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Capsule Screen Reviews

****: Excellent

***: Good

**: Mediocre

*: Poor

**** Blade Runner: The Director's Cut

The classic film Blade Runner celebrates its 10th anniversary with the release of the film director Ridley Scott originally wanted to make, without the annoying voice-over and the upbeat ending. The result is a wonderful, Kubrickian film with a meditative mood and a soaring Vangelis score. Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young give career performances in an apocalyptic urban nightmare of the future that was and may still be years ahead of its time. More worthwhile seeing than almost any "new" movie currently playing. Loews Nickelodeon

***1/2 Bob Roberts

Funny and disturbing, this satire of American politics written and directed by its star, Tim Robbins, uses a mock documentary style to chronicle the rise to power of the fictional Bob Roberts. Roberts is a right-wing entertainer, entrepreneur, and political candidate who has adopted folk singing as a medium for his conservative attitudes, and whose only clear beliefs are that individuals should be able to gain as much wealth as they can and that the liberal programs of incumbent Sen. Paiste (Gore Vidal) are a waste of money. The film's scathing indictment of candidates and campaigning in the era of entertainment is accurate and hilarious, but troubling. Loews Nickelodeon

**1/2 Captain Ron

Though genuinely funny, this film is poorly written and badly acted aside from Kurt Russell's performance as the title character. Captain Ron sails a boat belonging to Mr. Harvey (Martin Short) and his family from a remote Carribbean island to Florida where the boat is to be sold, encountering a few problems along the way. The characterization of the Captain is delightful, but the plot is mawkish and the supporting acting is awful. The amusing parts are truly funny, but what is left after the humor is badly done. Loews Copley Place

**** Howards End

The filmmaking trio of James Ivory, Ismail Merchant, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala have translated E. M. Forster's novel of class struggles in 20th-century England into a brilliant film that is an astonishing achievement. The screen is filled with contrasting elements such as the rich and the poor, the romantic and the pragmatic, and the urban and the pastoral. The alternately funny and moving story considers which group will ultimately inherit the nation. Anthony Hopkins, Helena Bonham Carter, and Samuel West are excellent, while Vanessa Redgrave and Emma Thompson are outstanding. Loews Charles

*** Husbands and Wives

Bleak and powerful, Woody Allen's new film examines the state of relationships today and decides that everlasting love is little more than a myth. Shot as a documentary, it follows the members of two marriages as they grow disillusioned with one another and begin to look for happiness elsewhere. Judy Davis gives a wonderfully neurotic comic performance, Sydney Pollack is amazing as a man full of frustration but still deserving pity, and Allen and Mia Farrow appear to be haunted by pain. The movie is occasionally funny, but it is more convincing when it dramatizes its characters' inabilities to find fulfillment. Loews Paris

**** School Ties

This is an amazing film dealing with anti-Semitism in the 1950's. Brendan Fraser delivers a powerful performance as David Greene, who is recruited from a poor town to play football for an elite preparatory school. David at first hides the fact that he is Jewish and fits in well with his new group of friends. When they find out that he is Jewish, each reacts differently. The movie examines different forms of prejudice in the actions of David's friends after their discovery. Overall, the acting is convincing, the story is feasible, and the moral is presented well. The film properly balances a humorous and serious side, yielding a final product that is as meaningful as it is enjoyable to watch. Loews Cheri

*** Singles

This light and entertaining film focuses on the struggles of six singles in their 20s as they try to understand love and relationships. Steve Cambell, Kyra Sedgwick, Bridget Fonda, and Matt Dillon are all good, the script by director Cameron Crowe is often extremely funny, and Seattle locations and music provide an interesting backdrop. Although it is not as realistic as Crowe's Say Anything, the movie contains wonderful isolated moments that are filled with truthful familiarity. Loews Cheri

*** Single White Female

Strong performances by both Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh and director Barbet Schroeder's interesting use of lighting and color to create a vividly sinister setting start the film off strongly, but the early promise is never followed through. The interesting but glaringly sexist premise is that recently single Fonda has a deep need for companionship and Leigh happily fills the void with a similar but dangerous desire for attention. Eventually formula takes over, but despite a few ridiculous implausibilities, the film remains effective. Loews Copley Place

**** Unforgiven

One of the better westerns ever made, David Webb People's story about a retired gunslinger (Clint Eastwood) who agrees to hunt down two men for reward money is a richly written deconstructionist work that relishes its elliptical morality. In this version of the west, "sheriffs" beat men to keep violence out of their towns, "villains" are remorseful for what they've done, "heroes" only feel alive when killing, and no one can be forgiven when no one can really define a sin. Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, and Richard Harris are all excellent, and Eastwood's direction has a slowly building pace that allows even the most minor characters and events to be embellished with fine detail. Loews Copley Place

**1/2 Wind

Visually spectacular sailing sequences at the beginning and end of the film combine the drama of being in the America's Cup with the excitement of controlling the boats on the open seas. What takes place between the two races are the true failing points of the movie, though. The plot is incoherent and the main characters, played by Matthew Modine and Jennifer Grey, are poorly developed. The story about attempts to reclaim the Cup has its charming moments, but overall it is never as convincing as the phenomenal racing scenes. Loews Charles