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Gambling on a New Instructional Video

Critic Ken Tucker's disappointment in a VHS guide to blackjack dashed his dreams of becoming a professional gambler. At least he can recommend some solid home video releases to watch this summer.


A Standout Show About Vietnam

The success of Platoon in theaters has led to the development of several television shows about the Vietnam War. Some viewers might be fatigued by their sheer number; for them, TV critic David Bianculli recommends HBO's Vietnam War Stories.


Reverence for the American Jesus

Martin Scorsese's new movie, The Last Temptation of Christ -- adapted from a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis -- takes its cues from old western movies. Film critic Stephen Schiff says the director evangelizes through the back door, convincing us that we really are watching the greatest story ever told.


Showtime's Spooky Thriller "Gotham"

Critic David Bianculli says the cable network's new made-for-TV movie is great, thanks to its excellent performances, photography, and ghastly concept. But the lackluster script keeps Gotham from being a classic.


A Movie with the Impact of a Just Say No Ad

Film critic Stephen Schiff says that Michael Keaton is too good an actor to star in Clean and Sober, a movie that focuses more on problems than characters. Schiff says the film feels like it was made for TV, rather than the big screen.


Remembering "A Difficult Actor"

Accomplished stage and screen actor Simon Callow wrote a biography of Charles Laughton, from whom he drew tremendous inspiration. Callow says Laughton's skill in part stemmed from the late actor's self-hatred and closeted homosexuality.


Basic Plumbing: An Hour's Worth of High Drama

Critic and homeowner Ken Tucker reviews an instructional video about basic home repair, which enthralled him with the actors' calm, zombie-like performances. Tucker also recommends VHS releases of Cry Freedom and Tampopo.


A Juiceless and Didactic Baseball Movie

Eight Men Out, about a 1919 baseball scandal, is directed by John Sayles. Film critic Stephen Schiff says there are some good performances, but the movie is more of a moralistic argument than a story; it could have used some of the wit Sayles injected into his earlier B-movies.


Crossing Delancey: The Fresh Air Review

Joan Micklin Silver's film, set in New York City, is about a single woman in the publishing industry who recruits a matchmaker to find love. Film critic Stephen Schiff says it reminds him of the TV show Moonstruck, but without the motivational message.

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