The demand is there, so why not improve the supply? Disney and MCA have the particular advantage of cashing in on brand-name merchandise. With "The Return of Jafar," Disney is delivering the same characters that made "Aladdin" the highest-grossing animated release in movie history. The follow-up movie is far less elaborate than its predecessor, and was videotaped, not shot on film. Where 1992's "Aladdin" featured the voice of Robin Williams as the Genie, "The Return, of Jafar" employs Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer Simpson. A full-blown, theater-quality "Aladdin" sequel would have taken years and some $40 million to make. "The Return of Jafar" took 12 months and cost less than $10 million. Only "animation buffs," Daly says, "can discern the difference between this film and an animated classic." "The 'Aladdin' franchise is so strong we have a built-in awareness," Daly says. The quick release of "The Return of Jafar" gives Disney an opportunity to "capitalize on the franchise while it's still hot." Disney hopes to sell several million tapes. The studio is so confident, it already is considering a direct-to-video sequel to "The Lion King" which doesn't even arrive in theaters until June. The success of 1990's "Darkman," released by MCA's studio affiliate Universal Pictures, was far more limited than "Aladdin." The modestly budgeted Liam Neeson crime drama grossed $33 million and did particularly well on video but its performance did not mandate a fullblown movie sequel. For about $4 million a fraction bt the typical $30 million feature budget MCA's TV and home video units produced the sequel, which is now being edited. "Darkman II," which stars the unknown Arnold Vosloo in Neeson's role, may be out by Gooding Jr. as his apprentice. Gooding's character is mute, giving the black actor an excuse to spend the film rolling his eyes and gesticulating. Stepin Fetchit would have been proud. At the Dorchester Square Movies, Cambridge, 7:10 and 9 p.m. nightly; weekend matinees at 2:10 p.m. "MY FATHER THE HERO" (PG) (Unreviewed) This movie stars Gerard Depardieu, who played a French-accented Christopher Columbus in "1492; Conquest of Paradise." Perhaps his accent won't seem as out of place in this film, a remake of a French film. Depardieu takes his daughter (Katherine Heigl) on a Caribbean vacation. To seem older and more mature, the daughter tells an older boy that her father is actually her dying lover. Word gets around. Antics ensue. At the Dorchester Square Movies, Cambridge, 7:20 and 9:10 p.m. nightly; weekend matinees at 2:20 p.m. "NO ESCAPE " (R) (Unreviewed) This futuristic thriller stars Ray Liotta ("Unlawful Entry") as a Marine captain at an escape-proof prison for incorrigible criminals. At the Tred Avon Square Movies 4, Easton, 7 p.m. nightly; 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday. "ON DEADLY GROUND " (R) (Poor) Steven Seagal directorial debut is clumsily derivative, completely predictable and lead-enly directed. An industrialist (Michael Caine) operates a huge Alaskan oil complex which he is racing to complete so his mineral Duvall) is having thoughts of mortality as he learns of a can: cerous prostate. Hey, no biggie. It's just a typical day in the life of a reporter. Hackett might work for a tabloid, but he has journalistic ethics. It's important to get it first and get it fast, but more important get it right. Two white out-of-town businessmen are murdered, with a racial slur painted across their car to make it look like a crime of hate. Two young black men who are on the street at the time are arrested. Wham. Alicia wants their arrest and pictures on the front A full-blown, theater-quality 'Aladdin' sequel would have taken years and some $40 million to make. 'The Return of Jafar' took 12 months and cost less than $ W million. year's end. "Consumers have been renting direct-to-video titles for a number of years," Feola says. "What you're seeing from suppliers like us is a natural evolution. It's taking the next logical step." The demand for direct-to-video erotic thrillers and martial arts has faded, he says, as video renters look for better quality and more intriguing stories. "We believe the video market has reached a level of sophistication," Feola says. Many lowbrow direct-to-video movies yield modest sales, but a large number fail. Video customers these days are turning increasingly picky, and direct-to-video titles now must have star appeal or fresh storylines to attract attention. Even films given a limited run in theaters a validation of some quality are no longer guaranteed to rent. "The consumers are too smart," says Steven Einhorn, the president of New Line Home Video. "Erotic thrillers had their moment in time, but there's only so much you can do with erotic thrillers on a low budget." Video store owners, he says, now watch movies before placing orders. "It has to screen well," Einhorn says, "or they won't buy it. We need to put all the components together." The home video company, which will release a dozen titles directly to video, is contemplating straight-to-video sequels of "Live Wire" and "Poison Ivy." In a rare act of support in a fiercely competitive business, Einhorn hopes both Disney and MCA triumph with their out-of-the-ordinary releases. "It's a wonderful idea," he says. "They're doing the industry a major service." . " it y RAY LIOTTA ...has "No Escape" rights won't revert to the Eskimos. Seagal, an oil rigger and firefighter, is appalled by Caine's wanton disregard of the environment. He sides with the Eskimos and declares a one-man war on Caine, who calls up his own battalion of thugs. The film ends with Seagal's oration in the Alaska state house about the fragile ecosystem. (Reportedly the speech lasted a numbing 20 minutes in previews and was later trimmed.) On the bright side, Michael Caine seems to delight in the unrelenting meanness of his character. He sports a black hair-dye job, perhaps to underscore his villainy. At the Dorchester Square Movies, Cambridge, 7 and 9:30 p.m. nightly; weekend matinees at 2 p.m. "THE PAPER" (R) (Good) pace of big -city newsroom page. Bam. The headline: "Gotcha!" Henry learns the Sentinel has information that the murdered men were involved in a banking scandal and the arrested kids are innocent. But Alicia won't budge. The minutes tick away as the paper's deadline arrives. The incompetent police beat reporter has nothing, and McDougal doesn't seem to be getting anywhere with the feds. But Marty, a former reporter who's dying to get back into the game, gets the 411 from an old Justice Department source. There's only one missing ingredient and Henry has to get Co unrig weetasm Fostwratis son Bill Clinton's life was enriched and inspired by his mother. Now he grieves her death and shares her wisdom. Read about the parent behind the president ... an exclusive Mother's Day interview ... this week in USA Weekend. . -.:'- , jK I This modern-day update of "The Front Page" is a high-voltage joy ride of journalistic fun. But woven into the laughter are some telling moments that mirror a few truths about the Fourth Estate. Director Ron Howard storms through 24 hours at the New York Sun, a scruffy daily that thrives on wham-bam headlines with slammers (exclamation points). It's an especially critical day for Henry Hackett (Michael Keaton), the Sun's metro editor, who's down to the wire over a story that could free two young men wrongfully charged with murder and also has a job interview with the highly respected Sentinel ("We cover the world"). Hackett might work for a tabloid, but he has journalistic ethics. It's important to get it first and get it fast, but more important get it right. Howard keeps a brisk pace. The audience races through deadline pressure with Henry, and watches the creation of a breaking news story. At the Tred Avon Square Movies 4, Easton, 7:10 and 9:30 p.m.; weekend matinees at 2:10 p.m. "THE THREE NINJAS KICK BACK" (PG) (Unreviewed) Pre-teenage, non-mutant ninja non-turtles battle evil forces in this sequel. Like the "Home Alone" movies, this film should bear a warning that repeated viewing can cause young, impressionable children to overestimate their fighting chances against armed, dangerous criminals. Parents, better stick to that one himself. Howard keeps a brisk pace. The audience races through deadline pressure with Henry, and watches the creation of a breaking news story. And yes, you do get to hear the almost mythic "Stop the presses!" But Howard packs a few surprises with that one. The filmmakers went to the New York Daily News and New York Post to see a big city tabloid, and learned well. Howard captures the frenzy and the passions, the pranks, the paranoia, the jealousies, the creative edge, the neurotic but intellectual curiosity, the intense camaraderie, and the sexual romps. Nothing is sacred in a newsroom, and everyone's fair game. His camera is never still. At times, it's handheld to give a gritty sense of urgency. And he couldn't have a better cast: Performances are excellent tins Suhdm Stair Sanity Edition Of Th Sljr-Dtmocrat M 3 "Four Wfw- ( on million S $2USo Crazy" r O million " n7 The MigMy o "The Paper" ' d million ;i .. "och-indler'sUst" y $1.49 million ,) "The Favor" - " ab million AP well-lighted streets going home. At the Tred Avon Square Movies 4, Easton, 7:30 and 9:20 p.m.; weekend matinees at 2:30 p.m. all the way around. As Hackett, Keaton is marvelous and once again shows his incredible versatility. He's a newsman, right down to his Coca-Cola addiction and telephone balancing act. Close is wonderful as the frustrated but sexually skilled feature writer thrust into an administrative spot she really can't handle, a journalist who thinks she's in the same league as the people she covers. Duvall is a classic, an editor who slept his way around the newsroom and made his job his -mistress. His wife is gone, his daughter hates him, and he's sick r and old. Tomei continues to impress v and is destined to be an important x-screen presence in years to come, and Quaid is a hoot as the columnist who packs a gun and sleeps in his boss' office because of his growing paranoia. X f Hi I sea

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