Dates in parentheses indicate a full review of the film in the Monitor.
GOLDENEYE - Pierce Brosnan makes his debut as 007 and shows that he is even more debonair and dashing than previous actors cast for this perennial role. In the engaging story, James Bond is given the "impossible" task of trying to save the world from a deadly satellite weapon. What's amazing about this film - as is usually the case with Bond films - is the way it blends action, drama, and breathtaking stunts. And what would a Bond movie be without a little romance mixed in? The stunts are slick and exciting, but high-speed chases and violence weaken the movie. Despite the heavy punches exchanged, Bond movies always deliver on one thing: The good guys always win. (MGM/UA Home Video, PG-13)
Lisa Leigh Parney
GET SHORTY - Unlike many comedies that overstate every bit of humor, this one - about a mob money-collector's escapades in Hollywood - elicits laughs in different ways. The dialogue is often funny, but requires careful listening to pick up all the jokes; and while there's some slapstick, more of the physical humor comes from the camera panning over incongruous objects. What viewers may not find funny, though, is a fair amount of profanity and several violent scenes. Still, the tight plot clips along entertainingly, led by the strong performances of John Travolta, Gene Hackman, and Danny DeVito. (R, MGM/UA Home Video, Oct. 27, 1995)
LEAVING LAS VEGAS - Nicolas Cage won an Oscar for his performance in this film about an alcoholic and a prostitute (Elisabeth Shue) whose paths cross on their respective descents into the dregs of society. But that is no reason to rent this film, filled as it is with graphic sex, violence, and abuse. The movie - which is richly filmed - does paint a starkly unappealing portrait of the life of two people unwilling or apparently unable to change course, and one hopes to find some sympathy for their plight. Instead, "Leaving Las Vegas" leaves viewers feeling hopeless. (R, MGM/UA Home Video)