1. Archive


Hot Shots!

PG-13, 1991, 85 minutes, Fox, closed-captioned, $94.98.

Jim Abrahams' film skewers the synthetic pieties and tricked-up aerobatics of Top Gun, in the process sending up snippets of 9{ Weeks, Marathon Man, Rocky, Superman and Gone With the Wind. When Sean (Topper) Harley (Charlie Sheen) and his fellow jet jockeys roll over at Mach 2, cockpits are filled with candy wrappers and Garfield dolls. Hot Shots! is less manic than Naked Gun 2{, but it does "lay the groundwork for more sustained comic caricatures." Janet Maslin

Journey of Hope

PG, 1989, 115 minutes, HBO, Turkish, Italian and German with English subtitles, $92.99, LD, $29.98

Attracted by rumors of economic opportunity and mountain vistas he sees on postcards, Haydar sells his farm in Turkey and with his wife and 7-year-old son sets out for Switzerland. Once there, though, the family encounters problems at the border, necessitating a treacherous hike into the Alps.

One problem with Xavier Koller's film, which won an Oscar in 1991, is that it doesn't establish why the family left Turkey in the first place. What's left is sentiment and competent film making.

Vincent Canby

Regarding Henry

PG-13, 1991, 87 minutes, Paramount, closed-captioned, $34.95.

Shot in the head during a candy store holdup, Henry (Harrison Ford) wakes up and can't remember a thing. Out there in the haze is his wife, Sarah (Annette Bening), and his daughter (Mikki Allen), neither of them familiar.

Also to be thought out during the rehabilitation is the fact that in his prior life as a lawyer, Henry was a very nasty customer.

But here at least, thanks to the old redemption-as-result-of-accident routine, is the perfect chance to make amends. Mike Nichols' film is "cast with actors from the A list, dressed and designed like a fashion layout and written and directed with such skill that its essential banality is often disguised." Vincent Canby

The Rocketeer

PG-13, 1991, 109 minutes, Disney, closed-captioned, $94.95.

With its cast of characters, Joe Johnston's film has the makings of an Indiana Jones saga: dashing young Cliff (Bill Campbell) with the belching rocket contraption on his back, ever ready to commit suicide with a twinkle in his eye; swarthy Neville Sinclair (Timothy Dalton), film idol and closet Nazi who covets Cliff's flying machine for the fatherland; Cliff's sweet, vampy girlfriend (Jennifer Connelly).

Stir in the Mafia, Howard Hughes, stylish '30s settings and frantic chases. So why does everything fall so flat? One reason is that the movie is too cautiously derivative of others, with "everything it needs but a personality of its own." Janet Maslin

The Vanishing

No rating, 1991, 105 minutes, in Dutch and French with English subtitles, Fox Lorber, $89.95.

A casual pace, an often sunny manner and a nerd for a killer only add to the effectiveness of George Sluizer's film about a young woman's mysterious disappearance.

On vacation, Rex (Gene Bervoets) and Saskia (Johanna ter Steege) pull into a roadside rest stop. She goes off to get some sodas and never returns. Rex's three-year search becomes an obsession, but much of the rest of the film is a careful, fascinating study of Raymond, a meticulous chemistry professor and gruffly pleasant family man. Eventually Rex and Raymond meet as quiet malice and fatal curiosity mix in "a gripping Dutch psychological thriller." Janet Maslin

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