Notable videos for the week of May 4
The Big Red One (1980, Warner, PG)
Director Sam Fuller supposedly spent 35 years trying to make this old-fashioned World War II adventure. Lee Marvin plays the veteran sergeant in command of the First Infantry Division, called the Big Red One, and Mark Hamill (Star Wars) is one of his young subordinates. B
Burndown (1989, M.C.E.G. /Virgin, R)
Five years after the closing of a local nuclear power plant, a small town is rocked by a spate of murders with radioactive victims. Peter Firth (Letter to Brezhnev) and Cathy Moriarty (Raging Bull) play a police chief and a journalist investigating the crimes.
Cold Front (1989, HBO, R)
Twin Peaks sheriff Michael Ontkean teams up with Martin Sheen to pursue a killer linked with the CIA and the KGB. Beverly D’Angelo plays the murderer’s latest target.
Crisis at Central High (1981, Vestron)
In this well-received TV movie, Joanne Woodward portrays a Little Rock, Ark., schoolteacher forced to face the issue of integration in 1957. A-
Empire of the Sun (1987, Warner, PG)
The ordeal of a young British boy separated from his parents in China at the onset of World War II. Spielberg elicits an affecting and unsentimental performance from Christian Bale. And Allen Daviau’s heroic camera work comes across beautifully on the small screen. B+
The Eyes of the Panther (1989, Cannon) From Showtime’s Nightmare Classics series: A panther stalking the home of a Midwestern pioneer family infects the spirit of their pretty daughher. Based on a story by Ambrose Bierce and starring Daphne Zuniga, John Stockwell, and C. Thomas Howell.
Full Metal Jacket (1987, Warner, R)
Stanley Kubrick’s hard look at the Marine Corps may be the only Vietnam movie where boot camp is more frightening than war. Matthew Modine (Married to the Mob) stars as a smart-aleck recruit. A-
The Green Berets (1968, Warner, G)
This cinematic valentine to the Special Forces in Vietnam stars John Wayne (who also directed) as a general defending a strategic hill. A true bomb. D
The Killing Fields (1984, Warner, R)
Against the backdrop of the Vietnam war’s bloody Cambodian ”sideshow,” American journalist Sydney Schanberg develops a close, complicated friendship with his Asian translator, Dith Pran. Starring Sam Waterston and Haing S. Ngor (who won an Oscar for best supporting actor), and featuring an effective turn by John Malkovich as a cynical photographer. A
Mindfield (1989, Magnum, R)
A victim of CIA thought-control experiments seeks revenge on the psychiatrist who damaged him with drugs. Stars Christopher Plummer as the guilty doctor and Michael Ironside as his patient.
Purple Hearts (1984, Warner, $19.98)
A made-for-TV movie. Amid the horror of the Vietnam war , a Navy mann(Ken Wahl of TV’s Wiseguy) finds love with a sweet blond nurse (Cheryl Ladd). Absolutely cloying. D
Rebel Storm (1989, Academy, R)
It’s the year 2099, and the city of Los Angeles is held in thrall by a religious despot until two gorgeous freedom fighters decide to liberate the city. D