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Whoopi Goldberg at the Top of the Rental Charts; 'Wisdom,' 'Duet for One' Among the New Releases

July 24, 1987|DENNIS HUNT | Times Staff Writer

The hottest star in home video right now is Whoopi Goldberg. She has two movies in the Top 10 of Billboard magazine's rental chart--Warners' "The Color Purple" (No. 4) and CBS-Fox's "Jumpin' Jack Flash" (No. 9).

Her remaining movie, Warner Video's "Burglar," a heist comedy set in San Francisco, is due out Sept. 16. Her co-star is Bobcat Goldthwait, who's also starring in another Warner comedy, "Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol," due Sept. 23.

HBO has scheduled "Hoosiers," the uplifting drama about an underdog basketball team, for Sept. 9 release. Gene Hackman and Barbara Hershey co-star.

Expect "Platoon," the box-office blockbuster and Oscar-winner for best picture, in October, also on HBO.

For the art-house crowd: CBS-Fox's "Betty Blue," directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix ("Diva"), and Key Video's "Waiting for the Moon," featuring Linda Hunt as Alice B. Toklas; "Betty Blue" is out Aug. 27 and "Moon" Sept. 10.

Gore lovers should mark Sept. 2 on their calendars. That's the release date of Vestron's bloody chiller, "Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn." This figures to be one of the biggest home-video horror hits of the year.

Next week: "Black Widow," "Deadtime Stories," "Hunk" and "The Kindred." The week of Aug. 2: "Nightmare on Elm Street 3," "Crocodile Dundee" and "Three Amigos."

Other August releases: "Native Son" (Aug. 12), "Bedroom Window" (Aug. 12), "Critical Condition" (Aug. 12), "Working Girls" (Aug. 12), "King Kong Lives" (Aug. 12) and "Brighton Beach Memoirs" (Aug. 13).

NEW RELEASES: Warners' "Wisdom" stars Demi Moore and Emilio Estevez--who also wrote and directed--as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde. Neither audiences nor critics cared much for this movie, which is hampered by Estevez's inexperience as a writer and director. He spends too much time setting up the characters and doesn't properly prepare you for their transformation.

Estevez plays an educated young man who's a bust in the job market because of a felony conviction. Desperate, he turns bank robber, with his loyal lover (Moore) as his accomplice. But they're kindly criminals who become national heroes because their bank jobs consist of destroying mortgage and loan records of debt-ridden families. If you can last through the slow first half, it turns into a fairly classy--and violent--action/thriller.

MGM/UA's "Duet for One," an expanded version of Tom Kempinski's two-character play, wasn't big box office either. Not too many people wanted to see a depressing drama about a famous violinist (Julie Andrews) who's battling multiple sclerosis. She takes most of her wrath out on her bewildered husband (Alan Bates) and her dour psychiatrist (May von Sydow). You get the feeling that director Andrei Konchalovsky has been watching too many of those old, bleak Ingmar Bergman movies.

Andrews, a skilled dramatic actress, got great notices and was hailed as being far superior to the material. But self-pitying, self-destructive heroines--no matter how skillfully portrayed--aren't too appealing. This is mostly for film buffs and devoted Andrews fans.

Vista's "Scene of the Crime" is an intriguing, low-key French thriller featuring one of the best performances of Catherine Deneuve's career. Few actresses are better at playing forlorn, weary heroines.

Initially, the central character is an obnoxious adolescent who's bullied into helping two escaped convicts. In cruise control at first, the film later moves into high gear when the focus shifts to the kid's mother (Deneuve), who becomes involved with one of the convicts. Some critics griped that the movie hinges on too many far-fetched coincidences and that the ending is too abrupt and unsatisfying. It's available dubbed or with subtitles.

IVE's "Meatballs III" is yet another leering, lowbrow comedy about the triumph of a nerd--a topic with great teen appeal. Sally Kellerman, as the porn movie queen who dies in the line of duty, lifts this one out of the ordinary. She's banned from heaven until she does a good deed--which is transforming the wimpy hero (Patrick Dempsey) into a tough, suave ladies' man.

You'll have to accept the premise that summer resorts are infested with good-looking, scantily clad teens who have nothing to do but party all day and night. The target audience should find this one good, raunchy fun but most adults will likely dismiss it as silly, sexist and sophomoric.

OLD MOVIES: In the 1958 romantic comedy "Houseboat" (Paramount, $29.95), Cary Grant is like a fish out of water, but that's part of the fun of this movie, which is basically a high-class sitcom. This time he's not a dapper playboy but a flustered widower trying to raise three smart-alecky kids on a houseboat. Meanwhile his sister-in-law (Martha Hyer) is chasing him while he's falling for the maid (Sophia Loren), who's really the daughter of a rich symphony conductor. In those days Loren was only lovely to look at; she hadn't yet developed her comic touch. It's the chemistry between Loren and Grant that keeps this one percolating.

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