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The thriller occupies the same territory as countless science fiction movies about deadly invasions and high-tech conspiracies, but has been made with intelligence and an…

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles

It is perfectly cast and soundly constructed, and all else flows naturally. Steve Martin and John Candy don't play characters; they embody themselves.

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#26 September 1, 2010

From the Grand Poobah: Here in Michigan Oink's ice cream parlor exerts a magnetic pull on helpless citizens for miles around. I can no longer sample their countless flavors, but not log ago I took Kim Severson there. She is a New York Times writer doing a piece on The Pot. Oink's is run by my friend Roger Vink, who says, "May the Oink be with you."

(click photos to enlarge)

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Movie Answer Man (07/13/1997)

Q. I am fascinated by the legal issues that might come into play involving the marketing of "Hercules," in which many of the ads, whether in print or on TV, depict the character "Hades" giving "two thumbs up." I imagine that Disney folks hoped, and perhaps not unreasonably expected, that "Hercules" would receive the coveted "two thumbs up" rating, and scripted the movie to include a clever self-referential line to take advantage of the fact. But, failing that, they apparently decided there was nothing wrong with giving (italics) themselves two thumbs up--simply by using a clip from the movie. The problem is, that while the phrase "thumbs up" is obviously in the public domain, the phrase "two thumbs up" insofar as it applies to movies was--correct me if I'm wrong--created by you and Mr. Siskel. I note, with interest, that today's New York Times ad for "Hercules" contains a picture of "Hades" making the "two thumbs up" gesture, sandwiched in among the "other" movie reviews. I also note that your own positive review of the film is conspicuous by its absence--since that would alert readers to the fact that Mr. Siskel did NOT give it a favorable review. What's next? Perhaps a film could have a character exclaim "Janet Maslin loves us," and then air the clip over and over, regardless of what Ms. Maslin thought of the film. (Scott Morgan, Houston, Texas)

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