'Home Alone': black comedy for kids


September 01, 1991|By New York Times News Service

New releases of video cassettes; reviews by New York Times critics:

"Home Alone." 1990. Fox. $24.98. Laser disk $29.98. 1 hour, 50 minutes. Closed captioned. PG.

A suburban family accidentally leaves the youngest of its five children behind when it flies off on vacation -- and into movie history.

"Home Alone" has taken in about $280 million at the box office, one of the highest sums ever. Eight-year-old Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) copes with his isolation in a big house besieged by two stupid but gritty second-story men (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) and, proceeds aside, the premise results in "a surprisingly charming film, which may be the first Christmas black comedy for children" (Caryn James).

"True Colors." 1991. Paramount. $91.95. Laser disk $34.95. 1 hour, 51 minutes. Closed captioned. R.

Herbert Ross' film traces the careers and personal double dealings of two young Washington lawyers (James Spader and John Cusack) who befriend each other in school but later tangle during games of greed and power in the nation's capital.

Despite sharp performances by Mr. Spader as the straight shooter and Mr. Cusack as the ruthless bounder, the film never rises above the "heavy-handed and self-important" (Vincent Canby).

"Paris Trout." 1991. Media. $89.98. 1 hour, 38 minutes. Closed captioned. R.

In Stephen Gyllenhaal's film, made for TV, a small Georgia town is terrorized by a sadistic bully (Dennis Hopper) who brutalizes and kills as if it were his God-given right.

Mr. Hopper's Paris "is an unforgettably repugnant creation" (John O'Connor).

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