Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Freeze Frames the Monitor Movie Guide

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Freeze Frames the Monitor Movie Guide

Article excerpt

MAY 12, 1995

Movies that contain violence, sexual situations, nudity, and profanity are denoted V, S, N, and P respectively. Evaluations do not constitute a Monitor endorsement. Further guidance is supplied by full reviews on the Arts pages.

EVALUATION SYMBOLS

David SterrittStaff PanelMeaning

O\ O\ Don't bother

uqPoor

uuqqFair

uuuqqqGood

uuuuqqqqExcellent

71Half rating point

New Releases

BETTY BOOP CONFIDENTIAL

uuuu One of the all-time-great cartoon compilations, serving up 11 classics made in the early to mid-'30s by Max and Dave Fleischer, with a few photographed in vivacious color. Some have dull stretches, especially when a bouncing ball invites us to croon some boring tune along with Ethel Merman or Lillian Roth, but others are dreamlike and dazzling. The likes of "Dancing on the Moon" and the astonishing "Bimbo's Initiation" have never been encountered since. (Not rated)

CRIMSON TIDE

uuu The setting is a submarine on its way to confront nuclear-armed Russian rebels. The main action is a showdown between the sub's commander, a flinty veteran of many conflicts, and the executive officer, a thoughtful young fellow with more book-learning than experience. The movie has nothing intelligent to say about post-cold-war tensions or anything else, but it's great fun to watch Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington square off in a submarine that looks like a cross between the Starship Enterprise and something you'd get in a cereal box. Tony Scott directed. (R) V P

ERMO

uuu In a rural Chinese village, a hard-working woman sets herself the daunting challenge of earning enough money to buy the biggest-screen television set in town. Zhou Xiaowen directed this clever, sometimes touching satire on the temptations of capitalist consumerism. (Not rated) P

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain

qq A whimsical, small-scale item about a surveyor (Hugh Grant) in Wales, circa 1917, who arrives in a village to measure the terrain. When the residents discover that their pride and joy is going to be designated a hill instead of a mountain (it's short by 20 feet), they conspire to keep him there while they lug buckets of dirt to the top. Even Grant's comic skills and charm can't save the film from triviality. (PG) By Frank Scheck

ETERNITY/ IS THAT ALL THERE IS?

uuu "Is That All There Is?" is a sly and intimate self-portrait by the late Lindsay Anderson, who directed such celebrated movies as "If..." and "This Sporting Life" as well as many important stage productions. "Eternity" is an artful semidocumentary about an Englishman who devoted much of his adult life to scrawling the word "eternity" on streets and sidewalks. Together these hour-long essays make a stimulating double bill. (Not rated) P

A LITTLE PRINCESS

uuu When her father goes to fight in World War I, a creative young girl finds herself trapped in a nasty boarding school where she's reduced to the status of a mistreated servant. This comedy-drama for children is made with more intelligence and imagination than many of the so-called art films that come our way, filling the screen with vivid images that ideally suit its fanciful plot. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron from a screenplay by Richard LaGravenese and Elizabeth Chandler, based on a Frances Hodgson Burnett novel. (G) V

THE PEREZ FAMILY

uu Eager to enter the United States after the Mariel boatlift in 1980, four Cuban emigrants with the same last name assemble themselves into a phony family to improve their chances of joining American society. Mira Nair's romantic comedy-drama has a generous heart and a lively spirit, but it's rarely as funny or touching as it sets out to be. Marisa Tomei and Alfred Molina head the energetic cast. (R) S V P

Currently in Release

THE BASKETBALL DIARIES

uu Jim Carroll's autobiographical book is a largely amoral account of his life as a street hustler, narcotics addict, and high-school athletic star. …

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