1989

[5.5] When it was William Shatner’s turn to spearhead a Star Trek movie, he wanted it to be about a search for God in which God turned out to be the Devil. The studio let him have his way, and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier ended up under-performing during the crowded summer of 1989 (when Batman and Indiana Jones slayed at the box office). …

[6.5] Freddy’s franchise continues with this installment directed by Stephen Hopkins (The Ghost and the Darkness, Predator 2). Alice (returning player Lisa Wilcox) is pregnant, and Freddy (Robert Englund) finds a way to kill again through her unborn baby’s dreams. To stop him this time, Alice and her dwindling number of friends must free the spirit of Freddy’s birth mother so she can help put …

[5.0] Kris Kristofferson and Cheryl Ladd star in this sci-fi yarn about people from the future who travel into the past to kidnap the passengers of doomed plane crashes right before they die. When Kristofferson, a plane crash investigator, discovers future technology among the wreckage of a recent flight, the future sends a woman (Ladd) to intervene… and the two fall in love. Millennium is …

[7.5] Christmas is coming and Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) is determined to have the best old-time family holiday gathering ever, complete with an amazing house lighting display, the biggest Christmas tree ever, and extended family filling the house with Christmas spirit. Of course, nothing goes according to plan. That’s the point of the Vacation movies — to watch things blow up in Chevy Chase’s face …

[7.0] The sequel is more of the same, but that’s not always a bad thing. There’s enough talent in front of and behind the cameras in the Lethal Weapon movies to warrant at least one or two entertaining sequels. The plot is a bit less compelling, and the love story with Patsy Kensit is haphazardly tacked on, but there’s plenty of action and fun banter …

[8.0] Aussie director Philip Noyce (Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger) spins a Hitchcockian yarn based on a novel by Charles Williams. Dead Calm is a solid thriller that takes place almost entirely on the open waters of the Pacific. Sam Neill and Nicole Kidman play a couple trying to overcome the loss of their child, when up to their boat rows beautiful but psychotic …

[6.5] As the sequel to an almost perfect film, Back to the Future: Part II naturally comes up short. While it lacks the heart and coherence of the first film, it’s wild with ideas and invention, both on screen and behind the scenes. The plot is twisted, thrusting Doc Brown and Marty into the year 2015, then to an apocalyptic alter-1985, and finally back to …

[5.5] Don Bluth’s films (The Land Before Time, The Secret of NIMH) tend to be too mature for children and too immature for adults. Consider All Dogs Go to Heaven, where one moment you have cutsey critters singing a cringe-worthy song about sharing, and then you have a dog literally escaping hell to say goodbye to the little orphan girl he betrayed. At least All …

[5.5] Licence to Kill is the anti-Bond. Timothy Dalton is out for revenge in this one (his second and final outingĀ in the role), and the performance is desperately missing the character’s trademark nonchalance. Without it, it just isn’t Bond. It’s one of a number of generic 80s action flicks fueled by revenge, centered around the drug trade, full of explosions, and scored by Michael Kamen …

[8.0] As unnecessary sequels go, The Fly II is far, far better than it has any right to be. I think the fact that Shawshank Redemption director Frank Darabont co-wrote the screenplay has something to do with it. The film is more of a standard monster movie than Cronenberg’s 1986 version, especially after the mid-point, where director Chris Walas (who won an Oscar for effects …

1 2