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Year: Stars: Rating: Reviewer:

BAPS (1997)

Ticklingly unkind portraiture of a couple of ghetto vulgarians from Atlanta (gold teeth, bear-claw nails, etc. ), soul-food waitresses plopped down improbably in Beverly Hills. The obligatory development of plot, character, Honest Sentiment, crowds out the fun. The title (FYI) abbreviates Black American Princesses. With Halle Berry, Natalie Desselle, Martin ... (PG-13)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Batman and Robin (1997)

Introducing Batgirl, the worst yet of the Caped Crusaders, a mush-mouthed motorcycle daredevil (Alicia Silverstone) over from Oxbridge University to visit her ailing Uncle Alfred, manservant to the heretofore Dynamic Duo. As if to make her feel at home, the movie overall has more and worse of just about everything. ... (PG-13)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Bean (1997)

A feature-length blowup of a TV sketch character well known to fanciers of British imports on PBS. To nonfanciers just now meeting him, Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) might be remindful at times, in his childlikeness and mischievousness and even in his exact facial expressions when peering over or around his ... (PG-13)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Beautician and the Beast (1997)

Inverted and cut-rate Ninotchka, built around the talents, most particularly the hoarse adenoidal honk, of Fran Drescher, as a New Yawk cosmetologist recruited by mistake to teach the children of the neo-Stalinist tyrant of mythical Slovetzia. She makes her lines her own: "Could I possibly [gesturing to the bearskin on ... (PG)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Bent (1997)

Fiery display of rhetoric: persecutors of gays are Nazis. Literally, in this case. A frenetic opening-up and pushing-around of the Martin Sherman stage play about the end of the free-and-easy decadence of Berlin between the wars, the S.S. crackdown on "deviants," and the flowering relationship of two prisoners in Dachau. ... (NC-17)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Best Man (1997)

An arranged marriage disarranged, due in large part to the electrical charge between the sullen bride and the somber best man, just returned to his Italian hometown from America, with advanced ideas on social equality. Nicely detailed as to customs and period (the last day of the 19th Century), but ... (PG)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Beverly Hills Ninja (1997)

A shipwrecked foundling raised by ninjas grows up to be tubby Chris Farley. Whence commences a steady barrage of clumsy-loud-stupid jokes: jokes, that is, about clumsiness, loudness, and stupidity, clumsily, loudly, stupidly told. With Nicollette Sheridan, Chris Rock; directed by Dennis Dugan. (PG-13)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Beyond Silence (1997)

The daughter of deaf parents finds her way in the world as a clarinettist, in the footsteps of a glamorous, childless, possessive aunt. Schmaltzy but well shy of nauseating. The details of family life (the daughter sitting at the foot of the TV, translating an old movie into sign language ... (PG-13)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Big One (1997)

Michael Moore's seat-of-the-pants travelogue on his forty-seven-city tour to promote his best-selling book (nonfiction), Downsize This! After Roger and Me and his small-screen series TV Nation, there is nothing really new to say for or against his journalistic methods. They remain as unfair and confrontational and cranky as ever. But ... (PG-13)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Blood and Wine (1997)

Bob Rafelson's next-generation film noir re-establishes, to a noteworthy degree, the connection of the genre to reality and realism. It is not an hommage. It is not an imitation. It is not a hand-me-down. It is a legitimate continuation in a contemporary setting. And if it has lost something in ... (R)

4.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Boogie Nights (1997)

A movie that needed, that cried out, to be made: a hefty slice of heretofore unsampled cultural history, carved out of the San Fernando Valley, cradle of the porn-film industry. The precise snippet of the timeline -- sufficiently lengthy to qualify as "epic," especially at a two-and-a-half-hour running time -- ... (R)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Boxer (1997)

Movies about the Irish "troubles" make up a canon unto themselves; and this one, directed by Jim Sheridan, who contributed to the body of work already with In the Name of the Father, and who thus may have felt he needed to correct the balance, justifies its existence with a ... (R)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Box of Moonlight (1997)

Middle-aged nerd (pocket pen set, daily uniform of white dress shirt and black slacks) loosens up after a chance encounter with an outgoing dropout in a Davy Crockett costume. John Turturro's robotic posture and movements have the physical expressiveness of a silent-cinema clown, and his dance, when he really cuts ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Brassed Off (1997)

The hundred-year-old extracurricular brass band of Grimley Colliery marches proudly toward "Albert Bloody Hall" on the competitive circuit, even as the mine itself faces closure. The filmmakers are too disheartened by Thatcherism to do an out-and-out comedy in the old Ealing Studios style, but their indomitable-human-spirit sentiments prevent a complete ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Breakdown (1997)

Thrills built on a sound psychological foundation: the unease of being a stranger. A Massachusetts yuppie couple, driving cross-country, become separated by car trouble, and the husband afterwards can't find the wife. This situation might call to mind the Dutch suspense film, The Vanishing, except that the trail never cools ... (R)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd