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Year: Stars: Rating: Reviewer:

101 Dalmatians (1996)

Awkward and long-winded translation of the 1961 Disney animated feature (and anti-furrier fable) into live-action. The dogs are adorable, even eloquent, but hardly as obedient as their cartoon forebears; and Glenn Close's dognapping offenses seem mild next to her overacting. With Jeff Daniels and Joely Richardson; directed by Stephen Herek. (G)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Alaska (1996)

Unadventurous wilderness adventure about an uprooted Chicago Cubs fan and his younger sister who, escorted by a baby polar bear dubbed "Cubby," search the Alaskan mountains for their father, teetering helplessly on a precipice in his downed plane. (Yes, just to round out the "cub" motif, a Piper Cub.) Everything ... (PG)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Albino Alligator (1996)

Small-scale and stagy thriller about a standoff that results when ATF agents, tailing a Canadian gunrunner at the wheel of a stolen car, get thrown off the scent and pick up the wrong car, but still a hot car, occupied by three penny-ante criminals (Matt Dillon, Gary Sinise, William Fichtner) ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

American Buffalo (1996)

Proficient "reading" of an early Mamet play with three speaking parts, an oblique examination of the pettiness of petty crooks. Flavorful; salty; but dry, very dry. With Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Franz, and Sean Nelson; directed by Michael Corrente. (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Angela (1996)

Wonders and terrors of girlhood: a new house (with convenient eavesdropping access to the grownups' bedroom); an unbalanced mother; a sleepwalking neighbor; an imagined angel in the basement; babies; boys; and so on. The feature-film debut of writer-director Rebecca Miller, daughter of the Death of a Salesman man, is quiet ... (NR)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Angel Baby (1996)

Nutters in love -- in a phone booth, in a back alley, in a rainstorm, in candlelight, etc. But the world is against them -- these two heavily medicated innocents who follow the counsel of their guardian angel, Astral, communicating to them through the mystery phrases on the Australian Wheel ... (R)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Angels and Insects (1996)

The class divisions and emotional repressions -- meat and potatoes -- of Victorian England. The aggressively modern perspective (A.S. Byatt original novella, full frontal nudity of both sexes, and the major innovation of the movie: punctuation marks -- periods -- after each of the opening credits) knocks some of the ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Anne Frank Remembered (1996)

Not especially imaginative documentary: the standard salad of interviews, prosaic narration (Kenneth Branagh), and photographic records. Yet we realize from the age of the interviewees how near we are to the end of the living memory of these events, and the story gets told in considerable detail, and the only ... (PG)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Arrival (1996)

Briskly efficient, blithely superficial visitors-from-space thriller. The thrills, as they may rationally be called, are widely varied in kind and degree: the momentary frisson upon finding a dead ringer in Mexico of the bad guy in Los Angeles; the well-sustained bout of heebie-jeebies in a hotel room swarming with scorpions; ... (PG-13)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Associate (1996)

Unutterably tedious comic proposition to do with a Wall Street hoax in which a female financial wiz, in order to get her independent investment firm over the hump and off the ground, invents a fictitious male partner -- one Robert Cutty, whose surname is stolen off a bottle of Scotch ... (PG-13)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

August (1996)

Pick your Uncle Vanya: (a) Louis Malle's Vanya on 42nd Street; (b) Michael Blakemore's Country Life; and now (c) Anthony Hopkins's August — all within the space of a couple of years. (An authentic Russian locale is not an option. ) This present version, transplanted to Hopkins's native Wales, has ... (PG)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Bad Moon (1996)

Uncle Ted returns from his travels knowing a little too much about lycanthropy: "It's been my experience that any moon will do the trick, werewolf-wise." Luckily, the Rin Tin Tinny pet dog, Thor, is there to keep him in line, though it takes an escape from the Dog Pound and ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Barb Wire (1996)

Casablanca re-located in the free city of Steel Harbor during the Second American Civil War, 2017 A.D. Rick's Cafe Americain has been renamed and refurbished as the Hammerhead, and the proprietor -- the eponymous heroine of the Dark Horse comic book -- is resolutely "neutral," until an ex-lover turns up ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Basquiat (1996)

The short life and big splash of the Haitian-born artist, Warhol satellite, and drug addict Jean-Michel Basquiat (played with Sabu-like gentleness and innocence by Jeffrey Wright), as commemorated by his fellow artist, his friend, and first-time filmmaker Julian Schnabel. This voice of authority, for all its contentment with cliché, conveys ... (R)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Beaumarchais the Scoundrel (1996)

Peacocky costume piece with an insufferably self-satisfied Fabrice Luchini in the titular role of the 18th-century French wit, playwright, magistrate, periodic political prisoner, duellist, spy, gun-runner, great lover, voice of liberty, and all-around fascinating fellow. The script comes with an intriguing pedigree, traceable to an unproduced and unpublished play by ... (NR)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd