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Year: Stars: Rating: Reviewer:

The Abyss (1989)

For much of the distance, tolerably -- but true to the fashion of the times, overaggressively -- entertaining. Very fast out of the starting blocks (very fast at sinking a U.S. nuclear sub to the bottom of the Caribbean), and quite exhausting in the rate at which one problem follows ... (PG-13)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989)

In this, as in Brazil before it, Terry Gilliam has again turned what would be a tale of wonder into a tale of wampum, and has managed at the same time to wrest maximum sympathy from the kibitzing Press. That may well be a more astounding trick than any of ... (PG)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1989)

Among them, a battle with river rapids, a pinch from a crab, the defense of a chicken egg against an inquisitive hedgehog, and a ride on the back of a turtle. Milo, you understand, is a cat, Otis a dog. The biggest hardship either of them faces is a superslick ... (G)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)

Animated animal tale, about a flea-bitten mutt short-changed on devotion to humans, and embroiled in a turf war with a no-good cur. The canine protagonist's beyond-and-back experience, after being "rubbed out" by his rival, is decently inventive: he snatches his assigned time-piece from an administrator in the celestial Hall of ... (G)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Always (1989)

Well, once in a while, maybe. Steven Spielberg's remake and update of Guy Named Joe, a WWII fantasy about the ghost of a recently deceased flyer who (unbeknown to anyone alive) tutors a neophyte flyer and even plays matchmaker between that neophyte and his own former sweetheart, loses some of ... (PG)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Apartment Zero (1989)

The suspense (with political overtones) is late in arriving and, when it comes, is dampening rather than warming. The character interest before that is fairly intense. Thanks for that to Colin Firth as the tortured homosexual with a dying mother, a languishing repertory cinema in Buenos Aires ("Once the James ... (R)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Back to the Future, Part II (1989)

A loud, ugly, ungodly mess. It starts out with what's already the biggest pill to swallow in a time-travel adventure, and proceeds to let this snowball into a burden of disbelief such as could not be suspended by wire cables. Namely: the manufacture of a mobile time machine which, by ... (PG)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Batman (1989)

The DC Comics superhero, inadequately incarnated in Michael Keaton. (Batbrat, maybe. Batpunk, perhaps. Batguy, at best.) Even so, the movie is indisputably an impressive thing to look at. The production (with its feel of futurism circa the 1940s: sort of what Brazil ought to have looked like) doesn't suffocate the ... (PG-13)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Baxter (1989)

Against-the-grain dog story about an intelligent, even intellectual bull terrier (who narrates in the manner of It's a Dog's Life: resemblances stop there) with a latent fascistic personality. He hankers after a master like himself -- no love, no fear -- and finally finds one in the person of a ... (R)

3.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Beaches (1989)

Americanized, and accordingly broadened and coarsened, version of Agnes Varda's One Sings, the Other Doesn't: an improbable friendship founded on one meeting in girlhood and carried on for three decades, and across a huge cultural gap, primarily through letters and in total oblivion of those "Reach-out-and-touch-someone" telephone ads. As a ... (PG-13)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Bear (1989)

Wilderness adventure about the bond between an orphaned cub and a male Kodiak stalked by two hunters. The wild card in this hand is the peephole into the little cub's dream world: nothing succeeds in humanizing the animal (or animalizing the filmmakers) as much as the couple of glimpses into ... (PG)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Big Picture (1989)

Christopher Guest's directorial debut, a corruption-of-innocence comedy solipsistically set in Hollywood. The opening awards ceremony, with clips from four nominated student productions at the National [sic] Film Institute, puts him back comfortably in the parody mode of This Is Spinal Tap, which he co-wrote and starred in. (The intermittent fantasy ... (PG-13)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

An exaltation of stupidity, a trait the filmmakers would seem to know intimately. Two low-denominator high-school students -- heavy-tongued, heavy-eyelidded heavy-metal types -- get their hands on a time machine to round up some helpers for their pending History report: Lincoln, Socrates, Freud, Beethoven, Genghis Khan, Billy the Kid, Joan ... (PG)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Black Rain (1989)

In the tradition of The Yakuza, The Challenge, House of Bamboo, Rififi in Tokyo; namely the tradition of Western tough guy in the Land of the Rising Sun. Michael Douglas (who always looks as if he knows he's being photographed, possibly because he is under investigation by Internal Affairs, but ... (R)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Bloodhounds of Broadway (1989)

Furiously winking Jazz Age comedy, in the Damon Runyon idiom. That means the characters will have names like Regret, Feet, The Brain, Lovey Lou, Hortense Hathaway, and Handsome Jack. (Ouch! Ow! Oof!) The job of keeping up the pace and the tone, shirked by the writing and editing, falls chiefly ... (PG)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd