The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1996)

BBB (out of 5) Beautifully animated but overly serious Disney film loosely based on the classic Victor Hugo novel. The Hunchback (voiced by Tom Hulce) is now a lovable, cuddly guy living at the top of a cathedral who offers help to the sexy Esmerelda (Demi Moore) when she inflames the passions of a sexually…

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The Mirror Has Two Faces

BBB (out of 5) Barbra Streisand spends two and a half hours trying to get Jeff Bridges to tell her she’s pretty. Should we care?  Actually, it’s a passable movie, easily enjoyable and lightly charming, but one whose central message is flawed and vain. Streisand plays a dorky Columbia University professor who answers an ad by skirt-chaser…

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Tin Cup

BBBB (out of 5) A burnt-out ex-pro golfer (Kevin Costner) is living quietly on a driving range until a new love interest (Rene Russo) shows up and gets him back into the swing of things.  Before he knows it he’s got himself in the major tournaments, ready to take on any champion who is willing…

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The Nutty Professor (1996)

BBBB (out of 5) Eddie Murphy  is brilliant in this hilarious remake of the Jerry Lewis classic. He plays a pleasingly plump university science professor who develops a potion that turns him into a svelt and sexy ladies man named Buddy Love, a man with razor-sharp wit and a talent for winning women over with a…

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A Time To Kill

BB.5 (out of 5) One of the most overproduced John Grisham film adaptations is taken from his first book.  It would be far too easy to point out the drawbacks of this dramatic debacle (overly long running time, deceptively simple political issues dressed up as complex themes), so we’ll concentrate on the positive: this was…

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Ridicule

BBB (out of 5) French take on Dangerous Liaisons that isn’t nearly as pointed or compelling. Charles Berling plays a newcomer to 18th-century France’s royal court who has no idea how much sharp wit is required to survive his peers. The members of this society value a quick tongue more than they do a quick sword…

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Michael Collins

BBB.5 (out of 5) Beautifully photographed biopic by Neil Jordan about the Irish hero who led fellow IRA members to a harsh battle against his country’s enemies, before being assassinated and reborn a legend who is still discussed by his compatriots to this day.  Liam Neeson makes an excellent Collins, an optimistic youth who became a…

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The Crucible

BBBB (out of 5) Terrific adaptation of Arthur Miller’s groundbreaking anti-Red Scare play has lost some of its momentum now that the double meaning of the story isn’t quite as potent, but still works thanks to director Nicholas Hytner’s not concentrating on the film’s more political content and just delivering good, solid drama. Daniel Day-Lewis is…

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Primal Fear

BBBB (out of 5) Excellent courtroom thriller will have you on the edge of your seat. When a prominent Chicago priest is murdered, a young Kentucky boy (Edward Norton) from the church’s orphanage is caught running away from the crime scene. Knowing this to be a high profile case and considering the victim was a…

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101 Dalmatians (1996)

BB (out of 5) Boring, unnecessarily heavy adaptation of the 1961 Disney classic animated film (which in turn was adapted from the novel by Dodie Smith) now has carefree dalmatian owner Jeff Daniels as a video game designer instead of a songwriter, and wife Joely Richardson as an employee in the fashion house of Cruella De…

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The Evening Star

BBB (out of 5) Although there are some high points in this sequel to 1983’s Oscar winning Terms Of Endearment, the elements of the original that didn’t survive to the sequel are sorely missing.  Shirley MacLaine is once again Texas matriarch Aurora Greenway who, following the death of her daughter Emma, has raised her three grandchildren with…

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Evita

BBBB (out of 5) Madonna couldn’t be better suited to playing the mysterious first lady of Argentina, whose life was cut short at the young age of 33 by cancer. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s magnificent musical score has been brought to the big screen with grandeur, and both Madonna and Antonio Banderas fill…

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