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'Ishtar' Leads Thanksgiving Releases; 'Outrageous Fortune' Film to Bank On

November 20, 1987|DENNIS HUNT | Times Staff Writer

The Thanksgiving weekend--one of the big family weekends of the year--is a bonanza for the home video rental market because so many people stay home and watch movies. They'll have a bunch of new ones from which to choose.

"Ishtar," the heavily hyped, super-expensive comedy starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman, should be the most popular new rental of the holiday weekend.

Warner Video's "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace"--a good family movie--is also debuting next week and is expected to do strong rental business. More family fare: Nelson Entertainment's "Burke and Wills," the Australian adventure, and Warner Video's offbeat "Ratboy."

But make sure the kiddies aren't around when you're screening Vestron's "Personal Services," about a British madam, and Academy's "Streetfight," a raunchy mixture of animation and live action.

Other releases next week: "Gardens of Stone," directed by Francis Ford Coppola, "Born of Fire" and "Delta Force Commando," starring Fred Williamson.

For the week of Dec. 6: "Roxanne," "The Secret of My Success," "Summer School," "House II," "The Wolf at the Door," "Eat the Peach," "The Gate" and "Masters of the Universe."

"Predator," the Arnold Schwarzenneger adventure that preceded "The Running Man," is due out on CBS-Fox on Jan. 21.

NEW RELEASES: Touchstone's "Outrageous Fortune," directed by Arthur Hiller, is the kind of action comedy that usually stars two guys. But this one features Bette Midler and Shelley Long. They play New York actresses who are opposites--a wise-cracking vulgarian (Midler) and a dainty, up-tight, upper-crust flake (Long). But in buddy movies, opposites attract.

When they discover they've been two-timed by the same smoothie (Peter Coyote), they join forces to track him down, involving them in an elaborate cross-country spy adventure. The movie is much funnier when they're sparring in New York, yet the charisma of the stars and maniac energy of their squabbling keep the movie afloat in the second half, when the preposterous plot twists continually threaten to sink it.

Nelson Entertainment's "The Whistle Blower," a downbeat, cerebral spy thriller about treachery, deceit and cover-ups in the British intelligence service, is reminiscent of a John le Carre tale. It takes a while to get going and when it does, it's more baffling than engrossing. When the son of an office-equipment salesman (Michael Caine) has an "accident," his father investigates. It turns out that the son, a disillusioned intelligence service linguist, is a pawn in an intricate, high-level plot that, when the movie's over, you still may not be able to figure out. Simon Langton, who directed the TV movie of le Carre's "Smiley's People," knows his way around British spy thrillers. The cast, particularly Caine and Sir John Gielgud, is exemplary.

Virgin Vision's "Deadline," starring Christopher Walken, was pummeled by critics, who took exception to its confused approach to the war in Beirut. Set in 1983, it's about an arrogant TV journalist (Walken) who's tricked into doing an interview with a PLO leader who turns out to be an imposter. In his effort to salvage his reputation, he gets caught up in the factionalist warfare. Strangely, leaders of the Israeli forces are presented as scholarly wimps. The only part of this movie, which was shot in Israel, that has a strong impact is the ending--the massacre at the Palestinian refugee camp.

CHARTS (Compiled by Billboard magazine) TOP VIDEOCASSETTES, RENTALS 1--"Lethal Weapon" (Warner Video).

2--"Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home" (Paramount).

3--"Angel Heart" (IVE).

4--"Tin Men" (Touchstone).

5--"Lady and the Tramp" (Disney).

6--"Blind Date" (RCA/Columbia).

7--"Mannequin" (Media).

8--"Raising Arizona" (CBS-Fox).

TOP VIDEOCASSETTES, SALES 1--"Lady and the Tramp" (Disney).

2--"Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home" (Paramount).

3--"An American Tail" (MCA).

4--"Crocodile Dundee" (Paramount).

5--"The Godfather" (Paramount).

6--"Callanetics" (MCA).

7--"Jane Fonda's Low Impact Aerobic Workout" (Lorimar).

8--"Yellow Submarine" (MGM/UA).

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