** Air America--Mel Gibson and Robert Downey, Jr., are...


August 11, 1990|By LOU CEDRONE | LOU CEDRONE,Lou Cedrone is The Evening Sun's film critic.

** Air America--Mel Gibson and Robert Downey, Jr., are pilots for the airline the CIA maintained during the war in Viet Nam. The characters are initially irritating, and so is the film, but the second half is exciting. Violence, language. Rating: PG-13.

*** Arachnophobia--Deadly spiders terrorize a small town in this scare/comedy film that is much better than most of this genre. Jeff Daniels is the new doctor in town, a man who is terrified of spiders. Violence, language. Rating: PG-13.

*** Betsy's Wedding--Alan Alda wrote, directed and stars in this very warm and amusing comedy about a man who wants to give his daughter a big wedding, one he cannot afford. Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy are in the cast. Language. Rating: R.

** Days of Thunder--Tom Cruise is a stock-car racer who wants to win the Daytona 500. Along the way, he falls in love with a lady doctor. The film, a kind of ''Top Gun'' on wheels, is good enough when it gets away from the track but is too much of the same thing when it has Cruise and others get behind those wheels. Language, sex, nudity. Rating: R.

** Dick Tracy--The much anticipated Warren Beatty film impersonation of the comic-strip hero is good fun for an hour or so, dips for a time, then rises again before the finale. Madonna is the club singer who tries to woo Tracy, and Al Pacino is the bad guy who wants Tracy out of the way. Violence. Rating: PG.

*** Die Hard 2--Bruce Willis returns as the New York cop who seems to follow trouble. This time he's at Dulles Airport, where terrorists take over the facility in a plan to rescue a drug baron being flown to the United States. The sequel overdoes at times, but mostly it's fast, furious and exciting. Bonnie Bedelia repeats as the cop's wife. She is on one of the planes that get stacked up over the airport as the battle ensues below. Language, violence. Rating: R.

* DuckTales: The Movie--A mildly amusing feature cartoon based on the adventures of Scrooge McDuck's nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie. The film is being released by The Walt Disney Studios but was done in France. The plot has four ducklings who find a magic lamp, rub it and meet a genie who sounds like Rip Taylor. Based on the television cartoon. Rating: G.

** Flatliners -- A group of medical students conduct an experiment in which they ''die'' then come back to life. When they do, they are sorry they have trifled with the hereafter. Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland and Julia Roberts are three of the students. The film is repetitious at start but when it gets down to the reason for all this tinkering, is vastly satisfying. Sex, language, nudity, violence. Rating: R.

*** The Freshman--Matthew Broderick is a freshman asked to do a favor for a don-like figure played by Marlon Brando. Keep in mind that this is farce, and you'll enjoy the film throughout. Language. Rating: PG.

*** Ghost--Don't let the title keep you from seeing this film. That's the only bad thing about it. The rest is on target. Patrick Swayze is murdered and then returns as a ghost to unmask his killer and comfort the girl he left behind. Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg are in the cast. So is Tony Goldwyn, grandson of Samuel Goldwyn. Violence, sex, language. Rating: PG-13.

* Jetsons: The Movie--This feature-length cartoon based on the TV cartoon series of the early '60s may be a little too sophisticated for the very young and a little too bland for adults. The plot has George Jetson transferred to an asteroid where his company is endangering the lives of a native species. Rating: G

**** Jungle Book--Re-release of the 1967 Disney cartoon classic based on the Rudyard Kipling ''Mowgli'' stories. Phil Harris and Louis Prima do some of the voices for the jungle characters who help Mowgli make his way to civilization. For the entire family. Rating: G.

** Milo and Otis--A Japanese film in which a dog and a cat, good friends, experience a series of adventures. Children and adults who are still children at heart will find these animals irresistible. Rating: G.

** Mo' Better Blues--This Spike Lee movie fails to deliver on style and substance. Denzel Washington is a jazz musician who spends a lot of time listening to complaints from both the women he is seeing. The movie is too long, and the plot seems to jog in place for the first hour or so. At times the film looks amateurish. Only true progressive jazz lovers will appreciate the score. Language, nudity, violence. Rating:R.

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