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December 12, 1984 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-12-12

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 12, 1984 - Page 7

A mixed bag

"" The Movies
The River and Starman
- - Y
- 2010 and Dune
L- l
b r
Ia- k
des The Cotton Club and Pinocchio ws
:-- 4 " A A S" - .


of hol
By Byron L. Bull
ONCE you're too old for toys,
about the only surprise to look
forward to at this holiday season are
the new film releases. Films are, if you
think about it, just big toys anyway.
They're flashy and expensive, and each1
year they seem to get more expensive
and more overhyped. Also, if you stop
to think about it, the toys and the films
that often look just amazing on the
commercials somehow often don't work.
This season sees the usual mixed bag
of mega budgeted spectacles and
smaller, more modest offerings. The
big budgf-ed monsters are the ones that
get all the advance hype, but, they
ironically often end up playing to empty
houses while the little inauspicious
films are the sleepers. Some of this
seasons releases have been anticipated,
others long dreaded, and there are
bound to be a few that were unexpected
that will be delightful surprises. Here's
a short, arbitrary glance at some of
the more interesting prospects, and an
educated guess of what to expect:
This is the toy everyone's been asking
for, Universal's lavishly ($46 million)
mounted filming of Frank Herbert,'s
long winded pulp epic that's turned into
a cult favorite. Dune has plenty of raw
epic elements, an immense desert
world for its setting, inhabited by mile-
long giant sandworms and mysterious
tribal bands, a magnificent battle at it's
climax, even if author Herbert bogged
much of it down in his tireless pon-
tificating about his mythological
religious and social structure.
The film was directed by David Lyn-
ch, the brilliant young surrealist pain-
ter turned filmmaker whose previous
works Eraserhead and The Elephant
Man were haunting, grotesquely
beautiful filmed dreams. Whether Lyn-
ch can grapple such a monumental,
unwieldy project and shape it to fit his
own personal vision (and Lynch is one
of the most brilliant artists in film
today) remains to be seen.
The biggest worry is producer Dino
De Laurentis, the movie mogul known
for some of the most expensive and ex-
cretable disasters in recent memory
(King Kong, Hurricane, Flash Gordon).
De Laurentis' contributions to Dune in-
clude firing John Dykstra and his
special effects crew so he could sub-
stitute his own cheaper, but less ex-
perienced help, and then signing the
pop band Toto to score the films soun-
dtrack. Also, the four hour plus direc-
tor's cut has been subsequently trim-
med down to a more easily marketable
(though asthetically mangled) two and
a half.
Early reports range from the merely
disappointed to the disastrous. Still,
given Lynch's unerasable signature on
it, even if Dune is a failure, it will be a
fascinating one.
The very idea of milkiing Stanley
Kubrick's sublime masterpiece 2001: A
Space Odyssey for a sequel seems
sacriligeous, but MGM's reigning lion

Frank Yablan's couldn't resist the The most interes
temptation to make a cheap buck even project is that i
if it meant raping a classic. horror/thriller spe
The film, based on Arthur Clarke's ter (Halloween,pC
stupefyingly bad novel (itself a lame at- ossedly downplay
tempt to squeeze a few more dollars out centrate on evokin
of his earlier collaboration with modern Spielberg
Kubrick) and directed by Peter Hyams, part 1940's styledi
is the sort of bad idea that few serious Initial reviews hav
film goers could contemplate with any couraging, but C
reaction but abhorrance. said to be very ne
Peter Hyams is the kind of mediocre mercial viability.
craftsman who can put a film together The Cotton Club
with some level of basic competence, Despite all the b
but never an inspired thought. His the runaway bu
work (Capricorn One, Outland, Star from $28 million to
chamber) is characteristically questionable cast
derivative (in a plagiaristic way) and Diane Lane), and
plagued by simplistic moral themes. penchant for fat a
Hyam's took this project under the he's rumored to ha
most strenuous conditions, having to go This extravaga
from first draft to final cut in less than ni htclub durin
sixteen months, a ridiculous deadline
for a picture of this nature (but a
deadline Yablans desperately needed
met so his studio wouldn't be left empty
handed come Christmas '84).
The result, as of a preview screening
several weeks ago, is a sluggish, wan-
dering bore, as pretentious as it is con-
fused. The narrative is basically an old
submarine melodrama, lost in space,
and hindered even more by sloppy
production values and crudely executed
visual effects.
The final product is so muddled and
depressingly murky that MGM will
have to recoup most of its investment in
the first couple of weekends (if they're
lucky) because the reviews and word of
mouth are going to kill it. They would T
hve been far better off re-issuing 2001 in Th
its original70mm format.
The River fourth 1
Director Mark Rydell (Cinderella "
Liberty, On Golden Pond) forges the HitC
mythicism and realism in the story of
an American rural family (Mel Gibson
and Sissy Spacek) who struggle to save
their ancestral farm from natural and Hitchhi
financial disasters.
This is the sort of film that could
easily degenerate by sliding into Arthur Dent a
wallowing sentiment or cheapen its a riotous and riv
characters by misguidedly canonizing thing you wanted
them. Rydell is said to slip here and Join Arthur in hi
there, but in the end maintains a pretty " What really ha;
honest tone throughout. " Why have all th
Conematography is by that poet with a The Washingto
camera, Vilmos Zsigmound. ... inspired lunac
Starman ond book was "i
This project, shepherded around by it as "one of the b
producer Michael Douglas from studio raved that his thi
to studio and director to director for Don't mis
five years now, seems a dubious
prospect. It's a softly played adven-
ture/romance about a stranded alien
(Jeff Bridges) who takes on the form ofe AND TH
a young widow's (Karen Allen) late AN TH
husband, and falls in love with her by Doug
knowing it's only a question of time
before the rescue ship arrives.

sting thing about the prohibition is said to be every bit
t was directed by dynamically theatrical and rousin
cialist John Carpen- entertaining as a Bob Fosse film. 1
Christine) who sup- may be just some token good pres.,
ys the action, to con- counterbalance all the earlier negat
,g a mood that's part hype, but then again Hollywood
gian ambiance and where miracles are supposed to h
romantic sweetness. pen.
ve been curiously en- Pinocchio
olumbia Pictures is This, oddly, may be the most uni
rvous about its com- and original offering of the bunch,
it's 44 years old. The years since
original release have done nothing
ad advance publicity, tarnish its simple charms, in f
dget (skyrocketing they've only given it a beaut
past $58 million), the nostalgic glow. One of the best fil
(Richard Gere and fantasies, and possibly Disne
d Coppla's notorious greatest film. This is also one of Ste
artist self-indulgence, Spielberg's major influences, wi
ave pulled this one off. Close Encounters is full of li
nt tale of a Harlem homages to it.
ng the heyday of


>s to
g to

book In
hhik r's Tilogy is
est entry since the original
ker's Guide to the Galaxy"
-Kirkus Reviews
nd the gang are back -in the fourth book in the Hitchhiker's Trilogy,
eting series with more than four-million copies in print. It's every-
d to know about the first three books, but never thought to ask.
ds quest to find out:
ppened the day the Earth was demolished?
:e dolphins vanished?
Final Message to His Creation?
n Post called Douglas Adams's first book "extremely funny
cy that leaves hardly a science-fiction cliche alive." His sec-
ighly recommended" by the Library Journal which praised
best pieces of science-fiction humor available." And Time
rd book was "like nothing ever published before."

Blas Adams $12.95, now at your bookstore



6'" -t-'. ," Tt - ':Fri' tt '., '. : "., r' T : " '. «4-r: T -r" '.'' T 'i < n ' . T


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, . " A

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