Movie Guide

The following summaries of current, widely shown films are provided to help readers plan what to see. If additional coverage of a film has appeared in the Monitor, the date of the article is given in italics after the summary. Inclusion of a movie does not imply Monitor endorsement. The Movie Guide appears on the first and third Thursdays of the month. AGAINST ALL ODDS - A pro football player gets mixed up with gamblers, crooked politicians, and a vanished heiress, among other denizens of this crowded melodrama, which takes its central relationship from a respected ''film noir'' of 1947 called ''Out of the Past.'' Directed by Taylor Hackford, who coaxes strong performances from most of the cast, but doesn't always know when to drop the overwritten dialogue and get on with the action. (Rated R; contains much vulgar language and some steamy sex.) March 1 AND THE SHIP SAILS ON - Another of Federico Fellini's wry metaphors for the human condition, set in 1914 on a ship full of musicians heading for an unusual funeral. Although the screenplay is often trite and silly, the images have a moody rhythm that partly redeems the colorful but very choppy voyage. (Rated PG; contains a little sexual innuendo.) BIG CHILL, THE - College friends from the '60s get together at a crony's funeral and find out how they have, or haven't, changed since their salad days. Written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan, who has a knack for comic scenes but doesn't always plumb the depths of the situations his characters wade through. (Rated R; contains vulgar language and a subplot about unmarried pregnancy.) Sept. 29, 1983 BROADWAY DANNY ROSE - Woody Allen wrote, directed, and stars in this crisp, funny, ultimately bittersweet comedy about a small-time talent agent who can't separate business from personal feelings, and bumbles into an adventure with a client's girlfriend and her weird acquaintances. A modest but thoroughly enjoyable romp. (Rated PG; contains a little vulgar language and sexual innuendo.) Feb. 9 CONFIDENTIALLY YOURS - The enormously talented Francois Truffaut mingles whodunit, comedy, romance, and melodrama in this affectionate tribute to life, love, and bygone movie styles. Originally called ''Vivement Dimanche,'' and starring Fanny Ardant as a strong-minded secretary who wants to clear her boss of the murders he's charged with. (Rated PG; contains some violence and sexual references.) Feb. 2 CHRISTINE - Standard horror story about a nerdy high-schooler who falls in love with a killer car. Based on a Stephen King novel and directed by shock specialist John Carpenter, who brings little verve to the predictable plot except for some carefully crafted scenes of teen-age life that recall his earlier ''Halloween.'' (Rated R; contains violence and vulgar language.) EL NORTE - Saga of a peasant brother and sister who flee oppression in their native Guatemala, only to find poverty in Mexico and new forms of hardship and servitude in California. Intelligently and resourcefully directed by Gregory Nava, though some of his storytelling strategies seem rather studied. (Not rated; contains violence and vulgar language.) March 1 ENTRE NOUS - Perceptive drama about two French women who forge a strong and loving friendship while fencing with family and personal problems. Directed with uncommon insight by Diane Kurys, who vividly paints not only specific characters but the deceptively complex moods and attitudes of the 1950s, when most of the action takes place. (Rated PG; contains some violence, nudity, and frank sexual talk.) FOOTLOOSE - In a small town where people think rock-and-roll is a synonym for sex, a teen-ager tries to organize a dance while romancing the preacher's daughter. John Lithgow's sensitive portrayal of the minister towers over everything else in the picture, which was slackly directed by Herbert Ross and contains some very silly production numbers. (Rated PG; contains vulgar language and talk about sex.) GORKY PARK - Plotty crime drama about a Soviet cop investigating a grisly triple murder with connections to the KGB and the international fur trade. Directed by Michael Apted, who keeps the action hopping at least for the first hour, and treats most of his Russian characters as reasonably whole human beings. (Rated R; contains some vulgar language, violence, and sex.) MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN, THE - Hollywood rehash of Francois Truffaut's dramatic comedy about a man so smitten with womankind that he can't settle for any one representative. Directed by Blake Edwards, who plays up the melancholy overtones as well as the farcical possibilities of the story. (Rated R; contains sex and vulgar language.) Dec. 29, 1983 NEVER CRY WOLF - A biologist travels above the Arctic Circle to study the ecological balance between wolves and caribou, and discovers new complexities in both his own nature and the animals he becomes increasingly fascinated with. Directed for Walt Disney Pictures by Carroll Ballard, but never reaches the sense of mystery and splendor that marked his earlier movie, ''The Black Stallion.'' (Rated PG; contains some earthy biological details.) Nov. 17, 1983 ONE MAN'S WAR - A resonant, intelligent ''documentary fiction'' that comments on issues of war and peace by juxtaposing French newsreel footage of the German occupation, contrasting musical pieces, and selections from the diary of a Nazi officer. Directed by Edgardo Cozarinsky, who has referred to it as a ''dialogue between found objects.'' (Not rated; contains some shots of wartime carnage.) REAR WINDOW - Reissue of Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 suspense classic about a snoopy photographer stuck in his apartment with a broken leg and his gradual realization that there's something, well, wrong in the building across the courtyard. Ingeniously conceived, grippingly directed, and gorgeously performed by James Stewart and Grace Kelly, whose rocky relationship provides a delicious romantic subplot. (Rated PG; contains a smidgen of sexual innuendo and some dialogue about gruesome doings.) Oct. 20, 1983 RIGHT STUFF, THE - A freewheeling account of the Mercury space project and the first seven astronauts. Big and lively, but lacking the intelligence, wit, and fierce irony of the Tom Wolfe book. (Rated PG; contains vulgar language and bathroom humor.) Oct. 25, 1983 SCARFACE - Nasty crime drama based vaguely on the old Howard Hawks classic, with Al Pacino as a Cuban cocaine dealer who hits the big time in Miami's underworld. Directed by Brian DePalma, who apparently considers ''money isn't everything'' an original message. (Rated R; contains violence, sex, and such rotten language that even one of the characters complains.) SILKWOOD - Meryl Streep gives a stunningly complex performance in this drama about a real-life union organizer who died in an unexplained auto accident after seeking evidence of dangerous corner-cutting at the nuclear equipment plant where she worked. Sensitively directed by Mike Nichols, but the screenplay is so bent on giving all sides of every issue that the drama gets badly diluted. (Rated R; contains vulgar language and a subplot about lesbians.) Jan. 5 STRANGE INVADERS - A likable throwback to science-fiction styles of the 1950s, featuring a mild-mannered professor who must rescue a town that's been taken over by spacepeople. Knowingly directed by Michael Laughlin, and far more clever than the recent ''Strange Behavior.'' (Rated PG; contains some yucky special effects.) SUDDEN IMPACT - Clint Eastwood and his most enduring character, policeman Dirty Harry, are no more subtle than usual in this loosely plotted excuse for mayhem. Directed by Eastwood with less imagination than he sometimes shows, and featuring Sondra Locke as the vengeful sister of a mentally disturbed rape victim. (Rated R; contains violence, sex, and vulgar language.) TERMS OF ENDEARMENT - There's not enough substance to support the sentiment of this longish comedy-drama about a young woman and her crusty middle-aged mother, which culminates in an episode of illness and death. Written and directed by James L. Brooks, who never settles into any aspect of his subject long enough to explore it thoroughly. (Rated PG; contains some vulgar language, sexual activity , and illness.) Dec. 22, 1983 THAT SINKING FEELING - Rootless teen-agers in a depressed city decide to enliven their lives with a heist in this ever-so-slightly-dark 1979 comedy by Bill Forsyth, the talented Scottish director who made this before ''Gregory's Girl'' and ''Local Hero.'' Minor and rough-edged, but has its moments. (Rated PG; contains a little vulgarity.) TO BE OR NOT TO BE - A remake of Ernst Lubitsch's 1942 comedy classic about a Polish stage company that outwits the Nazis. Since the original stands up brilliantly well, this is an unnecessary picture, but director Alan Johnson keeps it colorful and funny by staying close to his source and keeping star Mel Brooks under pretty firm control. (Rated PG; contains a little sexual innuendo and an exaggerated homosexual character.) Dec. 15, 1983 UNFAITHFULLY YOURS - Dark comedy about a symphony conductor who decides to kill his wife and dreams up a daft murder scheme during a concert. The performances are imaginative, and there are some clever gags before the plot gets happily resolved, but director Howard Zieff never finds the bite and sparkle of the original version of the movie, made in 1948 by comedy master Preston Sturges. (Rated PG; contains nudity and sex.) Feb. 16 VERTIGO - Reissue of Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 classic about the intertwining of memory and experience, with James Stewart as a troubled detective who becomes obsessively fascinated by a mysterious woman he's been asked to protect. Intelligently written, splendidly acted, directed with unerring grace, and generally one of the best movies ever made. (Rated PG; contains some violence and sexual innuendo.) YENTL - Romantic comedy-drama about a feisty young woman who disguises herself as a man in order to study and learn, pursuits forbidden to females in Eastern Europe around the turn of the century. Based on an Isaac Bashevis Singer story and capably directed by Barbra Streisand, who plays the title character with more conviction than energy. (Rated PG; contains a little sexual innuendo and seminudity.) Dec. 22, 1983

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