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Capsule Film 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. Worth seeing over 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 Senator Paiste (Gore Vidal) are a waste of money. The film's scathing indictment of candidates and campaigning in the era of entertainment is accurate, hilarious, and troubling. Loews Nickelodeon

* 1492: Conquest of Paradise

Director Ridley Scott's Columbus story tries to compress years of historical research into an entertaining film between two and three hours long and fails. There are many interesting and beatiful things to be found in the film, but they are hidden among blank stares from star Gerard Depardieu, lingering silences, unbelievable action, and confusing relationships that are never followed through to satisfying conclusions. The movie is very similar to Columbus' voyage itself -- long, confusing, and lost. Loews Charles

*** Husbands and Wives

Bleak and powerful, Woody Allen's new film examines the state of relationships today and decides that unending 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 well presented. The film properly balances a humorous and serious side, yielding a final product that is as meaningful as it is enjoyable to watch. Loews Harvard Square

*** 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 is filled with wonderful isolated moments that are filled with truthful familiarity. Loews Copley Place

*** 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 Charles

***1/2 The Tune

Animator Bill Plympton's first full length film, involving a young, struggling songwriter who is given a 47-minute deadline, is delightfully enjoyable thanks primarily to Plympton's award-winning animation and excellent music with songs representing different types of popular American genres. Occasionally, the movie clumsily uses material from previously released shorts by Plympton, but for the most part it offers consistent entertainment for both Plympton fans and newcomers. Coolidge Corner Theater

** Under Siege

Under Siege is a poorly written film that relies on violence rather than substance to be entertaining. Steven Seagal is Casey Ryback, an ex-Navy SEAL who is masquerading as a cook on the USS Missouri when a gang of hijackers (led by Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey) takes over the ship. Ryback must single-handedly eliminate all the bad guys and save the day. This turns into Ryback scouring the ship and coming up with new and creative ways to eliminate the enemy. The martial arts sequences are impressive and Tommy Lee Jones delivers a powerful performance as the mastermind terrorist, but the bad writing, evident in the incredibly weak female role and the lack of any interesting plot twist, ruins everything. Loews Fresh Pond

**1/2 Wind

Visually spectacular sailing sequences which start and end the film combine the drama of being in the America's Cup with the excitement of controlling the boats on the open seas. The movie fails between the two races, however. 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 Beacon Hill