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The daily Tar Heel. (Chapel Hill, N.C.) 1946-current, November 30, 1989, Page 18, Image 18

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DTH Omnibus Page 9 Thursday November 30, 1989 II INI 1 m A Three great comics; one screwed - Harlem Nights Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Arsenio Hall directed by Eddie Murphy Ram Triple 967-8284 O 12 While the funny man with the penchant for vulgar ity has called Harlem Nights "a film by Eddie Murphy in associa tion with Eddie Murphy Productions," this piece of drivel was sponsored by Paramount Pictures. The studio is probably glad that their involvement in the project gets minimal public ity. The actor's name appears five times in the credits, showing that this film may be more of an ego-trip than the sharp comedy of which Murphy is capable. Murphy directed, wrote and starred in this tale of gangsters and ritzy after-hours clubs in the 1930s. Murphy and Richard Pryor are the owners of Club Sugar Ray's, rival club to gangster-run Pitty Pat Club. Faithful sequel makes Back to the Future, Part II Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Thomas F. Wilson, Lea Thompson directed by Robert Zemeckis Carolina Blue and White 942-3061 GOO 12 Okay, I'll admit it! Back in 1985, when I was but a mere 15 and plagued by the weird ness of my youth, 1 knew without a doubt time travel was possible after seeing Back to the Future for the sixth time. So with the release of the se quel, I couldn't help but give it two thumbs up a month before I even saw it. Fortunately, the talents of Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis have teamed up again to keep the dream alive as well as the duo of Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) time traveling. Picking up where the first film left off, Marty has to go into the future November 12, 2015, to be exact to keep his son, Martin McFly Jr.,. from committing a crime.. However, this is only the beginning of a 90-minute adventure that takes you -through time and, well, sort of back. While in the future, Marty of the past experiences a totally different world where cars fly, hover boards have replaced skateboards, and movie Davis Turner 17 1 The film gave Murphy a chance to work with two of his biggest influ ences, Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor, but it is embarrassing that he could not come up with a better storyline to showcase their skills. With three veterans of the comedy business, there is no lack of talent in Nights; rather, there is a lack of storyline for the comedians to hitch a ride on. The veteran chuckle-grabbers are left with their thumbs waving in the wind. It is a plain, boring waste of proven talent. The film never captures a good comedysting blend, although Nights generates a few minor laughs and interesting plot twists. Quick and Sugar Ray sting the bad cops and the evil gangster who closes down the club, but it's still weak stuff. Redd Foxx adds a few needed laughs as he plays Billy "Snake Eyes" Wilson, a near-blind, dice-rolling, stubbom-old-goat-of-a-man who refuses to wear his spectacles. At times it is almost Donnie Beck f ,17 5 y theaters come to life. As Dr. Brown warned in the first film, Marty must avoid contact with anyone to avoid the consequences that could result. All goes basically as planned until Biff (yes, the same one who tortured Marty's father in the original, but 30 years older) gets his hands on the time machine. From this point on Back to the Future, Part II is a whirl wind of adventure with a very unex pected ending. Without a doubt, Michael J. Fox is the star of this picture. This may seem obvious, but some explanation makes it clear: Not only does Fox play himself at 18, but he also plays himself as his 18-year old son, as the 48-year old Marty and, yes, his teen age daughter, in the future. Fox is excellent with his timing and his in nocent face gives his character lim itless sincerity. Christopher Lloyd also gives an excellent performance as the eccen tric and flustered Dr. Emmett Brown. Possibly Lloyd's greatest asset is his hair. With his naturally lanky phy sique, Lloyd does an excellent job of convincing the audience that he doesn't know whether he's coming or going. Director and writer Robert Ze meckis should be commended for the excellent direction and the interest ing concepts in Back to the Future, Part 11. Zemeckis uses scenes from v -x nv wk like Sanford and Son Meet the Sting. "Snake Eyes" constantly bickers with Vera "the fat bitch" Walker in lambasting reminiscent of the San ford and Son days of pointless squab bling. But despite the complications, there are no novelty curves thrown into this film. Plot twists are great brain-teasers if they make the viewer think, but these are far too predict able to provide much entertainment. If a small bladder is a problem, don't worry about rushing off to the toilet for fear of missing an important bit of storyline. Nights is no exception to Murphy's rule of excessive profanity and silly name-calling, which is probably why the flick was given an R rating. The R certainly wasn't for blood and guts, although there is a great deal of vio lence. The abundance of the killing is "clean" stuff, without all the gore and graphic nastiness. A child buries a bullet between the eyes of an irate gambler within the first five min utes, an omen of the carnage to come. Heads are blown off, toes are shot off, lovers are blown to bits while still in the sack (right after congratu latory exchanges for excellent love- sure time the first film to show how time over laps when Marty and Dr. Brown have to go back to 1955, where they were in the first film. Especially effective are the scenes that echo the first film: Instead of the skateboard chase of Part One, Marty is pursued by the bad guys on hoverboards. Not only is the plot of the original movie being constantly recalled, but the time trav elers actually have to go back into the first film to sort out the mess they've just gotten themselves into. Another plus is the film's subtle handling of how the average town of the future will look. It's not a com pletely foreign concept at all. Cars fly, but they still look like cars and not the stereotyped aerodynamic vessel of the future. Finally, Back to the Future, Part 11 is a sequel that badgers its predeces sor in a unique way. The original cast and crew are back, but they're not just cashing in on a tried-and-true concept. Back to the Future, Part II is a mind-bogglingly clever con tinuation of the time-traveling ad venture. The second sequel, set for release in the summer of 1990, is anxiously expected. What The Ratings Mean O miserable OO mediocre OOO enjoyable OOOO quite good OOOOO unmissable making). A hysterically sobbing Arsenio Hall adds a funny twist to the banal gunplay as he and his bumbling accomplices fail to gun down Murphy with their machine guns. Murphy, 28, has never lost money on a film; hence the studio execu tives have given him "Money" as a proper and fitting nickname. Of course, nicknames can change fast, given a performance like this. Murphy's role lacks the hearty belly laughs that he's been known for in the past. The punch is just not there in Harlem Nights. The film will not be remembered as a classic, but it is doubtful that Murphy meant for it to be. The set is complete with cars and costumes of the era. The houses are elegantly over-decorated, all the way down to the statues. Does this show that Murphy had a great deal of money to blow on the production, or is it meant to exemplify the wealth involved with the gangster types and the success of the club? Whatever the case, scenery is no competent replacement for a decent story. Maybe Murphy should let some one else brainstorm the movie ideas, travel is still Back to the bank Back to the Future, Part II skated into the box-office record books in its debut, collecting $43 million during the five-day Thanks giving holiday weekend, according to figures released Monday. The time-travel adventure sequel to the 1985 blockbuster set single day admission records on Wednesday and Thursday, with grosses in excess of $7.2 million each day. Universal Pictures called it the biggest opening in movie history, but the box-office figures cited by the studio represented receipts from the long, five-day holiday weekend beginning Wednesday. Traditionally, the weekend box office is calculated on a Friday through Sunday basis. By that standard, Back to the Future; Part II failed to surpass the all-time three-day record, set earlier this year by Batman with $42.7 million. Back to the Future, Part II collected $27.8 million from Friday through Sunday, according to Entertainment Data Inc. and Exhib itor Relations Co., making it the biggest Thanksgiving-time release ever, topping the three-day mark of $20 million set by Rocky TV in 1985. Associated Press Prancer (G) 7; 15 q 9:50 Back to the Future Part II (PG) 7:30 9:45 up flick M( (fx A Iff I 7 m Redd Foxx so he can have roles where his char acter has a chance to develop. He has shown he excels in acting in past films, but with Nights he has shown us that he does not in writing and di recting. It was his first attempt, and he did try, but what a miserable re sult. a blast

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