Daily Archives: April 7, 1995

Bad Boys

People who have Beverly Hills Cop and Miami Vice encoded in their nervous systems and are looking for restimulation may be amused by this formulaic sass machine and police procedural, but I was writhing in my seat. Martin Lawrence and Will Smith play undercover Miami buddy cops who briefly exchange identities while holding a witness (Tea Leoni) in a drug murder under wraps, and the banter is so heavy that the movie seems to be doing all your laughing for you. The cops never seem to know what they’re doing, but then neither do the filmmakers, though I can’t imagine that casual audiences will care since there are plenty of big explosions at the end to reward them. Directed by Michael Bay from a script by several hacks; with Tcheky Karyo and Theresa Randle. (JR) Read more

Elvis ’56

An excellent one-hour documentary (1987) that charts the pivotal year in the career of Elvis Presley when he went from being an obscure rockabilly/blues performer who drove a truck to a national icon with several gold records to his credit. Armed with fascinating archival footage and rare still photographs, Alan and Susan Raymond, who originally made this for cable, do a persuasive job of suggesting that, contrary to most versions of the all-American success myth, Elvis’s artistic freedom and the authenticity of his relationship with his audience dwindled as he became more and more rich and famous. Indeed, the shape and direction of his career as a whole can be discerned during his first year as a star–which went from southern dances to singing “Hound Dog” in a tux to a basset hound in a top hat on Steve Allen’s TV show. On the same program, the Raymonds’ documentary Sweet Home Chicago (1993) about the history of Chess Records, including footage of and interviews with Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Willie Dixon, Chuck Berry, and other blues performers. To be shown on video. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8, 7:00 and 9:15, and Sunday, April 9, 5:30 and 7:45, 281-4114 Read more

Don Juan DeMarco

A slight but charming parable with metaphysical undertones, this is a romantic comedy about a 21-year-old (Johnny Depp) who believes himself to be Don Juan. After threatening suicide, he’s arrested and turned over to a psychiatric clinic, where a doctor on the verge of retirement (Marlon Brando) takes over his case, falls under the spell of the youth’s imaginary past, and finds his own romantic feelings for his wife (Faye Dunaway) rejuvenated. This first feature by former novelist and psychologist Jeremy Leven has a fairly rudimentary mise en scene, but the actors take over the proceedings with aplomb, and Brando and Dunaway have the grace to turn much of the show over to Depp, who carries the burden with ease. Coproduced by Francis Ford Coppola. With Rachel Ticotin, Bob Dishy, Talisa Soto, Marita Geraghty, and Richard Sarafian. Ford City, Norridge, Old Orchard, Webster Place, Golf Glen, Lincoln Village, North Riverside, Water Tower. Read more