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On The Screen

HHHH:Excellent

HHH:Good

HH:Average

H:Poor

HHHH Dead Man Walking

Dead Man Walking, directed by Tim Robbins and starring Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon, addresses the death penalty issue unflinchingly and comprehensively. It follows convicted killer Matthew Poncelet (Penn) from the murders, through his several appeals, and finally to his execution in excruciating detail, escorted by his spiritual adviser, Sister Helen Prejean (Sarandon). Don't look to this movie for much action, adventure, or excitement. Rather, this emotionally brutal film challenges you to think about the issues surrounding the death penalty. You'll walk away from the theater with a profound sense of the tragedy that any murder is, whether it is committed by a person or by the government. And you will leave with a bitter sense of pity both for the original victims and the convicts on death row. -Audrey Wu. Friday at LSC.

H1/2 Escape From L.A.

Part action movie, part comedy, part something else that can't be identified. Escape from L.A. tries to be all of these and succeeds at none of them. The story is about Snake (Kurt Russell), a man who has committed major crimes in the new hyper-ethical future and is banished to the island of Los Angeles, now the holding area for all criminals (people who use profanity and have premarital sex). Snake is given an offer - a full pardon if he can retrieve from L.A. a dangerous high-tech device stolen from the president and now in the hands of a L.A. gang leader. Much of the humor is about L.A., as when Snake is taken captive by a plastic surgeon who wants to cut him up and use him for his parts. The film's weakest point is the lack of an interesting main character: Snake is unnecessarily raspy and does everything he can to look like a comic book character. -David V.Rodriguez. Sony Cheri.

HHH1/2 The Hunt for Red October

The Hunt for Red October is the first and best adaptation of a Tom Clancy novel. Alec Baldwin plays Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst thrown into action because he is the only one who believes that a nuclear submarine heading toward America isn't trying to start a war, but to defect. Sean Connery plays the Russian submarine captain. The film version has a few plot changes - which may annoy some - but in general, the film keeps the spirit of the book intact (unlike the film version of Clear and Present Danger, which was rewritten so that Ryan never touched a gun). -DVR. Sunday at LSC.

HHHH Trainspotting

Trainspotting tells the story of a group of Scottish heroin users. Already released in England, it has become the third-largest grossing British-made film and has received a large amount of criticism for not condemning heroin use. The story is told from the view of heroin users, without judgement, which makes the story feel completely genuine and totally fascinating. -DVR. Sony Nickelodeon.

H1/2 Twister

Not surprisingly, Twister's only redeeming quality is its stunning special effects. Considerably less effort was put into the drama side. After the first 10 minutes, an accurate outline of the story is obvious, and there isn't a unique plot element throughout. Helen Hunt is driven by a childhood trauma and hopes to someday conquer the force that killed her father; Bill Harding wants to get out of the storm-chasing business, even though his instincts are renowned and unmatched by anyone in the field. The visuals are good, but not good enough to carry the mediocre story. -A. Arif Husain. Saturday at LSC.

Copyright 19,95, The Tech. All rights reserved.
This story was published on 9/6/96.
Volume 116, Number 39.
This story appeared on page 6.

This article may be freely distributed electronically, provided it is distributed in its entirety and includes this notice, but may not be reprinted without the express written permission of The Tech. Write to archive@the-tech.mit.edu for additional details.