The daily Tar Heel. (Chapel Hill, N.C.) 1946-current, November 02, 1989, Page 16, Image 16
Page 6 DTH Omnibus Thursday November 2, 1989 DTH Omnibus Page 7 Thursday November 2, 1989 D i Between h, November! Ah, the crisp, fresh air of fall! Ah, the sound of leaves fall ing to the tune of Hollywood's Box Office !t1 . .1 .1 3 tins as uney ring in mat blockbuster money! Well, not quite. Already some of the surest movie bets of the season have proved to be dismal failures. Big guns do go "pop," even guns that have gone "bang" before. Johnny Handsome, the action drama from Walter 48 Hrs Hill made a quick exit. In Country, Norman Moonstruck Jewison's Vietnam film starring Bruce Willis, sunk under bad reviews and only managed to scrape an embar rassing $3 million. Erik the Viking has not had the word of mouth it badly needed to take off. Black Rain will make over $40 million, but that fig ure will scarcely recoup its massive production costs. Even Fat Man and Little Boy, the story of nuclear physi cist Robert J. Oppenheimer starring Paul Newman and directed by Roland Killing Fields JofYe, has just dropped a well-meaning bomb. So, what have we been going to see in droves? sex, lies and videotape (over $20 million to date) has been the thinking man's film of the sea son, with audiences returning to it for a second and third look. Sea of Love, Al Pacino's return vehicle, has done remarkably well breaking rec ords in its first week of release and going on to take almost $50 million to date. But no, the runaway hit of the season thus far is Look Who's Talking, which has taken over $40 million in its first three weeks. Only TTTT ft f" X. Alan Alda steals the A i 1 now and Richard Smith r films with Stetson hats or pointed ears and wings do better than that. Starring Kirstie Alley, John Travolta and the voice of Bruce Willis, Look Who's Talking is another baby movie (albeit with a twist) and is arguably the most TV-like film to grace the screen in many a diaper-change. You might as well be at home watching a sitcom. All of which goes to prove that the tastes of the public at large are impossible to successfully gauge. Even so, this year's record-breaking $2 bil lion summer should have taught Hollywood a valuable lesson in vari ety; make something for everyone, and everyone will come. If you could see through the sequels this summer, almost every taste was catered for -adventure, fantasy, drama, comedy, it was all there (a lot of it was darn good, too). And if the list below is an indication, this Holiday period will continue the trend. For 'tis the season to release all the Oscar contenders (with a coupla sequels and comedies nestled snugly in there for good measure). 1988 proved that the Academy only goes to see movies in December (all of last year's contenders for Best Pic ture were released in that month) and, looking at the major studio's schedules, it will probably happen again. So pick a winner from this smorgasbord of films that will grace l. show in Woody Allen's latest, 'Crimes and i 'T ' ? 7 t " r ;: - ; 1 m " its ) v A i i it 1 U ft '- t I I i 'I If 1 t ! If l , A . Christmas, 'tis the the nation's screens between now and 1990. Go on, pick. All dates, mais oui, are tentative. NOVEMBER 3 First out of the gate is Woody Al len. Advance word on the Woodman's projects is notoriously : Mr."' --4 1 , sr-w .SSjtoMJm.',,,,.-,:-.--.. Sally Field ('You like me!') stars in 'Steel Magnolias' difficult to come by, but now that it's out, critics the country over have been running out of superlatives to praise the filmmaker for finally mak ing some sense out of his unhealthy Ingmar Bergman fixation and return ing in part to what he has always 4 Misdemeanors' ' jr. ?r, i 4 Jr f done best; comedy. Crimes and Mis demeanors, which opens at the Var sity tomorrow, stars the amazing lineup of Martin Landau, Angelica Huston, Mia Farrow, Daryl Hannah, Claire Bloom, Sam Waterston, Woody himself and, apparently steal ing the show, Alan Alda. NOVEMBER 13 Continuing the comedy-drama theme, Dad stars Ted Danson, Olym pia Dukakis and, in a welcome re turn, Jack Lemmon. The story of a son who comes home to comfort his father after his mother's heart attack, is written, produced and directed for the Big Screen by Little Screen god Gary David Family Ties Goldberg. It's his cinematic debut. Dad costars youngster Ethan Hawke, recently seen in Dead Poets Society, and gets a spe cial sneak preview at the Ram Triple this Friday and Saturday. NOVEMBER 17 Thanksgiving sees the return of what is becoming an annual event: the head-to-head bout between the new Disney animated feature and that of the Don Bluth studio (who have had notable success of late with An American Tail and The Land Before Time). Bluth used to work at the Disney studios, so the competition could get bitchy. The Disney feature, its 28th, is The Little Mermaid, based on the Hans Christian Anderson story about a mermaid who falls in love with a shipwrecked Prince. Aaah. It stars an array of cookie underwater per sonalities, including a reggae-singing crab named Sebastian (apparently a Carribean Jiminy Cricket), a seagull named Scuttle, and a villainess mod eled on the late, great Divine, a hy brid octopus by the name of Ursula. It's Disney's first fairy tale since Sleep' ing Beauty in 1958, and features seven original songs from Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, the team behind Little Shop of Horrors. Bluth's All Dogs Go to Heaven appears slightly more off-beat, and , marks a turning point for the pre tenders to the Disney throne, since this is their first venture in a while without the backing of producer su premo Steven Spielberg. All Dogs is also a musical, and tells of a deceased canine who comes back to life to discover who murdered him. One for the kiddies. It features the voices of Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuis. Back in the live-action realm, there are four other potentially enormous Thanksgiving releases. The one most likely to bellyflop is Steel Magno lias, the screen version of the ac claimed off-Broadway play by Robery Harling, directed by Herbert Ross (Pennies from Heaven). Magnolias stars Shirley MacLaine, Sally Field, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, Julia Roberts and Dolly Parton as six Southern women who come together season to as they cope with birth, death, sex, stuff of that nature. Hearing all those dreadful imitations of Southern ac cents could make it the least bear able film of the season. It'll be even worse if the Northerners go for it. More likely to succeed is Valmont, director Milos Forman's first film since Amadeus in 1984. Valmont is another new version of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, also the source material for last year's hit Dangerous Liaisons. Far from being a rip-off, Forman's film was into production long before Stephen Frears's version started shoot ing. The latest adaptation of the story of those naughty French aristocrats stars Meg Tilly and Colin Firth. There are some gaurantees in Hol lywood. Who is going to bet that Harlem Nights, Eddie Murphy's di rectorial debut, starring himself and Richard Pryor as father and son, is going to flop? He will have dollars wherever he goes, unless, of course, he's the worst director ever. Harlem Nights is the story set in 1938 Har lem of a successful nightclub (run by Murphy and Pryor) and a crooked cop (Danny Aiello) who wants a cut of the profit. Murphy also wrote the screenplay. NOVEMBER 22 Even way ahead of Eddie will be Back to the Future, Part II, the se- Jack Nicholson acts and directs The Two Jakes' quel that, like most of late, reas sembles the entire cast and crew of the first: Spielberg is in the produc tion seat; Zemeckis (Roger Rabbit) is in direction; Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd are back in the leads. It's something of an experi ment, since they have filmed Parts II and III back to back. (Hollywood's other experiment this fall is the home video release of Batman on Novem ber 15, just five months after its start ing run). Back to the Future, Part 11 will be taking off where the first left off, and Part III will be released next summer. Will we be sick to death of it by then, or will we hardly be able v f ' release Oscar wannabes to wait? If the trailers are any indica tion, go for the latter. DECEMBER 8 There's a fair share of comedies to lighten up the heavy December load of Oscar wannabe material. Firstly, We're No Angels, directed by Neil Jordan (Mora Lisa) and written by David Mamet (The Untouchables), stars the unlikely comedy duo of Robert DeNiro and Sean Penn as smalltime crooks who escape from prison and are forced to hide in a New England town disguised as priests. The War of the Roses looks hot to trot, starring as it does the by-now surefire team ' of Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito. It's the story of the disenchanted Roses (Turner and Douglas) who, while agreeing on divorce, each re fuses to leave their lovely house. DeVito, as well as directing, plays a divorce lawyer, and describes it as a film "about love, passion, divorce and furniture." If the publicity holds up, this'll be a comedy on the black side. Can anyone take Sylvester Stal lone seriously anymore? (Rocky V is said to be close to production, which somewhat answers the question). In Tango and Cash, previously titled "Set-Up," he co-stars with Kurt Russell. Together they play rival cops who get framed and sent to prison, only to escape and join forces to find the real crooks. Directed by Albert Magnoli (Purple Rain). DECEMBER 15 Spielberg swears that Indy III was his last kiddie picture. From now on it's gonna get serious. Always, his latest film starring Richard Dreyfuss (who previously worked with Spielberg on Chse Encounters) and " Holly Hunter, will be our chance to see what he means. Based on the 1944 Spencer Tracy film, A Guy Named Joe, Always is the story of a firefighting pilot (Dreyfuss) who is dies in the line of duty. Does his death separate him from his loved one, Hunter? Ask Audrey Hepburn, she's been cast as... but that would be giving too much away. Always co stars John Goodman and newcomer Brad Johnson. Blaze has nothing to do with fire fighting, but should get just as much attention if its promise to put the tease back into stripping is true. Ron Shelton (Bull Durham) writes and directs the true story of 1950s gover nor Earl K. Long (Paul Newman) and his steamy affair with stripper Blaze Starr (Lolita Davidovich). At last, Jack Nicholson stops play ing at cartoons and gets down to the serious business of The Two Jakes, otherwise known as "Chinatown II." Written by the man behind the origi nal, Robert Towne, the second film to feature detective Jake Gittes is a mystery concerning the postwar real estate boom in Southern California. It's got Oscar written all over it (es pecially since it's directed by Nicholson himself), and co-stars Meg Tilly, Harvey Keitel, Madeline Stowe and Ruben Blades. Enemies, a Love Story is set in 1950s New York and stars Ron Sil ver as a Jewish man romantically involved with three women at the same time. The unfortunate three are Angelica Huston as his first wife (who the man thinks has died in the Holo caust), Margaret Stein as his current wife, and Lena Olin (who last steamed up the screens in The Unbearable Light' ness of Being) as his mistress. Paul Mazursky (Down and Out in Beverly at jr Matthew Broderick ('Ferris Beuller's Day Off') stars in 'Family Business' ... HiUs) directs from his own script. Ene . mies is based on an I. B. Singer story. DECEMBER 22 Driving Miss Daisy is a race rela tions comedy-drama adapted from the Pulitzer prize-winning play by Alfred Uhry about the 25-year relationship between a fussy Southern Jew (Jes sica Tandy) and her unflappable chauffeur (Morgan Freeman in the role he made famous off-Broadway). Dan Ackroyd, believe it or not, plays Tandy's son. It's directed by Bruce Beresford. Glory continues the race relations theme, but as an historical drama, it may be a hard sell. The trailers are trying to make the Civil War epic about the first black fighting regi ment in US history look as colorful as possible. In its favor is the slightly mixed bag cast of Matthew Broder ick, Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride), Denzel Washington (Cry Freedom) and the ever-present Morgan Free man. Slightly dubious, however, is director Ed Zwick, the man behind About Lost Night and thirtysomething. "What, no tearjerkers?" you cry. Prepare to blabber with Bette Midler at the second re-make of Stella Dallas (the most famous version was with Barbara Stanwyck in 1937). Here simply titled Stella, Midler plays a b-j headstrong single parent who struggles to be an ideal mother while making sure her daughter gets the life she never had. Pass the kleenex, I'm crying already. From, sniff!, Touch stone Pictures. CHRISTMAS And with a quick pause to shake those jingle bells, we're off onto the final five that alone could comprise next spring's list of Best Picture nominees. Firstly, Family Business, directed by Sidney Lumet (Serpico. Dog Day Afternoon), seems to have it licked. With the stunning cast of Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman and Mat thew Broderick, who is not going to see it? Can there be a single member of the moviegoing public who likes none of the three stars? They play three generations of a family who plan a low-risk, high-return robbery. Expect film acting at its finest. Let's just hope the screenplay holds up. She-Devil has a similarly wide, if more peculiar, appeal. Pitting Meryl Streep against Roseanne Barr should capture the movie and TV audiences both (the trailers are going for it, even if the movie can't). The Des perately Seeking Susan Seidelman directed comedy is based on an award winning British TV mini-series. Barr is Ed Begley Jr.'s wife who is dumped in favor of Streep, a romance novel ist. Not being one to mope, Barr seeks revenge. The original TV series had an unsettling feel, but this looks like it'll be played for out-and-out com edy. Could be worse. (Besides, after the summer's biggest flop, Great Balls of Fire, Orion need the money.) Music Box, from the hands of controversial director Costa-Gravas (Missing), stars Jessica Lange in the story about a woman attorney who defends her Hungarian father from charges of war crimes. A similarly difficult task is explaining the grue some events to her 11 -year-old son, TO, I i. K S - x ' f 2 vr ... as does last year's Best Actor, Dustin Hoffman ('Rain Man') 7 I x A ) ' . - i ' Elizabeth McGovern stars the excellent Lukas Haas (Witness). Written by Joe Eszterhas (Jagged Edge). Also in a serious vein, Oliver Stone returns with what he says is the sec ond of a Vietnam trilogy, Born on the Fourth of July. Tom Cruise plays Ron Kovic, the young gung-ho sol dier who comes home from the war a paraplegic, and becomes a social activist. Willem Dafoe (Platoon) also stars. Stone co-wrote the screenplay with Ron Kovic from Kovic's book. Oscars await. Finally the big Independent film that could throw the whole lot for a loop is The Handmaid's Tale, re cently filmed in Durham. Based on Margaret Atwood's book, and writ ten for the screen by Harold Pinter, it is a visionary story in which reli gious fundamentalists have taken power and sexism is insitutionalized. Directed by Victor Schlondorff (The Tin Drum) and starring Faye Dun away, Robert Duvall, Elizabeth McGovern and Natasha Richardson, The Handmaid's Tale may be too sur real and unglamorous for the main stream audience, but it ranks as one of the most interesting of all upcom ing films. nd that by no means is the complete list of all the films scheduled for re- A lease between now and New Year's: look out too for The Witches, a fantasy starring An gelica Huston, featuring some new Jim Henson creations and directed by Nicholas Roeg; National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, starring Chevy Chase and written by John Hughes; Stanley and Iris, starring Jane Fonda and Robert DeNiro in a drama with illiteracy as its theme; Drugstore Cow boy, a highly-acclaimed, dark drama in 'The Handmaid's Tale' about drug addiction starring Matt Dillon and Kelly Lynch; Phantom of the Opera, a re-make of the silent classic with Robert Englund, a.k.a. Freddy Krueger, in the lead (it opens tomorrow at the Willowdaile in Durham); Let's Get Lost, a contro versial documentary of late jazz artist Chet Baker, by Bruce Weber and; Mountains of the Moon, about explor ers on searching for the Nile's source, starring Omar Sharif and directed by Bob Rafelson (Five Easy Pieces). Mia Farrow stars in Woody Allen's 'Crimes and Misdemeanors' The list goes on, and although it remains uncertain exactly what film will be on everybody's lips come Janu ary, what is clear (and quite reassur ing given Hollywood's singular abil ity of climbing on popular bandwag ons) is that there is something for everybody in the list above. And that, after all, is exactly as it should be. :;. " : wv:.