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Year: Stars: Rating: Reviewer:

1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)

Not just was Christopher Columbus: The Discovery faster into the marketplace (for the quincentenary of the voyage of the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria); it was also clearer in story, in character, in actors' diction, in photography. Bad as it was, sometimes amusingly so, this is worse -- ... (PG-13)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

35 Up (1992)

Unlike most sequels, 35 Up is really more for people who failed to see its immediate predecessor, 28 Up. For the people who did not fail to see the predecessor, this is apt to seem a too-soon reunion (not unlike your latest high-school reunion) of the diverse group of Britishers ... (NR)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Adjuster (1992)

A mondo-bizarro movie: spare, precise, neatnik images of uniformly loopy characters. ("I wanted to make a film," director Atom Egoyan has stated, "about believable people doing believable things in an unbelievable way." Batting average: .333.) The title character is an insurance-claims adjuster who is worshipped as "an angel" at the ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Afraid of the Dark (1992)

Dryly academic thriller on the themes of blindness and perception, a tall order for a director without much of an eye: screenwriter Mark Peploe, past collaborator of Antonioni and Bertolucci. An unscrupulous switch from Oz to Kansas (in effect) pulls the rug out from under you halfway through, and you ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Aladdin (1992)

Disney's animated Arabian Nights tale, with politically enlightened Mediterranean noses and tawny complexions as well as a feministically flattered heroine. The obligatory songs sound even more dashed-off than the ones in the preceding year's Beauty and the Beast ("Riffraff! Street rat! I don't buy that!/ If only they'd look closer ... (G)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Alan and Naomi (1992)

A heretofore unknown director, Sterling Van Wagenen, shows off a heart the size of a honeydew and a cinematic intelligence nearer a grape. In a dollhouse re-creation of Second World War-period New York, a traumatized French girl, methodically tearing up newspapers into tiny scraps, is coaxed back from the brink ... (PG)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Alberto Express (1992)

Comic nightmare on a family "tradition" whereby a son is expected to reimburse his father for every lira spent on his upbringing. (Due date: the day the son becomes a father.) Most of the action is set on the Paris-to-Rome night train, as the frantic debtor attempts to beg and ... (NR)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Alien 3 (1992)

The rare and special sequel that is not only worse than its predecessors but that makes its predecessors seem worse too. Seem, more exactly, to have been not worth the bother. Set in an extraterrestrial penal colony and crackpot religious sanctuary, where the shaven-headed inmates call each other "wankers" among ... (R)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

American Me (1992)

Edward James Olmos's pet project (he directs it as well as stars in it), a moralizing, make-a-difference gang movie that depicts the cyclic hopelessness of life in the L.A. barrios. Ambitious in scope, it begins on the night of the Zoot Suit Riots in 1943, skips to 1959, skips again ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

And Life Goes On (1992)

Abbas Kiarostami's semi-quasi-pseudo-documentary sequel to his Where Is the Friend's House?, an all-day quest for the all-day quester of that earlier film (an equally Kafka-esque quest in its failure to satisfy our natural curiosity as to the outcome), in the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake in the area. Complexities and ... (NR)

3.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Article 99 (1992)

Behind the scenes at a V.A. hospital where a team of young, dedicated, superbly skilled doctors (Ray Liotta, Kiefer Sutherland, Lea Thompson, et al.), but also swashbuckling, flirting, wisecracking, rule-breaking, speech-making doctors, are impeded but not completely prevented from practicing medicine by a budget-balancing, nickel-counting administrator and "a whole new ... (R)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Babe (1992)

A/k/a The Bambino. A/k/a The Sultan of Swat. A/k/a George Herman Ruth. A from-the-beginning biographical approach (the abandonment at Saint Mary's Industrial School for Boys, the breaking of the chapel window by batted ball, etc.), plus some child-in-a-candy-store psychological analysis. John Goodman starts out too old (and too fat) for ... (PG)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Bad Lieutenant (1992)

The titular adjective reveals itself to be a definite understatement: our lieutenant (Harvey Keitel) oftentimes seems like a spy from the underworld, and a not very clever or cautious spy at that, who somehow has infiltrated the New York Police Department. He takes drugs the whole day through (albeit holding ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Basic Instinct (1992)

A retired rock-and-roller is trussed to the headboard and stabbed with an icepick in the middle of lovemaking. (Hard-bitten homicide cop: "He got off before he got offed.") All signs point to his current girlfriend, a provocatively smirking heiress who happens to have written a novel about a retired rock-and-roller ... (R)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Batman Returns (1992)

Unfortunately he is still Michael Keaton. Or Michael Keaton is still him. And as long as he's in the lead role, any Batman movie will have to hobble along in leg irons. On the other hand, both The Penguin (Danny DeVito, unrecognizable) and Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) have imposing physical presences, ... (PG-13)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

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