A Kid in King Arthur's Court. This low-quality fare from Disney features a lame script, bland direction and contemptible acting. If you take your kids to see it, they might lead a violent revolt against you using whiffle bats and plastic swords, so be careful. Even Runaway Brain, the 5-minute Mickey Mouse cartoon that precedes the movie, is second-rate all the way. With the hundreds of Arthurian, time-travel and old Disney videos that infinitely outclass this tripe, consider setting up your own round table at home instead. Christen it with a VCR and let Merlin's magical remote control be your guide.
Dangerous Minds. Michelle Pfeiffer stars in this mostly effective drama about an unorthodox inner-city high school teacher who wins the attention (and affection) of a classroom full of hard-to-reach minority students. The material, though clumsily constructed, has social relevance to spare, and the filmmakers' commitment to a bare-bones plot is honorable. The uneasy mix of realism and Hollywood slickness does create some embarrassing notes, but Pfeiffer's charm overrides most of the rough spots--with her soft-toned, tough-loving demeanor she's a perfect educational love object.
Desperado. Richard Rodriquez, in his $7 million sequel to the $7 thousand career-making actioner El Mariachi, has crafted a funny, enjoyably senseless tribute to the over-the-top violence of directors like John Woo. And he's found the most attractive of leads: Antonio Banderas stars as the dark, vengeful loner with a guitar case full of guns, and Salma Hayek plays the shapely love interest who stitches up his many wounds. Offering their comic services, independent film icons Steve Buscemi, Quentin Tarantino and the shifty-eyed Cheech Marin make valiant efforts, but Rodriguez makes one unfortunate mistake: He kills them off too soon, leaving the second half of his film without much personality. As a friend said, "Good gunplay, bad screenplay."
Lord Of Illusions. A Manson-esque cult leader with supernatural powers, a world-famous magician with an ill-timed sword trick, a New York detective who is "drawn to the dark side," a love interest/potential victim who wears sheer garments with no bra, and more violent impalings than you can shake a stick at... What more could you ask for from a Clive Barker horror flick? Well, for starters, you might ask for a plot that makes sense, intelligent characters or scares that don't become increasingly dull and hokey as the film progresses. A few more impalings wouldn't hurt.
Something To Talk About. From the screenwriter who gave us Thelma & Louise comes this insightful yet directionless tale of a Southern wife (Julia Roberts) who has to re-think her life when she learns her husband (Dennis Quaid) has been having several affairs. Crisp direction by Lasse Hallestrom, warmly vibrant cinematography and a handful of fun performances (by Kyra Sedgwick, Robert Duvall and Gene Rowlands) keep the film enjoyable long after the story has lost sight of a point. And Roberts is surprisingly good--after years of limited performances in dumb roles, she really seems to be blossoming.
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