SNEAKS ’95 : Spring

Spring is now Hollywood’s favorite season for a quirky breakaway hit. Pay close attention to “A Walk in the Clouds,” the follow-up film by “Like Water for Chocolate” director Alfonso Arau, starring Keanu Reeves; “Tank Girl,” with Lori Petty playing the gonzo comic book heroine; Merchant Ivory’s study of Thomas Jefferson, “Jefferson in Paris,” with Nick Nolte in the title role; David Caruso’s first starring role, “Kiss of Death,” and Michelle Pfeiffer as an inner-city teacher in “My Posse Don’t Do Homework.”

Amateur. Isabelle Huppert and Martin Donovan star as a nun-turned-erotica-writer and a criminal amnesiac who cross paths with a notorious porno actress. Directed by Hal Hartley. (Sony Pictures Classics)

Bad Boys. Once nearly produced with Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz, this film now stars Martin Lawrence and Will Smith as detectives who are in too deep when $100 million in confiscated heroin disappears. (Columbia)

Bar Girls. Nancy Allison Wolfe stars in a story of eight lesbians who find their lives intersecting at a local bar. Actress, rookie cop, straights and gays alike get caught up in amorous entanglements. (Orion Classics)


The Basketball Diaries. Jim Carroll’s autobiographical cult classic stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the Catholic New York junkie and basketball star. Crime. Fast breaks. Needles. Foul shots. Sex. It’s all here. (New Line)

Blue in the Face. Wayne Wang (“Joy Luck Club”) shot improvised “vignettes” in a cigar shop and a betting parlor during the production of “Smoke.” Among those appearing: Roseanne, Lily Tomlin, Michael J. Fox, Madonna and Lou Reed. (Miramax)

Born to Be Wild. Helen Shaver and Peter Boyle star in this story of Katie, a young gorilla who communicates through sign language. When a teen-age boy thinks her incarceration is inhumane, he works to help restore her to the wild. (Warner Bros.)

Bulletproof Heart. Hardened hit man Anthony LaPaglia finds himself in a fix when he falls for his intended target, the mysterious Mimi Rogers. (Keystone)


Bye Bye Love. Three divorced dads--Matthew Modine, Paul Reiser and Randy Quaid--experience a weekend with the kids that will change their lives. Rob Reiner co-stars. (Fox)

Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh. Tony Todd plays a black man who dared to love a white woman and was murdered by a berserk mob back in 1890. In this sequel, set in present-day New Orleans, he returns to settle the score. (Gramercy)

Circle of Friends. When three small-town Irish girls descend on a Dublin college, they immediately hone in on handsome, popular American Chris O’Donnell. (Savoy)

The Crossing Guard. Jack Nicholson stars for director-writer Sean Penn as a middle-aged jeweler who’s spent more time at strip joints than he’d care to talk about. David Morse has spent as many years behind bars. Soon these two will collide in a violent way. Anjelica Huston and Robin Wright co-star. (Miramax)


The Cure. Peter Horton directs Joseph Mazzello as an 11-year-old who has contracted AIDS via a transfusion. When the boy’s condition worsens, he and a pal embark on a journey to find a cure. (Universal)

Dolores Claiborne. This Stephen King tale concerns a New York journalist (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who is ready to break a big story when her mother (Kathy Bates) is accused of murdering her boss, a wealthy society woman. David Strathairn co-stars for director Taylor Hackford. (Columbia)

Don Juan DeMarco. Marlon Brando sightings are rare, but here he reveals himself as a psychiatrist on the verge of retirement who encounters a most unusual patient. It’s Johnny Depp, who may just be the actual reincarnation of the title’s legendary lover. Faye Dunaway co-stars. (New Line)

Dr. Jekyll & Ms. Hyde. Tim Daly from “Wings” plays the great-grandson of the original Dr. Jekyll and stumbles upon that fateful potion. The frightening twist is that when he samples it, he turns into Sean Young. (Savoy)


Exotica. Atom Egoyan, who directed the highly eccentric “The Adjuster,” takes on this look at love, obsession and the human psyche. Bruce Greenwood stars in this award-winning hit of the Cannes and Toronto fests. (Miramax)

Farinelli. Gerard Corbiau directs this look at one of the 18th Century’s most acclaimed castrato singers, and even a peek or two at his unique ways of seducing the women of those times. Stefano Dionisi stars. French with English subtitles. (Sony Pictures Classics)

Fluke. Matthew Modine, Nancy Travis and Eric Stoltz head this live-action, modern-day fable of a canine who discovers he previously walked upright and wore clothes. Now he’s compelled to take the treacherous journey to discover his old home. (MGM)

Friday. Actor-rapper Ice Cube stars in this comedy focusing on a young man growing up in occasionally dangerous South-Central L.A. Gary Gray directs. (New Line)


Funny Bones. Writer-director Peter Chelsom (“Hear My Song”) follows with a touching, humorous look at a struggling second-generation stage comic who ventures back to the England of his youth. Starring Oliver Platt and Oliver Reed, with Leslie Caron and Jerry Lewis. (Hollywood)

The Glass Shield. Charles Burnett directs his own screenplay detailing the problems encountered by a corruption-fighting black officer and female officer in the L.A. County Sheriff’s office. Michael Boatman and Lori Petty play the two. (Miramax)

Glenorky. Mark Harmon and Harley Jane Kozak star in this comedic adventure set at a summer resort town famous for its Loch Ness-style lake dweller. When two kids arrive with dad in tow, the legend becomes reality. (Triumph)

The Goofy Movie. Goofy finally gets his shot at his first feature. Along with the expected comical predicaments, he will get serious in an effort to bond with teen-age son Max. Voices include Wallace Shawn, Joanne Worley and Julie Brown. (Walt Disney)


Gordy. Written by the creators of TV’s “Green Acres,” this family adventure tells of a little piglet who sets out to reclaim his loving family. (Miramax)

Hellraiser V: Bloodline. Kevin Yagher, designer of HBO’s Cryptkeeper, directs another creepy creation from the mind of Clive Barker. This installment expands the terror of Pinhead, going back to the origins of the mysterious Lament Configuration box. (Miramax)

Hideaway. Director Brett Leonard metamorphoses from Stephen King (“Lawnmower Man”) to Dean R. Koontz in this chiller about a man who miraculously escapes death only to be continuously and terrifyingly linked to a psychotic killer. Jeff Goldblum and Christine Lahti star. (TriStar)

The Hunted. “Under Siege” writer Jonathan Lawton evolves into writer-director in this Japan-set actioner following Western businessman Christopher Lambert after he witnesses Joan Chen’s murder. Ninja assassin John Lone is determined to shut him up. (Universal)


The Innocent. John Schlesinger’s next directing effort promises political thrills when an Englishman (Campbell Scott) is sent to Berlin on a hush-hush post-World War II operation. Anthony Hopkins plays his colleague and Isabella Rossellini the woman for whom he risks a great deal. (Miramax)

Jefferson in Paris. The Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala troika (producer Ismail, director James and writer Ruth Prawer) tackles pre-revolutionary Paris this time, with Nick Nolte playing Thomas Jefferson during his five chaotic years there as an American diplomat. Greta Scacchi co-stars. (Touchstone)

Jury Duty. Pauly Shore turns the “Twelve Angry Men” theme on its head as a lone juror who does his best to prolong deliberations in what seemed to be an open-and-shut case. (Triumph)

Kiss of Death. Barbet Schroeder directs this Richard Price script, an early test of “NYPD Blue” vet David Caruso’s bankability. In this remake (with Nicolas Cage in the Richard Widmark role), Caruso plays a family guy forced into the criminal underworld by an overzealous D.A. (Fox)


The Last Good Time. Bob Balaban directs this story of a retired violinist who’s quite content puttering the day away in his small Brooklyn apartment. Olivia d’Abo spices things up when she seeks refuge with him from her abusive boyfriend. (Samuel Goldwyn Co.)

A Little Princess. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s family classic involves a precocious little girl sent off from India to a New York boarding school by her wealthy father before he shuffles off to war. He’s soon lost in combat, and the child must summon up all her strength to cope. (Warner Bros.)

Losing Isaiah. Jessica Lange stars as a white social worker who fights for custody of an abandoned drug- addicted black infant. Mother Halle Berry eventually kicks her habit and vows to take back her son. Samuel L. Jackson co-stars; Stephen Gyllenhaal directs Naomi Foner’s script. (Paramount)

Love and Human Remains. “Jesus of Montreal” director Denys Arcand’s first English-language film concerns the lives, loves and delicate situations surrounding some twentysomething singles in Toronto. (Sony Pictures Classics)


Major Payne. Damon Wayans plays a stern, by-the-book Army lifer whose military career comes to a screeching halt. Civilian life being not so civil, he dusts off his uniform and trains a bunch of would-be toughs at a military academy for boys. (Universal)

Man of the House. Chevy Chase tries to win over the son of his new lady love, but the lad has other ideas, making Chase join the YMCA Indian Guides program to scare him off. The Mob soon gets into it, putting a hit on Chase. Farrah Fawcett and George Wendt co-star. (Walt Disney)

The Mangler. Another Stephen King short-story knockoff, this one teaming slash director Tobe Hooper and ex-slasher Freddy Krueger’s actor, Robert Englund, in a story of a sweatshop tyrant who controls the spirit of a vicious killer. (New Line)

Mortal Kombat. Christopher Lambert stars in this action-packed film version of one of the most popular (and graphic) video games in the world. (New Line)


Moving the Mountain. Michael Apted offers this documentary account of the events that led to the brutal assault on Chinese students at Tian An Men Square in June, 1989. Many of those who suffered speak on the record. (October)

Muriel’s Wedding. Toni Collette plays the last likely bride of Porpoise Spit, Australia. P. J. Hogan wrote and directed this highly praised telling of the ABBA fan who gets the last laugh on the bitchy locals. (Miramax)

My Family. Edward James Olmos, Jimmy Smits and Esai Morales lead this multigenerational saga of struggle, hope and triumph. Gregory Nava directs; Francis Ford Coppola co-produces. (New Line)

My Posse Don’t Do Homework. Michelle Pfeiffer’s screen return after a family leave finds her portraying a compassionate ex-Marine who jettisons a 10-year military career to teach at an inner-city high school. (Hollywood)


National Lampoon’s Senior Trip. Matt Frewer (“Max Headroom”) and Tommy Chong lead a partying army of high schoolers to the nation’s capital, where they wreak havoc. (New Line)

New Jersey Drive. Spike Lee is executive producer of this Nick Gomez film about teen-age boys with a penchant for stealing cars. (Gramercy)

Nina Takes a Lover. Married but restless San Franciscan Laura San Giacomo commences a tryst with a Welsh photographer while her husband is away for several weeks. Can she use this experience to resuscitate the passions at home? (Triumph)

Once Were Warriors. Rena Owen stars in this drama based on Alan Duff’s bestseller about contemporary Maoris and their difficulties in adjusting to normalcy in urban New Zealand. (Fine Line)


Outbreak. Director Wolfgang Petersen has assembled an A-list cast in this thriller about a lethal virus that comes to U.S. shores from an African monkey. Two federal agencies get involved--one military, one social--so intense conflict is to be expected. Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman and Donald Sutherland star. (Warner Bros.)

Panther. Mario Van Peebles and dad Melvin have directed and written, respectively, this look at the Black Panther Party, born on the streets of 1966 Oakland through the efforts of Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. Kadeem Hardison stars. (Gramercy)

Party Girl. A sort of latter-day Holly Golightly is the focus of this screwball look at a young girl’s tranformation from irresponsible narcissist to loving existentialist. (First Look)

The Pebble and the Penguin. Animated fare with Martin Short voicing Hubie, a lovable wallflower of a penguin who plans to present his betrothal pebble to the tuxedoed bird of his dreams. Tim Curry is the vicious Drake, who also cherishes her. Music by Barry Manilow. (MGM)


The Perez Family. “Mississippi Masala” director Mira Nair has cast Oscar winners Marisa Tomei and Anjelica Huston in a story of two Cuban refugees on the way to Miami and a romantic destiny. While Alfred Molina is on the boat trip to see wife Huston, he runs into free spirit Tomei. (Samuel Goldwyn Co.)

Picture Bride. Youki Kudoh stars in a poignant scenario following a young Japanese girl’s 1918 arranged marriage to a fellow in Hawaii. The nuptials were set in motion after an exchange of photographs, and herein lies her anguish. (Miramax)

A Pure Formality. “Cinema Paradiso” director Giuseppe Tornatore sets two powerful figures against one another in a merciless battle: Gerard Depardieu as an accused murderer and Roman Polanski as his interrogator. Score by Ennio Morricone; French with subtitles. (Sony Pictures Classics)

A Pyromaniac’s Love Story. TV mogul Joshua Brand (“Northern Exposure”) switches gears and directs this offbeat, comical look at what happens in the wake of a pastry shop consumed in a holocaust. William Baldwin and John Leguizamo star. (Hollywood)


Rampo. Maoto Takenaka stars as controversial author Edogawa Rampo, whose strange imagination conjures up bizarre murders that soon take place in the real world. This was a big hit in Japan. (Samuel Goldwyn Co.)

Restoration. Michael Hoffman directs Robert Downey Jr., Meg Ryan, Sam Neill and a host of others in this ribald look at the ups and downs of England’s Court of Charles II. Downey is Royal Physician Robert Merivel, at first embraced by His Highness, then cast aside. (Miramax)

Roommates. Peter Falk takes Peter Yates’ direction in this heartwarming tale of a cranky old codger and the young man (D. B. Sweeney) who grew up under his care. Julianne Moore, Jan Rubes and Ellen Burstyn help bridge their generation gap. (Hollywood)

Search and Destroy. Griffin Dunne and Rosanna Arquette head a colorful cast in this “screwball tragedy” based on Howard Korder’s play. Dunne’s a failed businessman, facing failure at marriage with wife Arquette, who decides to finance a film based on a televangelist’s book. (October)


Smoke. Harvey Keitel plays a Brooklyn cigar store proprietor who’s heard it all; the relationship between a reclusive writer and a troubled black man is the film’s centerpiece. Wayne Wang directs; William Hurt, Forest Whitaker, Stockard Channing and Ashley Judd provide support. (Miramax)

Son of the Shark. Ludovic Vandendaela and Erick Da Silva play young brothers who terrorize a small rural town, resisting any interference from the bewildered townsfolk while always keeping an unbreakable brotherly bond. French with English subtitles. (Seventh Art)

The Stars Fell on Henrietta. Clint Eastwood co-produces and James Keach directs this 1930s dust bowl saga starring Robert Duvall and Aidan Quinn. Duvall’s a washed-up oil wildcatter who talks the folks from the titular town into financing an oil derrick smack dab on their property. (Warner Bros.)

Stuart Saves His Family. Al Franken’s book (based on his “Saturday Night Live” character Stuart Smalley) was so touchingly funny that it intrigued director Harold Ramis. Stuart must suddenly confront a few crises of his own. Laura San Giacomo and Vincent D’Onofrio co-star. (Paramount)


The Sum of Us. This Australian adaptation of the award-winning play stars Russell Crowe and Jack Thompson as a son and widowed father who each yearn for true love. That the Crowe character is gay adds a twist to their search. (Samuel Goldwyn Co.)

Tales From the Hood. Director Rusty Cundieff brought us the rap sendup “Fear of a Black Hat,” and now he offers some more scary fun. When three punks go to a funeral parlor to score a secret stash of drugs, they encounter undertaker Clarence Williams III. With Corbin Bernsen and David Alan Grier. Spike Lee exec-produces. (Savoy)

Tall Tale. Young, imaginative Nick Stahl embraces high adventure by virtue of his conjuring up a trio of memorable Old West characters. John Henry, Paul Bunyon and Pecos Bill (Roger Aaron Brown, Oliver Platt and Patrick Swayze) somehow help the boy save the family farm from Scott Glenn’s villainy. (Walt Disney/Caravan)

Tank Girl. Basically a gender-bending “Road Warrior,” this futuristic actioner depicts a 2033 post-cataclysmic world in which water is more scarce than your buddies on moving day. Lori Petty plays the tough woman with the armored vehicle, with the evil Malcolm McDowell heading the Department of Water. (United Artists)


To Die For. Buck Henry wrote and Gus Van Sant directs this warped view of America as Nicole Kidman embarks on a career as a TV personality. Joaquin Phoenix and Matt Dillon also star. (Columbia)

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. This film has three dazzling female roles, played by the dazzling Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo. The trio hits the road from New York to Hollywood, but their ’67 Caddy breaks down in Snydersville, Neb. (Universal)

The Underneath. Director Steven Soderbergh reunites with “sex, lies, and videotape” star Peter Gallagher, who heads back to Austin, Tex., after some time away to discover that old loves change over the years. (Gramercy)

Untitled Chris Farley/David Spade Comedy. Director Peter Segal follows up “Naked Gun 33 1/3" with this story of a buffoonish, 7-year-college loser who finally returns to Ohio to learn his family’s auto parts retail business. (Paramount)


Untitled Meg Ryan/Kevin Kline Project. Romance and laughs are promised in this story of a woman (Ryan) who heads to Paris when she learns that her fiancee has succumbed to the temptations of a French woman. While there, she succumbs to a mysterious Frenchman (Kline). Lawrence Kasdan directs. (Fox)

A Walk in the Clouds. With director Alfonso Arau coming off “Like Water for Chocolate” and Keanu Reeves glowing from “Speed,” this romantic drama should sizzle, with Reeves as a young GI posing as the husband of a vineyard owner’s daughter, acting as a buffer against the old man’s domination. With Anthony Quinn. (Fox)

Wild Bill. Walter Hill directs this Western adventure with Jeff Bridges playing Wild Bill Hickock. The shoot-'em-up cast includes Ellen Barkin as Calamity Jane, John Hurt as Charley Prince, Diane Lane as Savannah Moore and Bruce Dern as Will Plummer, who makes the wrong career move by drawing on Bill. (United Artists)

Wild Reeds. Andre Techine directs this drama of three youngsters sent to boarding school in the south of France in 1962, just at the end of the Algerian War. In French with subtitles. (Strand)


The World of Satyajit Ray. Merchant Ivory collaborates with Sony Pictures Classics for this eight-film retrospective on the acclaimed, late Indian director.