Henry (Harrison Ford) is a typical bad father and no-good husband. An overworked, big-shot lawyer idolized by his co-workers (he's the money guy), he's hated by his wife (Annette Bening) and teenage daughter (Mikki Allen). Why? Well, as far as I can tell, when his daughter spills orange juice he's real strict in punishing her, he never holds his wife's hand in public, and he won't buy his daughter a puppy. The movie doesn't much show or explain this side of Henry's personality, so I guess it's a given that he's an all-around, self-obsessed, insensitive jerk. As these plots go, Henry needs to get his priorities straight; he's due for a knockdown, a comeuppance.
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Too bad that with plenty of raw material (notably Willem Dafoe as an American mercenary working in Columbia), Danger comes up awfully short. For starters, what is our CIA hero doing poking around in the Colubian drug trade? Sure, he's rooting out a huge conspiracy that goes all the way up the U.S. political ranks, but must we be subjected to endless Latino stereotypes en route to that? Clancy is always at his best when he's dealing with terrorists or Russians. Here we have a plot (nearly 2 1/2 hours in length) that trots out the usual exploding drug factories and endless cartel assassinations. Ryan's escape from a troublesome mission is infamous for the bad guys' repeated inability to hit a near-motionless target.
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Good movies about baseball make the game look like a lot of fun, sharing the enthusiasm and energy of the players. 61* doesn't do that. It does contain intense sequences of ball playing, but the main goal here is examining the overworked life a ballplayer must live in order to receive his short 15 minutes of fame. This movie allows us to take part in that experience, both positive and negative.
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In the vein of Jagged Edge and Basic Instinct (all Eszterhas movies, actually), we're kept guessing as to whether hedunit, only in Music Box, we couldn't care less. If the characters aren't speaking in thick, phony accents, they're speaking in foreign languages altogether -- through long, drawn-out courtroom scenes where immigrants reflect hazily on whether Armin's our man.
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The Evening Star picks up in 1988, and follows 8 more years of the further adventures of Aurora Greenwood's (Shirley MacLaine) über-dysfunctional extended family. Now, Emma's (Debra Winger in Terms) kids have grown up under Aurora's eye, and the jury's still out on how well she did. Their Aunt Patsy (Miranda Richardson) is now a wealthy divorcee who is constantly one-upping Aurora. The caustic Aurora finds brief happiness in the arms of a younger man (Bill Paxton). Rosie (Marion Ross) is still in Aurora's kitchen, and a whole horde of minor players weave in and out of the action, mainly serving to dredge up the past and to breathe some new life into the Endearment franchise.
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"Cookie's Fortune," an ode to the charms and afflictions of smalltown Southern life from superlative director Robert Altman, opens, appropriatelyenough, with a leisurely, cinematic stroll around Holly Springs, Miss.,introducing the players in what will become a sympathetic satire of DixieGothic manners and mores.
We see sheriff's deputies with nothing to do but drivearound shining their spotlights here and there and talking unceasinglyabout fishing. We meet purse-lipped old maid Camille Dixon (Glenn Close)as she tenaciously directs a rehearsal of Oscar Wilde's "Salome,"which she has rewritten as a church morality play. We meet her slow-witted,obedient sister Cora Duvall (Julianne Moore) who is frustrating Camillewith her strenuous over-acting as the play's wanton lead.
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