The debris cleared (reasonably) away, the friendly neighborhood movie critic finds he does indeed have a desk, as well as . . . .
* AN "AUDIO MOVIE" was sent to me a couple of weeks ago - referred to in press material as "The first movie on audio cassette - produced by Salt Lake's own Bonneville Media Com-munications."It's actually an audio magazine - Omni magazine, to be precise. And fans of the Omni science fact/fiction magazine will have an idea already as to what it contains: Verbal versions of the kind of fare the mag often features.
In this case, the first tape contains stories on subliminal advertising, memory, an interview with science fiction author Ray Bradbury - and the big draw, dramatizations of two Bradbury stories from his "Martian Chronicles."
The second tape has an extended dramatized story by Arthur C. Clarke - "The Rescue" - and something called "word jazz."
I have read "The Martian Chronicles" - in fact it happens to be my favorite Bradbury book (and I've read them all). And since I really disliked the TV mini-series version of that book (with Rock Hudson, of all people), I was quite interested in what Bonneville would do with it.
Both stories are expertly handled, with superb sound effects, characterizations and - most important in "radio drama" (and this does qualify, don't you think?) - a story that captures the imagination and lets the mind soar.
"The Rescue," on the second tape, was a story I had not read, and it proved to be just as compelling and dramatic - and an even more wild celebration of the human spirit.
The other "articles" on the tapes are not as successful. The "word jazz" piece on the second tape seems like low-rent Laurie Anderson, without her music, and the subliminal advertising piece on the first tape is not very interesting - unless you plan to use the instructions here to make your own subliminal tape. The interview with Bradbury is interesting, however.
Let's face it, however, the reason to buy these tapes is to hear the dramatized stories - and they are well worth the $9.95 cost of each tape.
Science fiction fans in particular will lap this stuff up, but even if you just miss dramatic radio - as I do - which can be so much more exciting than television, these tapes are a must-listen.
They are labeled "Omni Audio Experience," Volumes I and II, and may be purchased at B. Dalton and Waldenbooks locally.
Here's hoping there are many more to come.
* QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Eddie Murphy, during a press conference to publicize "Coming to America":
" `Coming to America' isn't as raunchy as anything I've done before. And the three other characters I play in it - the barber, the singer and the old Jewish man - they really blew me away, especially the old white guy. I'd like to do more character acting. That was the first time I saw something I did and was blown away by it. It's the first film I've done where none of the characters I did were Eddie, and it made me feel good. If I read bad reviews, I'll still say, `Yeah, but I like it.' "
* QUOTE OF THE WEEK II: Eddie Murphy, during the same press conference, assessing his own film work to date:
Murphy says he likes "48 HRS." best. "Second would be the first `Beverly Hills Cop.' Then `Trading Places.' I hated `Golden Child' a lot. . . . I remember the script being so good. But it didn't turn out that way. It should have been, and could have been, a much better movie. `Cop II' I wasn't crazy about, but it was all right. I hated `Best Defense.' And `Raw' could have been better."
* QUOTE OF THE WEEK III: Arsenio Hall, Murphy's co-star in "Coming to America," during the same press conference, referring to a cameo he does in drag, a character billed in the credits as "very ugly woman":
Hall said his mother saw the character in the trailer (theatrical preview) for "Coming to America" and told him, "You looked like me! Or one of your aunts!"
* MURPHY'S "COMING TO AMERICA" forced the cartoon comedy "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" to emigrate from the top spot during a firecracker July 4th box office weekend.
Moviegoers spent a record $70 million July 1 through July 4, said John Krier, whose Exhibitor Relations Co. tracks the box-office take.
"Coming to America," the tale of an African prince who journeys to America in search of a bride, hauled in $21.4 million during the four days and earned $28.4 million since its opening June 29.
Murphy's prince knocked the critically acclaimed "Roger Rabbit" from the top of the box office after a reign of only one week.
However, the Disney comedy that combines animated characters with real actors still drew $14.5 million in ticket sales for a total gross of $37.2 million since its release two weeks ago.
Dick Cook, head of distribution for Buena Vista Pictures, distributor of the Disney film, noted "Roger Rabbit" still had the highest per-screen average of all current releases and is running ahead of previous blockbuster movies during comparable holiday periods, such as "Three Men and a Baby" and "Back to the Future."
Third place went to another comedy, "Big," which grossed $6.5 million on the little-boy antics of Tom Hanks. "Big" has earned $53 million in five weeks.
Here are the top films for the weekend as tallied by Exhibitor Relations Co.
1. "Coming to America," $28.4 million this week (first week).
2. "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," $14.5 million, ($37 million, two weeks).
3. "Big," $6.5 million, ($53 million, five weeks).
4. "Bull Durham," $5.3 million, ($21.8 million, three weeks).
5. " `Crocodile' Dundee II," $5.3 million, ($87.2 million, six weeks).
6. "The Great Outdoors," $4.6 million, ($23.5 million, three weeks).
7. "Red Heat," $4.3 million, ($24.6 million, three weeks).
8. "Big Business," $4 million, ($27 million, four weeks).
9. "Willow," $2.5 million, ($43.6 million, seven weeks).
10. "The Presidio," $1.8 million, ($16 million, three weeks).