Robin and Marian. Sappy and great. Robin Hood and Little John come back from the Crusades and try to recapture the life they left behind in Nottingham. Sean Connery (Robin) is getting better looking every year and Audrey Hepburn's (Marian) return to movies was long overdue. We saw this one at Radio City in New York, but we're betting it will hold up even without the Rockettes' special Easter Show.
Bad News Bears. Tatum O'Neal, on the other hand, is not aging gracefully. She is only one of many things wrong with this movie. The story's message manages to be simultaneously heavyhanded and incomprehensible, no mean trick; winning is better than losing, but winning with dignity is better than just plain winning. Oh, and losing with dignity should be in there too, but it's unclear exactly where. The little kids are pretty cute, but Tatum has evolved into the Margaux Hemingway of the pre-teen set, which, as far as we're concerned, is nowheresville.
Tunnelvision, which has its East Coast premiere at the Orson Welles this week and which purports to be a hot, hip parody of the cool medium, falls on its face because it never escapes what it tries to make funny. Bereft of originality, the film, set in 1985, tries to keep the laffs coming with a tiring and finally irritating stream of take-offs of TV just the way it is today. L.A. crime dramas get the treatment with "Police Comic," a one-minute bit in which a stand-up joking cop makes the bad guy give up with one joke. Weak? You should hear the joke. The new ethnic sitcoms are covered with "Ramon and Sonja," where a typical gypsy family, a cab-driver, two whores and a "faggot" (I'd like a peanut for every time that word is used; I could run for president) live together in disharmony and squalor. Mother whore to father: Our son would never harm a fly. Daughter: Yeah, unless it was open. Really, I've heard bigger yuks in the engineering lab.
But where the program parodies merely fail, Tunnelvision's lampoons of TV commercials are real garbage, working in every crotch/ass joke and toilet gag available. Does an ad for "Columbia School of Proctology" tickle you? How about a "National Faggot Shoot"? (There's that word again; another goober please.)
Witness for the Prosecution. Great actors often hit a stretch in their careers when they get picked up exclusively for curmudgeon roles. Charles Laughton does his here, and does it with conviction and wit. Playing a sly and grumpy barrister with a heart condition, he sometimes tips his actor's hand by a little too much of the loveable Churchillian bit; generally he is unforgettable. Almost as important here is his wife Elsa Lanchester who mostly pipes at Laughton and confiscates his cigars. Yes, it's true that even in middle age Marlene Dietrich has terrific legs, and she is an acceptable actress; Tyrone Power is unbelievable and lousy. Agatha Christie, as usual, turns everything on a pin.
"An Evening with Lesbian Filmmaker Jan Oxenberg" (including "A Comedy in Six Unnatural Acts,"), Sunday at 8.
Bedazzled, Friday and Saturday at 8 and 10.
SCIENCE CENTER B
Chapayev (Soviet film about the 1919 Civil War), tonight at 7.
Angels with Dirty Faces (Cagney, Pat O'Brien, the Dead End Kids) and The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Friday and Saturday; call 5-4731 for information.