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Poster Boy Review


Grim
Poster Boy is an overwrought drama far more interested in making political points than in entertaining its audience. The story of an arch-conservative Senator whose reelection campaign is threatened by the potential outing of his estranged gay son, it's held together with a hard-to-accept mish-mash of coincidences, pontifications, and badly lit sex scenes, all shot with a shaky handheld camera that inspires more wooziness than urgency.

The obese and ugly North Carolina Senator Jack Kray (Michael Lerner) keeps his boozy wife (Karen Allen) on a very short leash and would do the same to his college student son Henry (Matt Newton) if Matt were still close enough. When they reunite on the eve of a speech that the Senator will deliver on Henry's campus, Henry is appalled to find out that father wants him to deliver a fawning introduction to dear old dad. When Henry balks, Dad simply smacks him in the face. Nice.

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The Last of Shiela Review


Excellent
The odd pair of Anthony Perkins and Stephen Sondheim wrote this underseen thriller, a whodunit that puts widower James Coburn on a boat with his old friends, one of whom may have accidentally run over his wife a year ago in an unsolved hit-and-run. Is Coburn's live-action mystery game a clever way to ferret out the killer? Or is something more mysterious at work here? The body count will nearly fill a hand before a few days on the yacht are up, but it's the impressive cast and twisty script that will keep you watching to see who gets it next... and who gets away with it all.

The Secret of My Success Review


Weak
Brantley is Whitfield, Whitfield is Brantley!? Does the fun ever start? This Michael J. Fox romantic comedy about mistaken identity in big business is awfully stupid, but at least it's fun-stupid, not stupid-stupid. Slater is about as bad as they come as the office slut who slept her way to the top, but it's small roles from the likes of Pankow and Gwynne that make this 90 minutes bearable.

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Review


OK
It's a silly gag -- Sherlock Holmes is addicted to cocaine and Watson tricks him into a visit with Sigmund Freud. Mysteries real and imagined ensue, with Siggy analyzing our messed-up hero while he investigates a rather tame kidnapping involving a snoozy Vanessa Redgrave. Only Alan Arkin and Robert Duvall -- both bizarrely cast as Freud and Watson, respectively -- make much of an impression. Still, it's quirky enough to have found a cult audience.

Pennies from Heaven Review


Excellent
From the start of his career, Steve Martin was eager to kill his image as the man with the arrow through his head, the wild and crazy guy, the Jerk. But in 1981, when he took on the lead role in this quirky, somber and elegant musical set in Great Depression Chicago, both critics and audiences balked. After a decade of tough-guy '70s flicks, a sepia-toned melodrama with strange casting - Christopher Walken dances! -- wasn't anybody's idea of a good time. Two decades after its flop, though, it's worth discovering, or re-discovering - a charming first glimpse of the gravitas that Martin fought hard for as an actor.

Martin plays Arthur, a down-on-his luck sheet-music salesman worn out by his loveless marriage to Joan (Jessica Harper) - loveless, in part, because his life with Joan can't match the fantasies produced by the lyrics he sells. Hitting the road, he meets Eileen (Bernadette Peters), a mousy but sweet school teacher. Together, they fall in love, and express that love in dance and song. Sort of: They're actually lip-synching to songs of the '30s, riffing on old music the same way that Martin would riff on old films less successfully a few years later in Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid. After Arthur gets cold feet about the relationship - not before dancing quite well - Eileen falls into the dastardly clutches of Tom (Walken), a pimp. It's Walken's performance that makes the film - a dowdy but charming tap-dance striptease to Cole Porter's "Let's Misbehave." With a pencil-thin mustache and a lecherous leer, he has all the fearfulness he showed in The Deer Hunter with a sophistication he never showed off often enough.

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