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The Monitor Movie Guide

March 1, 1996

MARCH 1, 1996

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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 sometimes diverse views of at least three other viewers. Look for more guidance in our full reviews.


David Sterritt Monitor 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


uuu The bonds of a middle-class family are sorely tested when a teenage son is arrested for murder and his father destroys evidence that might be vital to the case. Ted Tally's screenplay is graceless at times, but thoughtful performances and low-key directing by Barbet Schroeder make the picture a vivid exploration of how complex and ambiguous ''family values'' can be in the real world. Liam Neeson and Meryl Streep are convincing as the parents. Edward Furlong stands out as the teenager and Alfred Molina provides a fine shot of energy as his lawyer. V P S


uuuu The life and career of actress Jean Seberg, from her debut as a 17-year-old star to her untimely death after many unsuccessful movies and harassment by the FBI for her left-wing political involvements. Mary Beth Hurt provides commentary as Seberg's on-screen alter ego, but the picture's real excitement comes from filmmaker Mark Rappaport's ingenious juxtapositions of clips and stills from an enormous variety of relevant movies. S N P V

THE NEON BIBLE (Not rated)

uuu A young Southern boy copes with challenges posed by his irresponsible father, his lonely mother, and an exotic aunt who comes to live with them. Based on John Kennedy Toole's sensitively written novel, Terence Davies's film is less a compelling story than an impressionistic journey through a troubled teenager's inner life. While earlier Davies films use gliding camera movements to evoke a sort of visual music, this one uses exquisitely framed images to create a more painterly effect. Gena Rowlands, newcomer Jacob Tierney, and Diana Scarwid lead the fine cast. V

TARGET (Not rated)

uuu In failing health after a life of excess, an upper-caste Indian landowner hires an untouchable servant to take his place in the hunting parties that are his favorite pastime. Directed by Sandip Ray from the last screenplay completed by his late father, master filmmaker Satyajit Ray, this vividly filmed drama is at once a gripping psychological fable and a thoughtful allegory on class stratification in contemporary India. V P

Currently in Release

ANGELS & INSECTS (Not rated)

uu In the late 19th century, a young naturalist moves into the luxurious home of a wealthy nature enthusiast, where he develops complex relationships with his new fiancee and a woman who's less beautiful but shares his interests and enthusiasms. Mark Rylance, Patsy Kensit, and Kristin Scott Thomas head the cast of Philip Haas's period drama, which is handsomely filmed but less involving than its varied material would lead one to expect. Contains explicit sexual material. S N V P


uuu Informative, very moving documentary on the life and times of the articulate Jewish girl whose diary, written while her family hid from Nazi genocide in an Amsterdam attic, has touched countless millions since it was published almost 50 years ago. Written and directed by Jon Blair. Contains explicit images of concentration-camp carnage. V

ANTONIA'S LINE (Not rated)

uu A strong-willed woman returns to her ancestral home in the Netherlands after World War II and sets up an unusual household, run by and for the females of the family. Directed by Dutch filmmaker Marleen Gorris, known for her longtime interest in gender and sexuality, this feminist fable would be more effective if the male characters were well-rounded human beings instead of two-dimensional symbols who'd be more at home in a medieval morality play. Contains violence as well as sexual and homosexual activity. S N V P