short takes (1)

Like many of the classic Walt Disney cartoons, The Fox and the Hound trades in sentiment that manages to be mushy and moving at the same time. The main characters begin as little pals, then grow up and find their mutual interests overcome by "professional" concerns -- to wit, the hound becomes a hunting dog, and thus the natural adversary of the fox. There's also a full-fledged villain, in the person of a crusty old trapper with a shotgun and a yen for for fur, and he is vanquished morally rather than physically, which is very much in the Disney tradition. The action is reasonably swift, though bogged down by unnecessary music at times, and the climax is frightening enough to stretch the limits of the G rating for the very youngest kids. In all, another excellently made, mildly imaginative fantasy from the studio that still sets the standard for family animation.

The Cannonball Run is such a silly movie it's embarrassing to talk about it. The star is Burt Reynolds, who also teamed with director Hal Need- ham for the surprisingly good "Hooper." But the actor and the filmmaker could have phoned this one in, with its weary string of car jokes and road gags. The story is about a cross-country race, with California as the goal, and cops and environmentalists as the spoilsports. There's some likable humor as Roger Moore spoofs his macho image and Dom De Louise cavorts around the edges of the plot. Mostly, though, the comedy is as lame as the action, and the performances match. This is a good one to steer away from.

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