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THE ARRIVAL - A NASA astronomer (Charlie Sheen) finds himself at the center of a conspiracy when he receives a transmission from deep space that his superiors (led by Ron Silver) choose to simply ignore. Lindsay Crouse co-stars in this sci-fi thriller. Reviewed in this section. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity, nudity). (Century 9, Cottonwood, Midvalley; Redwood, with "The Substitute"; South Towne, Trolley North, Trolley Square.) DRAGONHEART - Dennis Quaid is a knight who forms an alliance with a huge dragon named Draco (with the voice of Sean Connery) to overthrow an evil king in this fantasy-comedy-thriller, with special effects by the "Jurassic Park" team. Julie Christie co-stars. Reviewed in this section. PG-13 (violence, gore, vulgarity). (Century 9, Crossroads, Holladay, Midvalley, Reel, South Towne, Trolley North; Valley Vu, with "Sabrina.") EDDIE - Whoopi Goldberg is the title character, a limo driver and rabid New York Knicks fan who is chosen to be honorary coach for a night - and then is given the job for real by the team's new owner (Frank Langella). Promo materials call this one "Whoop Dreams." (Utah Jazz rookie center Greg Ostertag has a role as a Knicks player.) Reviewed in this section. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, very brief partial nudity). (Carmike 12, Gateway, Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Mr. Wrong"; Reel, Sandy Movies 9, Trolley Square, Villa.)


FROM DUSK TILL DAWN - * 1/2 - Gory crime melodrama meets gory horror, uneasily, in the latest from Quentin Tarantino ("Pulp Fiction"), who wrote the script and co-stars with George Clooney (TV's "E.R."). They play psycho brothers on a bloody crime spree who seek sanctuary in Mexico only to encounter a topless bar full of vampires. A few amusing ideas, but they're blown away in the service of glop-and-goo special effects. Yechh. R (violence, gore, nudity, profanity, vulgarity). (Tower, Friday and Saturday.) (Jan. 19, 1996)


THE POSTMAN (IL POSTINO) - * * * - Sweet, low-key Italian romantic comedy about an idealistic postman in a small village who is befriended by a famed South American poet in exile. Because the poet's romantic exploits are legendary, the postman seeks advice about approaching a vivacious woman in town whom he loves from afar. Nicely executed, a real treat for foreign-film fans. The film won an Oscar for its musical score. In Italian, with English subtitles. PG (mild vulgarity, violence). (Carmike 12.) (Sept. 15, 1995)


ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN 2 - * * - All dogs don't go to heaven in this so-so follow-up to Don Bluth's hit of seven years ago, and the devil (or one of his minions, anyway) is a cat! Conceived without Bluth's involvement, this sequel has weak animation and an even weaker story, as Charlie the German shepherd (voiced by Charlie Sheen instead of Burt Reynolds) returns to Earth to retrieve Gabriel's stolen horn. Forgettable songs don't help, but there are a few mildly amusing elements. G. (Valley Fair.) (March 29, 1996) BED OF ROSES - * * 1/2 - Despite its weaknesses and a tendency to forcibly thrust its cuteness on the audience, this sentimental romance has plenty of charm, with Mary Stuart Masterson quite good as a successful, upscale New York businesswoman with a dark, mysterious past, and Christian Slater as the stranger who woos her with flowers galore. Could have used more humor, though. PG (vulgarity). (Sugarhouse.) (Jan. 26, 1996) THE BIRDCAGE - * * 1/2 - Funny, but artificial Americanized adaptation of the hit French farce "La Cage aux Folles," about a gay couple (Robin Williams and Nathan Lane) posing as straight to fool the prospective, very conservative in-laws (Gene Hackman and Dianne Wiest) of the adult son they have raised together. Some wildly funny moments, but it's sluggish and falters in places. Quite faithful to the original film (and a half-hour longer). R (profanity, vulgarity, partial nudity, lewd art). (Redwood, with "The Craft"; South Towne, Trolley Square.) (March 8, 1996) BLACK SHEEP - * 1/2 - A dreadful misfire that attempts to recapture the success of "Tommy Boy," with Chris Farley as the title character, the younger brother of a Washington state gubernatorial candidate (Tim Matheson) who assigns David Spade to watch over him. Gross-out gags and juvenile one-liners abound, but very little that is funny. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity, drugs). (Redwood, with "Mission Impossible"; Valley Fair.) (Feb. 2, 1996) BROKEN ARROW - * * * 1/2 - This action-thriller boasts a very high "Wow!"-factor, with plenty of wild stunts and wonderfully choreographed action set-pieces by Chinese director John Woo (who stumbled with his first American film, Jean-Claude Van Damme's "Hard Target"). The high-profile cast includes John Travolta as a crazed Air Force pilot who steals a pair of nuclear bombs to hold America hostage and Christian Slater as his co-pilot, who performs Indiana Jones stunts as he tries to stop him. A real nail-biter. R (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Family Center, Kaysville, Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (Feb. 9, 1996) CELTIC PRIDE - * * - Juvenile comedy about a pair of rabid sports fans (Dan Aykroyd, Daniel Stern) who hope to clinch the chances of the Boston Celtics in the NBA Championship series by kidnapping the opposing team's flamboyant superstar player (Damon Wayans). The opposing team is the Utah Jazz, but only the uniforms are the real deal. Aykroyd and Stern, in recycled roles, have some energy, but Wayans seems to be sleepwalking. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Carmike 12, Cinemas 5; Redwood, with "Spy Hard.") (April 19, 1996) THE CRAFT - * 1/2 - Four Catholic high school girls experiment with witchcraft, conjure up magic beyond their wildest dreams and exact revenge on their campus enemies. But when one of them gets conscience pangs about the mayhem and killing, she must square off against another who is mad with power. A cross between "Carrie" and "The Witches of Eastwick," which starts off interestingly, but makes no effort to fill in plot holes or give the characters any dimension. R (violence, attempted rape, sex, profanity, vulgarity, racial epithets). (Carmike 12, Creekside, Midvalley; Redwood, with "The Birdcage"; Sandy 9, Trolley Corners.) (May 3, 1996) DEAD MAN WALKING - * * * * - Compelling, dramatically satisfying anti-death penalty film with a remarkably balanced view from writer-director Tim Robbins ("Bob Roberts"), based on the true story of a nun (played by Robbins' significant other, Susan Sarandon) who strikes up a tentative relationship with a death-row inmate (Sean Penn). Superb performances from the leads - and everyone else. Sarandon won the best actress Oscar for this role. R (violence, rape, profanity, racial epithets, brief nudity). (Sugarhouse.) (Feb. 2, 1996) DOWN PERISCOPE - * * 1/2 - This spoof of submarine thrillers takes its cue from the 1959 classic "Operation Petticoat," crossed with the anarchic spirit of "M*A*S*H," though it isn't nearly as accomplished as either. Still, despite the absence of any big-laugh set-pieces, there is a fairly steady stream of chuckles, highlighted by the capable cast, a mix of veterans and newcomers. Lauren Holly is wasted, however, as the lone woman among them, positioned as little more than a sex object. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, violence). (Valley Fair.) (March 1, 1996) EXECUTIVE DECISION - * * 1/2 - "Die Hard" on a passenger airliner, crossed with "Airport '75," believe it or not, resulting in a mixed bag - it's tense and suspenseful, but it's also pretty dumb. A hijacked 747 is boarded in the air by a special forces team, led by Steven Seagal (whose role is minor) but it's Kurt Russell, as an intelligence analyst, who leads the group in attempting to foil a plot by Middle Eastern terrorists who plan to bomb Washington, D.C. Oliver Platt, Halle Berry, Joe Morton and John Leguizamo co-star. R (violence, profanity). (Family Center; Redwood, with "Twister"; Sugarhouse.) (March 15, 1996) FARGO - * * * - Alternately hilarious and shocking, this film noir thriller with homey, domestic Midwest trappings is as eccentric and artful as anything the Coen Brothers have done. But think "Blood Simple," not "Raising Arizona." Character actress Frances McDormand (Joel Coen's wife) stars as a pregnant police chief up to her neck in her first homicide case after a local car salesman's kidnap scheme goes awry. A few missteps, but the dark satire is sharply drawn most of the way. R (violence, gore, sex, nudity, profanity). (Broadway.) (March 29, 1996) FLIPPER - * * 1/2 - The intelligent, crime-fighting dolphin gets a new '90s look in this rehash of the familiar story (filmed first as a pair of '60s movies, then two TV series), this time with Elijah Wood as a troubled teen who is sent to live with his fisherman uncle (Paul Hogan) in a tropical paradise. Amusing, if overly familiar family fare. PG (violence, profanity). (Carmike 12, Crossroads, Holladay, Midvalley, Sandy 9, Trolley North.) (May 17, 1996) HAPPY GILMORE - * * 1/2 - Crude, vulgar and wildly uneven - but with some hysterical scenes - this vehicle for "Saturday Night Live" vet Adam Sandler has him playing a pro-hocky wannabe who can't skate. So he switches to golf and finds he has an unbelievable 400-yard tee shot! The scene with Bob Barker knocking the stuffing out of Sandler is worth the price of admission, and Carl Weathers is also funny as a golf pro with an unlikely wooden hand. But a deadly, unfunny subplot about a nursing home should have been excised. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, profanity, partial nudity, sexual imagery). (Sugarhouse.) (Feb. 16, 1996) HEAVEN'S PRISONERS - * * 1/2 - Alec Baldwin is good (though his accent comes and goes) in this brooding thriller, playing a recovering alcoholic and former New Orleans cop who is thrust into a murder mystery, much to the chagrin of his long-suffering wife (Kelly Lynch). Nice supporting cast includes Mary Stuart Masterson as a stripper and former old flame, Eric Roberts as a local thug and former high school pal and Teri Hatcher, as Roberts' manipulative, femme fatale wife. Some nice moments, but it's packaged rather murkily with buckles under a misguided sense of self-importance. R (violence, nudity, profanity, drugs). (Trolley Square.) (May 17, 1996) HOMEWARD BOUND II: LOST IN SAN FRANCISCO - * * - Young children are the primary audience for this sequel to the earlier family film, based on "The Incredible Journey," with voice-over dialogue for the animals. Here, the two dogs, aging Shadow (voice of Ralph Waite) and peppy young Chance (Michael J. Fox), along with smart-aleck feline Sassy (Sally Field), try to find their way home when they become lost on the wrong side of the tracks in the Bay area. And along the way, Chance finds romance. G. (Murray, with "Muppet Treasure Island.") (March 8, 1996) JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH - * * * 1/2 - Wonderfully realized adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic children's book, with eye-popping animation and terrific vocal performances (by the likes of Richard Dreyfuss and Susan Sarandon) in the style and by the creators of "The Nightmare Before Christmas." A young boy escapes his unhappy life by sailing away on a giant peach (towed by 100 sea gulls) after being befriended by a spider, ladybug, glow worm, grasshopper and centipede, encountering unexpected adventures on the way to New York City. PG (violence, mild vulgarity). (Carmike 12, Cinemas 5, Creekside, Flick, Gateway.) (April 12, 1996) JANE EYRE - * * * - Lush, well-acted but aloof adaptation by Franco Zeffirelli ("Romeo and Juliet," TV's "Jesus of Nazareth") of Charlotte Bronte's frequently filmed classic, with Oscar-winner Anna Paquin ("The Piano") as young Jane, Charlotte Gainsbourg as the adult Jane and William Hurt as Rochester. Hurt is surprisingly good, Gainsbourg is too stoic, and the film is good but not great. PG (violence). (Exclusive, Broadway.) (April 26, 1996) JUMANJI - * * * - This kids movie is definitely not for little ones, but as a rambunctious action-comedy it's loads of fun. The plot has a pair of kids stumbling on the title board game, as they inadvertently endanger New Hampshire's ecosystem by unleasing exotic animals and a deadly virus. Think "Gremlins," with which this film shares a certain anarchic sensibility. PG (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Sandy Starships, Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (Dec. 15, 1995) LAST DANCE - * * - Sharon Stone (complete with "Nell"-style Southern accent) plays a killer on death row in an unspecified Southern state who committed her crimes as a teenager on drugs, and whose clemency hearing is being handled by a rookie rebel-without-a-cause lawyer (Rob Morrow) who strikes up a tentaive relationship with her. Not even close to the quality of "Dead Man Walking." Randy Quaid fares best as Morrow's cynical boss. R (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity, drugs). (Flick.) (May 3, 1996) MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - * * * - If you're looking for another "Twister"-like wild ride, this Tom Cruise vehicle is your E-ticket. But if you desire character dimension or a comprehensive storyline, look elsewhere. Cruise (who also co-produced) eschews the teamwork of the "Mission: Impossible" TV program, becoming a lone-wolf agent early on, which echoes James Bond more than the long-running show. (The film also deals a crooked hand to fans of the series with its treatment of a particular character.) But the action set-pieces are certainly worth your summer entertainment buck. PG-13 (violence, profanity). (Carmike 12, Century, Cottonwood, Flick, Gateway, Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Black Sheep"; Reel, Sandy 9.) (May 22, 1996) MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS - * * * - Formula, cliched storytelling gets a boost from several inspiring vignettes and a knockout central performance by Richard Dreyfuss as a high school music teacher who takes the job reluctantly, then, over the next three decades, learns the value of sharing his passion for music with others. Essentially a '90s music-oriented update of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips." PG (profanity). (Cinemas 5, Olympus, Sandy 9.) (Jan. 19, 1996) MR. WRONG - * 1/2 - TV sitcom star Ellen DeGeneres makes her big-screen debut with this creepy gender-switch sendup of "Fatal Attraction," with Bill Pullman as the demented one-night-stand who won't go away. The setup offers some laughs, but the uneasy blend of dark satire and sprightly comedy never comes together and the second half of the film heads rapidly downhill without a chuckle or smirk in sight. PG-13 (violence, sex, profanity, vulgarity). (Redwood, with "Eddie.") (Feb. 17, 1996) MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND - * * 1/2 - Cute, amusing Disney production reuniting Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang for an adaptatiuon of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic pirate yarn. And while it's not quite up there with "A Muppet Christmas Carol," it's not bad. Tim Curry is devious pirate Long John Silver - who has a lobster named Polly on his shoulder - and there are some good songs. But it plays like an elongated "Muppet Show" TV skit, with anachronistic asides and inside gags. G. (Murray, with "Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco.") OLIVER & COMPANY - * * * - Disney's 1988 animated feature, which places Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist" in a modern-day urban setting with animal characters, isn't the studio's most artistic effort, but it's still a lot of rip-roaring fun as Dodger the mutt (voiced by Billy Joel) takes Oliver the kitten under his paw and shows him how to live on the streets of Manhattan. Bette Midler and Cheech Marin steal the show as, respectively, a prissy poodle and a feisty chihuahua. G. (Cinemas 5, Olympus.) (March 29, 1996) ONCE UPON A TIME . . . WHEN WE WERE COLORED - * * * 1/2 - Heartwarming, emotional fulfilling character-driven coming-of-age drama, focuses in an episodic manner on a young boy growing up in povery-stricken "Colored Town," a shantytown in rural Mississippi from the late '40s to the early '60s. On the surface, it's about the black community being forced to confront the harsh realities of segregation. But it's also much more, embracing family and community love as a way of surviving and eventually overcoming hardship. PG (violence). (Exclusive, Broadway.) (May 17, 1996) THE PALLBEARER - * * - David Schwimmer (TV's "Friends") makes his big-screen starring debut in what starts off as a hilarious black comedy about a slacker who is asked to be a pallbearer and offer the eulogy at the funeral of an "old friend" he can't remember. But then it rapidly deteriorates, turning into a ripoff of "The Graduate," with Schwimmer romancing the dead man's mother (Barbara Hershey). Gwyneth Paltrow and Carol Kane co-star. PG-13 (violence, sex, profanity). (Olympus.) (May 3, 1996) PRIMAL FEAR - * 1/2 - Dreadful courtroom thriller, with Richard Gere as an arrogant Chicago attorney who courts headlines by defending an altar boy accused of brutally slaying a Catholic archbishop. Great cast (Alfre Woodard, Frances McDormand, John Mahoney) wasted in ridiculous, salacious story that gets worse as it goes along. R (violence, gore, sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity). (Carmike 12.) (April 3, 1996) THE QUEST - * * - Suprisingly watchable directing debut by martial arts star Jean-Claude Van Damme, which returns him to his kickboxing roots for an "Enter the Dragon" variation, as championship fighters from around the world gather in Tibet to do battle for a huge golden dragon. Roger Moore is fun as a pseudo-aristrocratic con artist with a sense of humor, but the film is little more than fights, fights, fights - and more fights. PG-13 (violence, profanity). (Carmike 12, Cinemas 5, Sandy 9.) (April 29, 1996) SABRINA - * * * - There's nothing wrong with the 1954 original, or its dream cast (Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden), but this smooth remake intelligently updates the right elements and boasts a talented '90s cast (Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond and talk-show host Greg Kinnear). Taken on its own terms, this is witty, charming, of the kind we don't often get anymore. The story is an unlikely romance as a chauffeur's daughter is pursued by a pair of wealthy brothers. PG (vulgarity, profanity). (Redwood, with "Dragonheart.") (Dec. 15, 1995) SENSE AND SENSIBILITY - * * * * - Emma Thompson delivers a marvelous central performance, and she won an Oscar for her screenplay adaptation of this delightful comic melodrama based on Jane Austen's novel. Thompson is one of two sisters (Kate Winslet plays the other) whose station in life has been reduced, and just when romance seems most likely, their suitors head for London. Charming, witty and unabashedly romantic. Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant co-star. PG (adult themes). (Avalon, Family Center, Kaysville, Sandy Starships, Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (Jan. 19, 1996) SGT. BILKO - * * * - Steve Martin delivers a terrific performance and is surrounded by a very funny ensemble supporting cast in this surprisingly winning adaptation of the old Phil Silvers TV sitcom. Martin is the bombastic stateside Army sergeant who has turned the motor pool into a casino and has more gambling schemes up his sleeve than aces. Dan Aykroyd is his befuddled commander and Phil Hartman is a nasty major who has a grudge against Bilko. Great fun. PG (profanity, vulgarity, violence). (Family Center, Kaysville, Sandcastle, Sandy Starships, Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (March 29, 1996)

SPY HARD - * 1/2 - Leslie Nielsen works hard in this James Bond-ish farce, mugging his way through myriad movie spoofs (from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" to "Speed") as Agent WD-40, battling evil Gen. Rancor (Andy Griffith), who seeks to rule the world. But most of it is setups without punchlines - the biggest laughs come during "Weird Al" Yankovic's hysterical music video under the opening credits; it's all downhill from there. PG-13 (violence, gore, sex, nudity, vulgarity). (Broadway, Century, Creekside, Gateway, Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Celtic Pride"; Reel, South Towne.) (May 24, 1996)

THE SUBSTITUTE - * 1/2 - Ridiculous mixture of "Rambo" and "Dangerous Minds," with Tom Berenger as a mercenary who poses as a substitute teacher in a tough Miami school to get revenge on the gang leader who had his teacher-girlfriend (Diane Venora) assaulted. Then he discovers the principal (Ernie Hudson) heads up a drug-trafficking ring that operates out of the school! The film's silliness escalates until the denouement, as the school is practically blown to smithereens by rival mercenary groups. R (violence, nudity, profanity, vulgarity, drugs). (Redwood, with "The Arrival"; Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (April 19, 1996)

TOY STORY - * * * * - Hilarious feature-length Disney cartoon - entirely animated by computers - about two toys, an old-fashioned pull-string cowboy (voiced by Tom Hanks) and a space-age action figure (Tim Allen), who become rivals for the affections of the boy who owns them. Packed with visual gags and witty one-liners, though the toys are treated reverentially. Charming and hysterically funny, and it moves so fast it seems to be half its 70-minute length. G. (Family Center, Kaysville, Sandcastle, Sandy Starships, Sugarhouse, Valley Fair.) (Nov. 22, 1995)

THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS & DOGS - * * - The stars are quite appealing in this attempt at old-fashioned romantic comedy - a variation on "Cyrano de Bergerac" - but the film is only sporadically funny. The story has an insecure radio talk-show host (Janeane Garofalo) asking her model-friend (Uma Thurman) to assume her identity when she's asked out by a caller. Garofalo and Thurman make a terrific team. (Be warned, there's a phone-sex scene seems awfully explicit for the PG-13 rating.) PG-13 (sex, profanity, vulgarity). (Broadway, Holladay, Midvalley, South Towne, Trolley North.) (April 26, 1996)

TWISTER - * * * - Forget the silly story and just go with the amazing special effects and the thrilling, ridiculously implausible "Indiana Jones"-style narrow escapes. This thriller from Steven Spielberg's production company stars Helen Hunt (at her most charming) and Bill Paxton, who lead a team of on a tornado chase, as they try to catch the biggest storm to hit Oklahoma in more than a half-century. Jan De Bont ("Speed") directed. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Century, Gateway, Holladay, Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Executive Decision"; Reel, South Towne, Trolley Corners.) (May 10, 1996)

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL - * * 1/2 - Although supposedly based on the book "Golden Girl," the tragic true story of network news anchor Jessica Savitch, this film is merely romantic pap, a fictional, simple-minded tale of a pretty young newscaster (Michelle Pfeiffer) who rises from gofer at a local Florida station to network star under the guiding hand of her older lover (Robert Redford), a veteran network newsman whose own star has faded. More like "Pygmalion" than "Broadcast News," but Redford and Pfeiffer prove that movie-star charisma can make an audience forgive the most ridiculous lapses in logic. PG-13 (sex, profanity, violence). (Carmike 12, Murray, Sandy 9.) (March 1, 1996)

WALLACE & GROMIT: THE BEST OF AARDMAN ANIMATION - * * * 1/2 - The Oscar-winning Wallace & Gromit clay-animated piece "A Close Shave" is the draw here, but this collection of shorts by British animators also features the Oscar-winning "Creature Comforts" and loads of other delightful TV shorts, music videos and commercials created in the Aardman studio's amazingly detailed clay animated style. Not rated, probable PG (mild violence, mild profanity). (Exclusive, Tower.) (May 17, 1996)

WHITE SQUALL - * * - Jeff Bridges is good in this true story of a sea captain and a group of teenage boys who set off on an eight-month Caribbean voyage in 1961 and find themselves shipwrecked when a freak storm strikes. And director Ridley Scott ("Alien," "Blade Runner," "Thelma & Louise") stages the storm terrifically. But the rest is dull, dull, dull - a sort of "Dead Poet Society" on the high seas. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity, sex, nudity). (Kaysville.) (Feb. 2, 1996)



Past movie reviews and capsules by Chris Hicks are available online. Search for MOVIES.