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Year: Stars: Rating: Reviewer:

Adam's Rib (1991)

Stagy, kitchen-sinky drama about three generations of women in one Soviet apartment: Grandma is paralyzed; the elder daughter can't get her boyfriend to commit; the younger has gotten herself pregnant; Mom is looking for a life of her own. Another of those heralded "advances" in the Russian cinema which nevertheless ... (NR)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Addams Family (1991)

Black comedy for kids, specifically those too young to remember the mid-Sixties television sitcom of the same name. The pattern of inversions is simple to grasp -- the bouquet of rose stems with the blossoms snipped off, the children holding a TV antenna outdoors in a lightning storm -- and ... (PG-13)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

All the Vermeers in New York (1991)

Independent filmmaker Jon Jost -- a one-man team of director, writer, photographer, editor, and pseudonymous musical scorer -- here enters, or approaches, the commercial mainstream (an American Playhouse production) without abandoning his art-movie gimmicks, devices, "strategies": a flat, frontal composition of the back of a spectator's head eclipsing a painting ... (NR)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Ambition (1991)

Slow-going psychological thriller about an unpublished novelist who, in search of material, insinuates himself into the life of a paroled mass murderer. Lou Diamond Phillips wrote the screenplay with himself in mind as the star, and there is a facileness, a routineness about the writing. But not about the performance ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

American Dream (1991)

Barbara Kopple re-enters the arena of her admirable Harlan County, U.S.A., that of the labor dispute. But she has not just repeated herself. The laborers this time are meatpackers instead of mine workers, but more significantly the time itself has moved on into the mid-1980s, the era of Reaganomics, and ... (PG-13)

4.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)

Robust, fast, reckless (unafraid, for example, of giving offense to Native Americans), funny, punny, with much of the footloose imagination of an old Looney Tune: the Land of Plenty is envisioned by the immigrant rodents as a U.S. map with bas-relief plateaus of cheese; a roadside sign of "You Are ... (G)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

An Angel at My Table (1991)

Jane Campion's biography of her New Zealander countrywoman -- author Janet Frame -- was made originally for TV, and for showing in three separate parts at that. Had it been a feature-film project from the start, no doubt its proportions would have been totally different. The chosen narrative technique of ... (R)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Antonia and Jane (1991)

Two old but opposite friends -- tony Toni and plain Jane -- see each other just once a year for dinner, but see the same therapist all year round. The presence of the latter allows the narrative to skip around freely and easily, and some of the girl-talk drolleries are ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Backdraft (1991)

Some gorgeous images of fire, swirling and undulating with almost a shifting-sand, simmering-pot sort of subtlety. Also some standard fireball images of the kind you get when any One-Man Army launches a bazooka rocket into the opposition's ammo dump. And while the finale socks you with spectacular sights at approximately ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Barton Fink (1991)

The Coen brothers (director Joel, producer Ethan, writers both) cut right to the heart of the role of the artist in Hollywood. They are too much artists themselves, however, to abide any idealizing or universalizing of their proxy on screen: a Broadway Bolshevik (modelled roughly and rudely on Clifford Odets) ... (R)

4.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

The Disney people, perhaps because their five-year recycling program causes them to lag behind the rising social consciousness and thus opens them to attack from assorted interest groups (Indians re Peter Pan, feminists re Cinderella), seem now, with their thirtieth feature-length cartoon, to spend as much time on Proper Attitudes ... (G)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)

Their Excellent Adventure was an unexpectedly big hit, so its sequel is expectedly bigger: lavish visions of the future, heaven, hell, and points between. The premise is a Terminator-type mission: two "evil twin robots" (twins of Bill and Ted, not of each other) sent back from the future to murder ... (PG)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Billy Bathgate (1991)

Any gangster film that can dredge up something so old as to appear almost new again -- namely, cement footwear for swimming -- has done enough to justify itself. A craftsmanly run-through of the most elementary and elemental material, this one (adapted from the E.L. Doctorow novel) homes in especially ... (R)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Bingo (1991)

A dog and his boy, separated when the latter's father, a barefooted placekicker, gets traded from Denver to Green Bay. Matthew Robbins wants to make a kiddie movie and be hip at the same time: ham acting, cute canine, impossible feats, but also suburban satire, sick jokes, sexual innuendo, and ... (PG)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Black Robe (1991)

Bruce Beresford's rendition of a Brian Moore novel about a French Jesuit with a touch of a martyr complex ("Death is almost certain") on a mission among Canadian Indians in the early Seventeenth Century. The subject and setting might provoke a wish that the spirit of Willa Cather -- the ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd