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** Humorous, uninspired, sad.Skip to next paragraph
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KANSAS CITY (R)
* Two interrelated stories set in Kansas City during the 1930s jazz age. In one, a white man botches his plan to rob a black tourist and enters the clutches of a threatening gangster. In the other, his wife kidnaps the spouse of a presidential adviser, hoping the powerful man's influence can save her husband. Robert Altman's film works less effectively as a drama than as an atmospheric visit to a bygone era, but there's lively music along with punchy acting by Harry Belafonte, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Miranda Richardson. Contains violence and profanity. V P
RENDEZVOUS IN PARIS (Not rated)
**** Three enchanting tales of youthful love and courtship, set against an exquisitely filmed backdrop of Parisian parks, cafes, studios, and museums. The delightfully diverting stories were written and directed by Eric Rohmer, a founding member of France's great New Wave group and still one of Europe's most skillful and sensitive filmmakers.
SMALL FACES (R)
* The setting is Glasgow in the late '60s, and the main characters are three young brothers who get into various tangles with friends, relatives, and members of a dangerous gang that both tempts and terrifies the youngest member of the family. The drama wanders a bit during its first half but develops real emotional power near the end. Directed by Gillies MacKinnon. V P N
TIN CUP (R)
* Kevin Costner plays a golf pro who's loaded with talent but hasn't got a disciplined bone in his body. Can he clean up his act and win the US Open, thereby impressing the psychologist he's fallen in love with and putting her present boyfriend - a conceited golf star - in his place? Ron Shelton's romantic comedy has no more visual excitement than a televised golf tournament, but the climax is truly surprising, and there's solid acting by Don Johnson and Cheech Marin. Contains profanity, sex, nudity, and a little violence. P S N V
THE WIFE (Not rated)
*** A long, sometimes-crazy evening with two psychotherapists and a troubled couple that's dropped in for dinner. All the characters are a few degrees out-of-kilter, but filmmaker Tom Noonan digs into their personalities with the same insight, humor, and compassion he showed in his previous picture, the excellent "What Happened Was ..." Wallace Shawn, Julie Hagerty, Karen Young, and the multitalented Noonan provide the splendid performances. P
Currently in Release
THE ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO (G)
**** The classic tale of a lonely man who carves a piece of wood into a marionette that comes to life and has many adventures before turning into a real boy. Martin Landau is a sturdy Geppetto and the animated Pinocchio is fun to watch, although the 1940 cartoon version from Walt Disney remains the story's best movie adaptation. Parents should be warned that the picture contains some frightening scenes that may be much too intense for young children. Steve Barron directed.
**** Heartwarming, magical, well-acted.
CELESTIAL CLOCKWORK (Not rated)
* A young Venezuelan woman leaves the altar on her wedding day and flees to Paris. There she dreams of becoming an opera star while sharing an apartment with four eccentric new friends, including a video artist who disapproves of her ambitions. Ariadna Gil gives a lively performance in Fina Torres's comedy. S N P
CHAIN REACTION (PG-13)
** Bright young physicist Keanu Reeves plays a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with CIA agent Morgan Freeman, who believes the world isn't quite ready for the plentiful new energy source our hero is cooking up. Hollywood blockbusters don't get much more discombobulated than this confused thriller, but Freeman is still a fine actor, and the nighttime shots of Chicago are an eyeful. Directed by Andrew Davis. V P