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On The Screen






If is one of the greatest movies from the period of the late 1960s and early 1970s, a time when a great movie came out nearly every week. It satirizes the pomposity, cruelty, and stupidity of an English boarding school (and through it the entire "military-industrial-political-educational establishment") and depicts an armed violent uprising as response to this system. But the romantic young revolutionaries who fight back are also a target for satire. Led by Mick Travers, played by Malcolm McDowell in his first and greatest role before A Clockwork Orange, three students first rebel in lighthearted ways but are cruelly punished by upperclass boys called whips. Escalation is the only answer. McDowell plays with total conviction a leader who will love you if you follow him and kill you if you spurn him. One of the most indelible cinematic images you will ever see is the climactic shot of him disappearing in a cloud of his own machine-gun smoke. -Stephen Brophy. LSC Friday Classic.

HHH Michael Collins

While it's not quite the equal of Lawrence of Arabia, Michael Collins is still one of the rare movies on an epic scale made with an intelligence powerful enough to control and shape it. Collins is known as the inventor of modern guerrilla warfare. He flashed across the firmament in the years just following World War I and accomplished the work of centuries - forcing the British out of Ireland - by the time he was 31 years old. Under the direction of Neil Jordan, Liam Neeson brings this complicated hero, often at war with himself, to vivid, emotional life. Ably assisted by Aidan Quinn, Stephen Rea, Alan Rickman, and even Julia Roberts, Neeson fills the role with an authority that justifies Collins' nickname, "The Big Fella." Jordan has done a masterful job of distilling the historical record and educating his audience about the Irish Revolution, but his insistence on constant movement - soaring camerawork, numerous scenes on moving vehicles, constant cross-cutting during climactic moments - can leave us feeling a little seasick. -SB. Sony Harvard Square.

HH The Nutty Professor

Eddie Murphy plays Sherman Klump, an overweight but pleasant professor who takes a drug to make himself thin, transforming himself into Buddy Love, his thinner, better looking, but totally obnoxious alter ego. As expected, Buddy goes wild, trying to satisfy all his cravings and striking back at those who made fun of him when he was fat. Although much of the humor is crude, as when Sherman's fat family gathers around the dinner table and has flatulence contests, The Nutty Professor has its moments. -David V. Rodriguez. Tomorrow at LSC.

HHH1/2 Palookaville

This charming little caper comedy opens with a jewelry store robbery that goes awry when the robbers find they've actually broken into the bakery next door to the jewelry store. From there we meet three young men with big dreams of breaking out of their stifling neighborhood but not quite enough brains and luck to match their dreams. The story follows them through the details of another attempted crime - an armored truck hijacking - to its comically ironic conclusion. In the process we meet families and friends and get to know an entire working class neighborhood. One of the funniest independent movies of the year. - SB. Sony Cheri.

HHH1/2 Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare for the MTV generation, Luhrmann's vision of Romeo and Juliet takes place in Verona Beach, Florida, an edgy urban war zone patrolled by helicopters and fought over by gun-toting, Hawaiian-shirt-wearing, punk Montagues against Latino Mafioso Capulets. Claire Danes is a luminous Juliet, dominating the center of the story with her glamorous but not always convincing co-star Leonardo di Caprio as Romeo. Luhrmann's staging is true to the spirit of Shakespeare's teen tragedy while delighting eye and ear with a cornucopia of images and songs. Pete Postlethwaite plays Friar Lawrence with considerably more gravity than is usually granted to the role, which also helps to balance some of the more giddy, Ken Russell-like effects. This is not Shakespeare for the ages, but for right now it's almost perfect. -SB. Sony Nickelodeon.