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Freeze Frames

The Monitor Movie Guide

September 1, 1995



SEPTEMBER 1, 1995

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Movies containing violence (V), sexual situations (S), nudity (N), and profanity (P) are noted. Ratings and comments by the panel (blue stars) reflect the views of at least three Monitor staffers. Look for more guidance in our full reviews on the Arts pages.

EVALUATION SYMBOLS

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

JUPITER'S WIFE (Not Rated)

uu Michel Negroponte directed this highly personal documentary about a homeless woman he met in a New York park. The film has much to reveal about American society's attitudes toward people who march to their own drummers for reasons that may seem eccentric or obscure to others. The narration is simplistic at times, though, and the movie raises more questions about social issues than it's prepared to explore. P

MAGIC IN THE WATER (PG)

uu Orky is a sea monster who loves chocolate cookies, and while most folks in town don't believe he exists, he helps two kids develop a closer relationship with their workaholic dad during an unexpectedly adventure-filled vacation. Rick Stevenson directed this mildly entertaining fantasy. P

Currently in Release

u THE AMAZING PANDA ADVENTURE

A 10-year-old American boy, a product of divorce and shopping malls, visits his father in China and finds him too distracted to give him any attention. Despite beautiful scenery and sets, the adventure of finding a wounded panda and cub, and fighting off the poachers, is predictable and marred by bad dialogue. By Carol Hartman

u Disappointing, stilted; wooden acting.

APOLLO 13 (PG)

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 that includes Gary Sinise, Kevin Bacon, Ed Harris, and Bill Paxton in lead roles. P

uuuu Intriguing, instructive, glorious.

BABE (G)

uuu He's a pig who longs to be a sheepdog, to the consternation of his barnyard friends and the confusion of the humans who own him. The movie is at times raucous, but its spirits couldn't be higher, and the tale teaches a good-natured lesson about why cooperation is better than coercion. Best of all is the very funny climax, which should have grownups brushing away happy tears along with their kids. Directed by Chris Noonan.

uuu Hilarious, delightful, and appealing to adults.

THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB (PG)

uu A teenage girl renews her relationship with her estranged father (Peter Horton) while helping her friends run a backyard summer camp for little kids. The movie is fresh and friendly, but it doesn't have many surprises and the story sags at times. Based on Ann M. Martin's popular book series and directed by the multitalented Melanie Mayron.

BELLE DE JOUR (R)

uuu Catherine Deneuve plays a Paris homemaker whose boredom with everyday life leads her to become a prostitute in her spare time. Directed in 1967 by the great Spanish filmmaker Luis Bunuel, this French production contains many of the surrealistic touches that were his trademark, yet seems rather flat and obvious in comparison with his most imaginative works. Sacha Vierny did the radiant cinematography. V S N P

BEYOND RANGOON (R)

u On a trip to Burma in 1988, hoping to forget sad events in her recent past, an American woman finds herself running from murderous armed forces that oppose the country's student democracy movement. John Boorman's political adventure calls admirable attention to dissident Aung San Suu Kyi, a courageous foe of Burma's military dictatorship. But the movie puts more emphasis on endless chase scenes and jungle heroics, and Patricia Arquette's performance is terribly weak. V S P