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Freeze Frames

The Monitor Movie Guide

By David Sterritt and Staff Panel / July 7, 1995

JULY 7, 1995

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Movies containing violence (V), sexual situations (S), nudity (N), and profanity (P) are noted. Look for more guidance in our full reviews on the Arts pages.


David Sterritt Staff Panel Meaning

O\ O\ Forget it

u u Only if it's free

uu uu Maybe a matinee

uuu uuu Wait in line

uuuu uuuu See it twice

New Releases


u Kansas oil country is the setting for this low-key melodrama about a dissatisfied wife's relationship with a local worker who resembles a man she's seen in her dreams. Written, directed, and produced by newcomer Alex Graves, who coaxes a fair amount of cinematic value from his shoestring budget but doesn't make the story or characters as involving they might have been. (R) V P


uu Competently made, proudly old-fashioned retelling of the King Arthur story, focusing much of its attention on the romantic triangle involving love-smitten Arthur, his lovely bride Guinevere, and loyal but temptable Lancelot, the newest member of the Round Table gang. Sean Connery does the best acting as Arthur, but there's dandy chemistry between Richard Gere and Julia Ormond, and Gere swings a mean broadsword. Directed by Jerry Zucker. (PG-13) V


uu Oppressed and humiliated by the wealthy dowager who employs them, two young servants retreat into a private world of memory, fantasy, and animosity. Based on the events that inspired Jean Genet's provocative play ''The Maids,'' this serious but unsubtle drama uses incest and violence as metaphors for the evils bred by class privilege. The gifted cast includes Julie Walters as the employer and Joely Richardson and Jodhi May as the servants. Directed by Nancy Meckler. (Not rated) V S


uu A dangerous alien is on the loose in Los Angeles, and a team of monster-chasers has to track her down before she mates with an unsuspecting man and starts a whole new race of predators. The first 30 minutes are exciting, inventive, and witty, but the picture soon settles into a routine of chases, suspense, and gross-out scenes. Most surprising is its misogynistic tone, suggesting that strong women are still more feared than respected in Hollywood. Roger Donaldson directed. (R) V S N P

Currently in Release


uu A near-catastrophic NASA mission of 1970 is the subject of this fact-based drama about three astronauts who head for the moon, lose control of their expedition when an oxygen tank explodes, and refocus their attention on getting back to Earth in one piece. There's not much suspense, since audiences know the real-life incident ended safely, but director Ron Howard spins the story with enough gusto and gumption to make it reasonably entertaining. Tom Hanks heads a solid cast. (PG) P

uuuu Intriguing, instructive, glorious.


uu A young man visits his eccentric Arizona family, whose members include a high-pressure automobile dealer, a self-destructive woman with a gift for music, and an aging widow who can't think of anything but aviation. The cast is just as varied, with Johnny Depp and Jerry Lewis playing opposite Faye Dunaway and Lili Taylor, plus other famous faces in smaller roles. It's all barely held together by Bosnian filmmaker Emir Kusterica. (Not rated) V S N P


uu As usual, the Caped Crusader is less fun to watch than the villains he's chasing, especially the maniacal Riddler, played by Jim Carrey in a zany performance that's over the top even by his lofty standard. Tommy Lee Jones tries to match him as Two-Face, but quickly falls behind, and Nicole Kidman is fetching as a psychologist who tries to help our hero get in touch with his repressed memories. Directed by Joel Schumacher with occasional gestures toward social commentary, and enough spectacle to mask the movie's deep-down emptiness. (PG-13) V