Film Clips

BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD DO AMERICA. Yes! Everybody's favorite fartknockers make the leap to the big screen in an animated extravaganza that's got enough idiotic moments and cavity searches to please any Beavis and Butthead fan. (Of course, Beavis and Butthead fans have low standards.) The cartoon, which follows Beavis and Butthead's cross-country imbecility, is augmented by a bitchin' soundtrack, featuring the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Butthole Surfers and Englebert Humperdink. And yes, that buttmunch Cornholio makes an appearance or two. This movie rules! --Slab

EVITA. It is not a musical, okay? It's an opera. It's an opera about a Fascist dictator of Argentina and his influential, wildly popular wife, Eva Perón. Madonna is quite charming as Eva, singing and dancing her way through pretty much every single scene of this movie with her doe-colored contacts and perpetual costume changes. The first half has the best numbers, but after about an hour everything loses steam. Madonna has long since gone blond, all of the best songs have been sung, and for the last hour we're treated to reprise after reprise. The adaptation from stage to screen seems to have gone a little less smoothly than we would have hoped, too. The film falls prey to visual repetition as well: In scene after scene, we see mobs of angry Argentineans, or happy Argentineans, take to the street, carrying placards. Over and over and over. Placard after placard. --Richter

MARS ATTACKS! Evil Martians attempt to conquer Earth in Tim Burton's affectionate homage to campy sci-fi movies of the '50s. Iridescent bad guys who say "ack ack" quick-fry flaky earthlings from Las Vegas in a movie eerily reminiscent of this summer's Independence Day, with one major difference: Independence Day was stupid by accident, but Mars Attacks is stupid on purpose! Though occasional flashes of Burton's odd, childlike brilliance break through, this film is fun mostly because of its constant special effects, glittery sets, and those great scenes featuring Sarah Jessica Parker's head stapled to a dog's body. On the down side, Jack Nicholson, in a dual role, is predictably annoying. --Richter

MICHAEL. Save your money--any redeeming aspect of this film can be seen in the previews. It's just plain bad. I think it was written in six days, and then they rested on the seventh and never got around to finishing it. It's supposed to be a heart-warming tale about two tabloid journalists and an "angel expert" who go off to Iowa in search of Michael, who's shacked up in a place called the Milk Bottle Motel. Michael, on the other hand, has presumably been sent to Earth to complete a few final miracles before being confined to Heaven, which apparently does not have sugar, for the rest of eternity. William Hurt (as always) looks pained throughout, but we can hardly blame him. Andie MacDowell also stars, in a reprisal of all the worst moments of Groundhog Day and Four Weddings and a Funeral. And the only amazing aspect of Travolta's performance is the amount of weight he gained (and lost) for the one scene in which he appears with his gut hanging low. If there's a shard of genuine emotion anywhere in this film, you'd need a miracle to find it. --Wadsworth

JACKIE CHAN'S FIRST STRIKE. The newest Jackie Chan vehicle takes our Hong Kong hero from the frozen tundra of Russia to the sandy beaches of the Australian coast on a quest to recapture a nuclear warhead and kick ass. This time around, Chan does less of the ballet-inspired, choreographed fight scenes and more traditional stunt work: high-speed crashes on snowboards, hand-to-hand combat in shark-infested aquariums, and crashing expensive cars through solid objects. It's a little more James Bond and a little less Kung-fu theatre, but the result is, as always, thoroughly entertaining. --Wadsworth

MOTHER. Albert Brook's latest film about a second-rate writer suffering a midlife crisis leaves the impression of being...well...sadly autobiographical. Following his second divorce, John (Brooks) leaves L.A. to move back in with his hypercritical mother in order to figure out why his relationships with women always end in disaster. Equal parts amusing and excruciating to watch, this self-indulgent sojourn in suburbia is certainly no Defending Your Life. Although he strikes certain aspects of the mother-child relationship with hilarious accuracy, the movie's attempts to take itself seriously invariably end with dramatic scenes that are at best sophomoric and at worst--like the last 10 minutes--flat-out embarrassing. Laura Weeks is wonderful as Mother, but brothers Brooks and Rob Morrow, and their annoying characters, should seek professional help. Mother is an odd movie. My companion summed it up best: You'll spend the better part of two hours laughing, then leave the theater saying, "That sucked." --Wadsworth

THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT. Milos Forman brings the infamous publisher of Hustler magazine to the big screen in this stylish, revisionist look at the life and times of the famously offensive man. Woody Harrelson makes an impish, likable Flynt, blending backwoods crudeness and little-boy charm with a crusader's lust for adult entertainment; and Courtney Love is even better as his overdressed, junkie wife. Together they take on Jerry Falwell, the Supreme Court, and the good taste of millions of Americans in this very funny, entertaining movie. --Richter

SHINE. A wonderful, uplifting movie about a child prodigy who is damaged, then saved, by his art. Based on the true life of pianist David Helfgott, Shine weaves together scenes from his extremely lousy childhood and his very eccentric adulthood. Geoffrey Rush is terrific as Helfgott, a man who's a mass of neurotic habits and annoying tics, but who can create beautiful music as well. Occasionally director Scott Hicks is a little too direct in his method--you can see certain events coming miles off, and he occasionally veers into the forbidden realm of sentimentality--but on the whole Shine is visually unusual and fresh. --Richter

TURBULENCE. This movie does for scheming-serial-killer-on-airplane flicks what Jaws IV did for scheming-shark-in-the-Bahamas flicks, with at least as much panache. A tiresome Ray Liotta and Lauren Holly showpiece, it gives its audience about a smidgen more than they might have expected: glitzy special effects, perky Holly in her skimpy airline-regulation negligée, suave and cunning Liotta throwing out feeble one-liners, and many, many plot holes. (For example, the flight is for about a dozen people, yet the airline utilizes a 747; at a loss of, say, about 600 seats, it's no wonder so many of them are filing for Chapter 11). There are many wincing moments during the course of the film, including Liotta's touching explanation of his craft: "First I started with squirrels and birds, then I moved on to cats and women." Lest your jones for the genre remains unfilled after Turbulence, you still have the soon-to-be-released Con Air to look forward to. We lead a charmed life. --Marchant

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