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Review of the day for the week of September 21, 1998.

Monday:
Moscow on the Hudson

Moscow on the Hudson
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Moscow on the Hudson although engaging, is not a particularly remarkable film.

Robin Williams is a Russian circus performer who travels to New York to do a show. While he is shopping in Bloomingdale's, he decides to "defect", or escape from the KGB agents guarding him so he can stay in America. A kind black security guard offers him a place to stay, a Cuban lawyer scouting clients offers to help him become a citizen, and an Italian clerk is eager to start a romance with him. Soon he is writing home to tell his family about his wonderful new life - and he apparently forgets all about his old girlfriend, whom he planned to marry. In one funny scene, he writes, "I just bought my first pair of American shoes, made in Italy."

Williams' acting is certainly commendable, and the plot is original. Moscow on the Hudson stretched on a little too long though, and was rather obvious in some places.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Tuesday:
Izzy and Moe

Izzy and Moe is an older, amusing comedy starring Jackie Gleason and Art Carney.

They play Izzy and Moe, two lazy slobs who apparently have avoided actual work for most of their lives. Finally, Izzy decides to get a job for the sake of his daughters, who are embarrassed to tell their dates what their father does for a living - nothing. So he becomes a Prohibition agent, but he needs a partner.

Enter Moe, his old friend to whom he owes a lot of cash - and who refuses to speak to Izzy. When Moe declines to become a Prohibition agent, Izzy threatens to arrest him for drinking! Moe decides he'd like the job after all. Soon, they are the best Prohibition agents ever, devising clever ways to trap people.

Gleason's and Carney's terrific performances make Izzy and Moe an entertaining movie that's certainly worth renting for a few good laughs.

My Rating = Three Stars

Rent


Wednesday:
Rush Hour

Rush Hour
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The Jackie Chan film Rush Hour is a delightful mix of comedy and martial arts action, although a trifle too heavy on the latter.

Jackie Chan is Lee, a Chinese cop, who is brought to the States by his old friend, the Chinese Consulate. The Consulate's daughter had been kidnapped, and he wants Lee's help to return her home safely. However, FBI agents on the case want no interference from Lee, and enlist LAPD Officer Carter (Chris Tucker) to occupy Lee while they work on the case.

This doesn't work out too well. Carter does not enjoy "babysitting", and he can't seem to keep Lee out of trouble anyway - which results in hilarious mayhem. In one scene, Tucker explains that he's ashamed to work for the LAPD. "Even my mother's ashamed of me," he laments. "She tells everyone I'm a drug dealer." That just cracks you up.

So will many other scenes, although you may find your mind wandering a bit during the action sequences. For the most part, however, there's enough comedy to keep the movie going at a quick, laughable pace. Thanks to Chris Tucker, this is not strictly a movie for martial arts fans - anyone who likes to laugh will enjoy it.

My Rating = Three Stars

Rent


Thursday:
Brain Dead

Brain Dead
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While nicely acted by Bill Paxton, Brain Dead is a terribly confusing movie.

For a horror movie, Brain Dead doesn't make much sense. Paxton plays a brilliant brain surgeon - or something like that. He keeps brains in jars and does his little geeky scientist thing, until he is asked to operate on a mental patient.

It seems the patient, Halsey, was an accountant who calculated some "confidential" numbers, whatever that means, and has now become completely paranoid. His former employers think that if Paxton operates, he can fix whatever is wrong in Halsey's head. Paxton operates - quite successfully - but then he starts getting a little wacky himself.

The confusing part comes when Paxton begins having nightmares, and waking up, and experiencing more weird stuff, and having more nightmares. Soon you can't remember what really happened and what didn't. Although entertaining, Brain Dead is a bit too disorganized - it ends up looking like a nightmare you might have after trying to study biology while watching a horror movie.

My Rating = Two Stars

Rent


Friday:
Stones of Death

Stones of Death is a delightful, bloody horror film that takes place in England, so all the characters remind you of the Spice Girls when they talk.

Which is not to say they're annoying - they aren't, because they don't sing. They do quite a lot of screaming though!

Several kids who live on what used to be an old Aboriginal burial ground start having nightmares - and wake up with strange stones on their pillows. Whoever gets the stone, dies. One girl decides that she doesn't want it to kill her, and tries to figure out a way to stop the curse. It doesn't help that her father built the neighborhood over the burial ground!

Stones of Death is a more or less original concept, and proved to be an intriguing film. The acting was quite decent, as far as horror movies go. Stones of Death is no Scream but it'll do for a scare or two.

My Rating = Two Stars

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