Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsFixme

Movie Spotlight

July 26, 1998|Kevin Thomas

Falling Down (KABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) finds Michael Douglas caught in the Mother of All Traffic Jams on the hottest day of the year in Los Angeles. With a scowl surgically planted on his face, he heads west toward the ocean, and on this Cook's tour of urban decay, he's passive no more. He is Everyman-turned-Terminator, wreaking vengeance for the slights of a lifetime on anyone who gets in his way. As written by Ebbe Roe Smith and directed by Joel Schumacher, this 1993 release is eager to have it both ways by calling attention to pressing urban problems while pandering to a mass audience. But it is entertaining.

The 1995 Angels and Insects (KCET Sunday at 10 p.m.) a 1995 release from an A.S Byatt story that aired recently, is an intriguing film with much to recommend it. It reflects Victorian conflicts between propriety and sensuality, between traditional beliefs and Darwinism. Mark Rylance, Kristin Scott Thomas and Patsy Kensit star. Directed by Philip Haas, "Angels" is physically remarkable and well-acted, especially by the always impressive Kristin Scott Thomas.

The Mark of Zorro (AMC early Tuesday at 3 a.m.) is the 1920 film that once and for all established Douglas Fairbanks Sr.'s stardom. In the timelessly entertaining Fred Niblo-directed production, Fairbanks plays the ubiquitous masked avenger during the reign of an oppressive 1820s California governor. An aristocrat supposedly newly arrived from Spain, Fairbanks affects a foppishness that infuriates leading lady Marguerite De La Motte. "Zorro" plays like a period "Superman" and reveals, in its concern for much-abused and exploited American Indians, an unexpected social conscience.

Jean-Claude Van Damme stars in Peter Hyams' taut 1994 science-fiction thriller, Timecop (NBC Saturday at 9 p.m.) The time is 2004 and a new law enforcement commission and its top agent Max Walker (Van Damme) are determined to bring to justice a band of criminals backed by a greedy U.S. Senator (Ron Silver), as they use a time travel device for evil purposes.

To Have and Have Not (KCET Saturday at 9 p.m.) features fishing and running refugees with the inimitable Harry Morgan (Humphrey Bogart). The first 15 minutes are pure Hemingway, straight from the novel. The rest is a reprise of "Casablanca," set in Martinique, filtered through the subtle sensibility of scenarist William Faulkner and the more laconic, suave one of director Howard Hawks. Hawks' direction is his very best: crisp, humane and full of humor. The marvelous cast is topped by Bogart and the 19-year-old, smoky-voiced ingenue with whom he fell in love, Lauren Bacall. Also on hand: Marcel Dalio, Hoagy Carmichael and Walter Brennan ("Was you ever bit by a dead bee?"). This is a great American movie.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|