Donald Moffat

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Love, Cheat & Steal Review


Terrible
Vintage Eric Roberts, as he turns in yet another run-of-the-mill psycho hell-bent on revenge when his old girlfriend sets him up and lands him in jail. His ex (Mädchen Amick) has since put on a sweet face and married a rich guy (John Lithgow, for Pete's sake!)... but when Roberts is finally freed, he pays her a visit to settle the score. Predominantly crap.

Regarding Henry Review


Weak
Regarding Henry is a sappy three-hankie weeper masquerading as an updated and hip story about a yuppie struggling to find his inner child. That's not much of a choice for any movie to offer. Released in 1991 as a heartwarming, Hollywood tearjerker, writer Jeffrey Abrams and director Mike Nichols seem to have consciously removed the basic passions from that classic genre by recycling a load of sentimental plots, piling on the mushy scenes, and handing out a conventional TV-movie-of-the-week.

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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Clear And Present Danger Review


OK
Jack Ryan returns for a third outing in Clear and Present Danger, reuniting Harrison Ford's Ryan with director Phillip Noyce, who also directed Ford-as-Ryan in Patriot Games.

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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61* Review


Excellent
Billy Crystal's 61* explains why baseball is more than a sport -- it's a legacy. I've always seen sports as simple games people play. Sure, those guys out there on the field have talent, but why do athletes get paid more than doctors, teachers, and scientists? Do teachers spend a large portion of their lives hundreds of miles apart from their loving family? Other professions are indeed more important, but seldom do they get this stressful or demanding. Now I have a new appreciation for baseball and sports alike.

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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Music Box (1989) Review


Weak
Is daddy really a Nazi living under an assumed identity in America? In this impressively stupid collaboration between Costa-Gavras and Joe Eszterhas (you will not find a more unlikely pair since Oscar and Felix) we have to wait almost two hours to find out if Armin Mueller-Stahl is indeed the monster he's accused of being or if it's a Commie plot. The catch? Daughter Jessica Lange is defending him at a Nuremburg-style trial.

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 Thing Review


Very Good
John Carpenter made one of his better films back in 1982 but had the unfortunate bad luck to have to release it two weeks after E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial came out. Luckily, The Thing endures as a very good horror flick: genuinely scary and full of tension, and populated by one bad-ass monster. Russell does some good work as the star, but it's the supporting cast that set the pace for dozens of trapped-with-a-monster knockoffs to follow over the next 20 years.

The Evening Star Review


Weak
What could be more foul than having your ashes spread over the beach of the horribly polluted Gulf of Mexico? Well, maybe having to sit through The Evening Star, the long-awaited tearjerky sequel to Terms of Endearment.

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.

Continue reading: The Evening Star Review

Cookie's Fortune Review


Excellent

"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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Donald Moffat Movies

61* Movie Review

61* Movie Review

Billy Crystal's 61* explains why baseball is more than a sport -- it's a legacy....

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Cookie's Fortune Movie Review

Cookie's Fortune Movie Review

"Cookie's Fortune," an ode to the charms and afflictions of smalltown Southern life from superlative...

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