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On The Screen

HHHH: Excellent

HHH: Good

HH: Average

H: Poor

HH Batman Forever

Batman Forever, the third and latest film in the Batman series, is definitely boring. Director Joel Schumacher does a terrible job with this film. He tries to explain the background of the characters, showing the origins of both the Riddler and Robin. This amount of explanation, however, is inconsistent, as he virtually ignores the other major villain, Two-Face. The fight scenes were a bit cartoonish. Usually attacking one at a time practically in single file, the bad guys were trounced, while Batman showed the same amazing fighting skills formerly found only in the animated series. Batman Forever might be worth seeing, sometime. There's no rush, however, to see it in the theaters. Its name alone will keep it there a long time, and besides, if you really want to see Batman, find old reruns of Adam West, rent the movies with Michael Keaton, watch it on Saturday morning cartoons, or even watch for cable reruns of the original series. In any case, if you want a real superhero movie, try somewhere else, like Cabin Boy. -Rob Wagner. Sony Cheri.

HH1/2 While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping is a romantic comedy with a lot of classic scenes. Sandra Bullock plays Lucy, a lonely Chicago Transit Authority worker who falls in love with Peter, a nice guy who rides the train to work every day. She's waiting for the right opportunity to meet him when one day, she saves him from a speeding train. He's at the hospital in a coma, and through some misunderstandings, his family believes that she's his fiance. Then she meets Peter's brother, Jack, and the plot thickens. The film is entertaining because from the outset, the story and characters evolve in a likeable way. It isn't jaded or cynical; it's a funny love story that your younger siblings, your girl/boyfriend, or your parents can enjoy. -Kamal Swamidoss. Sony Copley Place.

HHH 1/2 Braveheart

Mel Gibson's Braveheart is a curious combination of historical legend and modern dramatic techniques woven together into a tapestry of connected stories. With the plot based loosely on Scotland's real-life attempt for independence from England and the screenplay straight from modern Hollywood, the three-hour show reminds one more of Lethal Weapon than Rob Roy. A Scottish commoner, William Wallace (Mel Gibson), returns to his native land after an education in continental Europe with his uncle. He yearns for an idyllic life on a farm with his childhood sweetheart and new wife, Murron (Catherine McCormack). His domestic bliss is shattered when British lords kill his beloved wife; in response, Wallace assembles his friends and neighboring clansmen into an army, burns the British forts and charges toward the English border. Braveheart increases its appeal by contrasting these highland goings-on with portrayals of British royalty, especially the powerful, evil King Edward I (Patrick McGoohan) The queen-to-be, Princess Isabelle (Sophie Marceau), is bored with her marriage to the king's homosexual son and becomes infatuated with Wallace in a distracting subplot. The battle scenes in Braveheart may be gruesome and a bit extreme, but the film as a whole is immensely satisfying. -Teresa Esser. Sony Nickelodeon.

HHH Crimson Tide

Tony Scott's latest action film (produced by the Simpson-Bruckheimer team behind his earlier Top Gun and Days of Thunder) stars Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman as a pair of feuding commanders on the U.S.S. Alabama, a submarine poised to deliver nuclear warheads to a Russian rebels who seize a missile base and put the world on the brink of World War III. Predictably, in the tradition of submarine films like The Hunt for Red October, the suspense factor is very high: The main characters are positioned for a face-off concerning a order to launch the missiles and an incomplete message which could possibly revoke the order. With Hackman as the hawkish commander and Washington as the idealistic lieutenant, the remainder of the plot details effortlessly fall into place; however, the film is so skillfully done, you don't mind being shown these situations again when you're enjoying the ride. -Scott Deskin. General Cinema Framingham.