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Year: Stars: Rating: Reviewer:

Absolute Power (1997)

After The Bridges of Madison County, after A Perfect World, after Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood the director opts to relax a little. But not right off the bat. The first half-hour or so (of a characteristically unhurried two hours) is as focussed and concentrated an opening stretch as anything this side ... (R)

3.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Addicted to Love (1997)

Conscienceless romantic revenge comedy about a couple of rejected lovers who team up to spy on and sabotage the love nest of their respective exes. (The setting-up of a camera obscura as a surveillance device is a nice scene on purely technical grounds.) Meg Ryan, with punkish dark roots and ... (R)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Afterglow (1997)

Two far-apart married couples in Montreal, a middle-aged one composed of a randy handyman and a boozy former B-movie actress (Nick Nolte, Julie Christie) and a yuppie one composed of a sexually ambiguous workaholic and a child-craving housewife (Jonny Lee Miller, Lara Flynn Boyle), switch partners through the sheerest coincidence ... (R)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Air Bud (1997)

Some above-average pet tricks, involving a golden retriever and a basketball, buried deep in Disney clichés of athletic underdoggism and triumph. More half-hearted than usual (which is maybe to say quarter-hearted), and the slapstick is torture. With Michael Jeter, Kevin Zegers, Wendy Makkena; directed by Charles Martin Smith. (PG)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Air Force One (1997)

The President's plane is hijacked by reactionary Communists out of Kazakhstan, and only one man can stop them: the President himself. As a valorous Vietnam vet and a Medal of Honor winner ("He knows how to fight!" effuses his former commanding officer), he stands roughly the same chance of beating ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Alien Resurrection (1997)

Ripley, believe it or not, has been cloned from a drop of her own blood, with new superhuman strength as befits her stature as a Cultural Icon. But it is not for herself that she has been brought back from the dead. It is for the alien queen inside her, ... (R)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Alive and Kicking (1997)

AIDS in the world of ballet, specifically the British ballet, more specifically the fictitious Ballet Luna ("Queers have made my theater great!"). All very never-say-die and brave and exemplary, but tediously goody-goody and idealized, too. And the climax -- an Opening Night sans rehearsal -- is canned corn. With Jason ... (R)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Amistad (1997)

Just as Steven Spielberg followed Jurassic Park (very soon) with Schindler's List, he follows the Jurassic Park sequel (equally soon) with something to do with the African slave trade: these would be the Good Works that counterbalance the Money Lust. The true case of rebellious, slaughterous blacks on a Spanish ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Anaconda (1997)

Elementary (primitive, primeval) creature feature centered around a documentary film crew searching the Amazon for the People of the Mist, but first finding their reverenced reptile instead, thanks largely to a half-crazed, fully leering snake hunter (Jon Voight, having a ball) who is more hijacker than guide. The creature itself, ... (PG-13)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Anastasia (1997)

Fox Family Films presents an animated alternative to current Disney, but as little an alternative as possible: a spunky feminist heroine (but why, at age eighteen, does she have no memory of herself at eight?); a callow ineffectual hero; a stentorian villain (Rasputin raised from the dead); cute animal sidekicks; ... (G)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Anna Karenina (1997)

Notwithstanding the incidental Tchaikovsky, a predominantly British-accented rendition of the Tolstoy story, with an incongruously French-accented title character. Well-dressed but starchy and leaden. Streamlined to the point of effacement. With Sophie Marceau, Sean Bean, Alfred Molina, Mia Kirshner, James Fox, Fiona Shaw; written and directed by Bernard Rose. (PG-13)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Anthem (1997)

Ambitious yet sloppy, amateurish, home-movie-ish documentary wherein two young women with two video cameras set off cross-country to collect comments from common men and celebrities alike on the present shape of the American Dream. (Commentators include John Waters, Studs Terkel, Hunter Thompson, Tom Robbins, Robert Redford, Willie Nelson, Michael Stipe ... (NR)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Apostle (1997)

In the role of the director and writer as well as of the titular character, Robert Duvall gives generously to himself, and to others too. An actor's director par excellence, he exhibits a patience that verges, if not on the infinite, at least on the Cassavetes-esque, in permitting his players ... (PG-13)

3.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

As Good As It Gets (1997)

Boastfully misnamed, but well above average: an eccentric, bordering on bizarre, romantic triangle composed of an obsessive-compulsive homophobic misogynistic racist antisemitic (misanthropic, in short, besides dog-hating) best-selling romance novelist, and a next-door homosexual painter with a push-faced little pooch and a black art dealer, and a single-mom waitress with a ... (PG-13)

3.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

Contorted spoof of the early Bond films, or of previous spoofs of them, which of course were spoofs to begin with. Already the satirical aim can be seen to be shaky, and the persona of the superspy as a stereotyped Sixties "swinger" (it says so right on his license plate) ... (PG-13)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd