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Batman (1989)
Justice is always darkest before the dawn.
Director: Tim Burton
Fantasy
Action
Crime

Batman must face his most ruthless nemesis when a deformed madman calling himself "The Joker" seizes control of Gotham's criminal underworld.

This Town Needs an Enema As with Gilliam, Tim Burton isn't a real filmmaker, rather a production designer with a quirky taste. He creates a feel and shoves in the usual elements of characters and story and such. But the idea is that the ‘feel' of...


Published January 21, 2024
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The Big Picture (1989)
Film school prepared Nick for everything... everything but Hollywood.
Director: Christopher Guest
Comedy
Romance

Hollywood beckons for recent film school grad Nick Chapman, who is out to capitalize on the momentum from his national award-winning student film. Studio executive Allen Habel seduces Nick with a dream deal to make his first feature, but once production gets rolling, corporate reality begins to intervene: Nick is unable to control a series of compromises to his high-minded vision, and it's all he can do to maintain his integrity in the midst of filmmaking chaos.

Guest Travels in Search of an Ironic Formula As the child of intelligent film critics, Guest was poised to start a career in midstream, already aware of the dominance of irony in film. He would go on to develop and shamelessly exploit a specific, detailed formula...


Published July 27, 2023
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Begotten (1989)
The Extraordinary First Film From The Director Of Shadow Of The Vampire
Director: E. Elias Merhige
Fantasy
Horror

Begotten is the creation myth brought to life, the story of no less than the violent death of God and the (re)birth of nature on a barren earth.

Anal Ears This film is about its voyage into our minds, and it gets more competent as the steps get closer to us. The least artful element is the actual acting and shooting. The selection and processing of images is very nice. In fact, I used...


Published June 30, 2023
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National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Yule crack up.
Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik
Comedy

It's Christmastime, and the Griswolds are preparing for a family seasonal celebration. But things never run smoothly for Clark, his wife Ellen, and their two kids. Clark's continual bad luck is worsened by his obnoxious family guests, but he manages to keep going, knowing that his Christmas bonus is due soon.

Shoot Me When I’m Dead John Hughes. What a sad case: is it drugs? He started his career with huge promise: he made films that showed he knew how to dramatise the teenage world without using teenage bluntness. These were sensitive little things that impressed not by...


Published June 29, 2023
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Poirot: The Adventure of the Clapham Cook (1989)

Fully Realized Over the years, I have written one tirade after another about Clive Exton, the adapter of Christie for many of these Poirot mysteries. He just doesn’t get the form, what makes the form of the detective story so captivating. What he does is substitute...


Published December 24, 2022
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Field of Dreams (1989)
All his life, Ray Kinsella was searching for his dreams. Then one day, his dreams came looking for him.
Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Drama
Fantasy

Ray Kinsella is an Iowa farmer who hears a mysterious voice telling him to turn his cornfield into a baseball diamond. He does, but the voice's directions don't stop -- even after the spirits of deceased ballplayers turn up to play.

Mann’s Book Odd how you remember movies. My memory is of the sickly sweet score and Costner’s obnoxious fawning manner. All that sentimental BS about baseball that is intended to trap the casual viewer. But in re-seeing this, I remember how very clever it is. It is...


Published November 26, 2022
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Rikyu (1989)
Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Drama

Late in the 1500s, an aging tea master teaches the way of tea to a headstrong Shogun. Through force of will and courageous fighting, Hideyoshi becomes Japan’s most powerful warlord, unifying the country.

Broken Black Bowl Film can be something thinly exploited for pleasure, or it can serve as tool for living. Many films span the two existences, but not this one. If you are looking for a way to amusingly spend time, this isn't for you. But if...


Published September 20, 2022
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Ten Little Indians (1989)
Director: Alan Birkinshaw
Crime
Thriller
Mystery

An unknown judge invites a guilty governess and others to a 1930s safari, for justice one by one.

Camp I think making a Christie film must be hard, because so seldom does it work. For me, the metric is very simple. We need to be allowed to speculate against multiple impossibilities. Many folks will be exposed for hidden, possibly relevant qualities. What makes Christie work...


Published September 11, 2022
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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
The man with the hat is back. And this time, he's bringing his Dad.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Adventure
Action

In 1938, an art collector appeals to eminent archaeologist Dr. Indiana Jones to embark on a search for the Holy Grail. Indy learns that a medieval historian has vanished while searching for it, and the missing man is his own father, Dr. Henry Jones Sr.. He sets out to rescue his father by following clues in the old man's notebook, which his father had mailed to him before he went missing. Indy arrives in Venice, where he enlists the help of a beautiful academic, Dr. Elsa Schneider, along with Marcus Brody and Sallah. Together they must stop the Nazis from recovering the power of eternal life and taking over the world!

The Penitent Man I had to come back to this, because I’m puzzled. I wonder what it is about Spielberg. It is easy to criticise his mawkish sentimentality and his theatrical sweeps. But I think it is more than that. After all, we happily tolerate that and...


Published May 21, 2022
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I, Madman (1989)
Lose Yourself in a Good Book.
Director: Tibor Takács
Horror
Thriller

A bookshop clerk starts seeing the disfigured killer from her favorite 1950s pulp novels come to life and start killing people around her.

The Misadventures of Margaret The setup here is a typical fold. An actress has a day job in a book store. She reads horror books and imagines herself in them. One day, she comes across an author who, when writing, had the story and real life...


Published May 16, 2022
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