Produced and Abandoned

Michael Sragow, Editor, National Society of Film Critics Members, Author Mercury House $9.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-916515-84-3
To assemble this guide for film lovers in search of intriguing videos to rent, Sragow, movie critic for the San Francisco Examiner , asked 29 fellow members of the National Society of Film Critics for ``strongly argued reviews of movies they had championed, even if that meant going out on a limb.'' There is something obscure for every taste, from By Design , a ``sunny sex comedy'' starring Patty Duke Astin as half of a lesbian couple, to Lodz Ghetto , an ``evocative and horrifying'' Holocaust documentary--although most video stores are unlikely to carry such fare. But many of the films, such as A Cry in the Dark , starring Meryl Streep, and Rob Reiner's highly praised satire This Is Spinal Tap , hardly seem to fit the book's subtitle, The Best Films You've Never Seen . The guide is marred by pretentiousness, as when Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader laboriously compares Martin Scorsese's After Hours with the director's earlier film Raging Bull , with less-than-compelling insights: ``Where Raging Bull covered a period of some 20 years . . . the new film takes place in the small hours of a single night.'' The incisive reviews of critics like Terrence Rafferty and Pauline Kael are a refreshing contrast. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
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