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On The Screen

HHHH: Excellent

HHH: Good

HH: Average

H: Poor

HHH Big

Tom Hanks gets the wish that every kid dreams: he gets to be big. Granted this wish by a magical carnival game, Hanks spends the next couple of months making inroads in the business world, becoming an instant success at the toy company where he is hired. But he isn't ready for the incredible competition and back-stabbing associated with this position. Nor is he ready to fall in love. -- Patrick Mahoney. LSC Saturday.

HH City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold

After the first City Slickers, this film is a disappointment. It is nowhere near as amusing as the first, and the actors (Billy Crystal, Jack Palance, and Daniel Stern) have lost the charm that they had in the original. Palance's character, Duke -- the twin brother of Curly -- is badly written and a poor attempt at recapturing the appeal that Curly had in the original film. Great cinematography and the addition of Jon Lovitz as Crystal's lazy brother each add a little to the film, but they aren't enough to save it from mediocrity. -- PM. Loews Copley Place.

HH The Cowboy Way

Pepper (Woody Harrelson) and Sonny (Keifer Sutherland) are two New Mexico cowboys who have been friends since they were young but have recently experienced a falling out. Now they are about to venture to the Big Apple to locate their friend Nacho (Joaquin Martinez) who went there to pick up his daughter. Harrelson and Sutherland are pitted against an evil crime lord Stark (Dylan McDermott) who runs several slave-labor houses for illegal immigrants. The film is entertaining, but the whole Pepper-Sonny quarrel is distracting and doesn't have a place in the movie. The Cowboy Way had the potential to be a hilarious comedy with cowboys in New York City but doesn't pursue that avenue. Instead it tries and fails to make itself "meaningful." -- PM. Loews Charles.

HH1/2 The Crow

This action film casts the late Brandon Lee as Eric Draven, a deceased musician who returns from the grave to exact revenge on his tormentors. By way of avenging the rape and murder of his girlfriend (on Halloween), he can finally achieve peace. However, his mission encounters a series of obstacles, namely a young girl whom he seeks to rescue from the dangers of the city, and the sadistic urban overlord/villain who proves to be a defiant match for Draven's supernatural immortality. It's tempting to try to like this film (almost too tempting, in fact), as the message of redemption is a truly sentimental one, and Lee's performance is impassioned as a mock angel of death. It also has a dark, Batman-influenced edge to most of its Gothic visuals, which is fine. In the end, though, the violence is far too excessive-even if it is expertly staged and exhilarating. Watching this film is emotionally draining, and although that may be a relief compared with the vacuousness of traditional summer movies, it's not a fun movie to watch. -- Scott Deskin. Loews Cinema 57

HHH Maverick

Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster star as poker players trying to raise the $25,000 entry fee for "the poker game of the century." Maverick features good bad-guys, bad good-guys, and smart women, and avoids all the typical stereo-types of standard westerns. It's a "politically correct" movie that fits easily into the western genre. Director Richard Donner masterfully keeps the plot one step in front of the audience, creating an unpredictable, hilarious, and thoroughly enjoyable film. -- PM. Loews Cheri

HHHH 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould

This film really is what the title says: a series of 32 films, ranging in length from 45 seconds to between 10 and 15 minutes. A brilliant pianist, the eccentric Gould was known for his insightful interpretations of J. S. Bach's music, and this film is full of Bach-like preludes and fugues, some subtle and some bold, but all fascinating. Styles vary as much as length; there are dramatized scenes from Gould's life, interviews with friends and relatives, and avant-garde clips that explore Gould's music through the cinematic art form. Some of these experimental pieces seem aimless, but the joy of sitting in a darkened theater listening to Gould playing Bach or Hindemith is more than enough to sustain these few moments of visual emptiness. This is as thorough an outline of a man's life as can be presented in two hours, and it is cleverly disguised as total fiction. At the end of the film, you will be surprised to find that in addition to having had a wonderful time, you have learned something. -- Ann Ames. Loews Copley Place