Mo' Better Blues
Spike Lee's latest effort stars Denzel Washington as a New York saxophone player who has to choose between playing the blues and chasing the babes. Ruben Blades costars along with Lee and his sister Joie. Spike's father, jazz musician and composer Bill Lee, wrote the score. (Opens Aug. 3) (D,M,R)
Inside Stuff: Word is that this movie will make a star out of Cynda Williams, playing a savvy singer who uses Washington to get ahead.
The Two Jakes
The long-awaited and oft-delayed sequel to Chinatown, starring and directed by Jack Nicholson, is finally coming to the screen, maybe. It's the late '40s, and while detective Jake Gittes is investigating a murder, he uncovers some puzzling connections to a deadly course of events from his past. Scriptwriter Robert Towne focuses on oil and blackmail this time around, instead of water and blackmail. Harvey Keitel, Meg Tilly, and Madeleine Stowe join the suspense thriller's cast. (Opens Aug. 10) (M,D) %
Inside Stuff: Is Jakes worth the wait? The delays (it was originally scheduled by Paramount for a Christmas 1989 release, then promised for Easter) have industry people whispering that the film has problems. If it bombs, Jack might want to see the Joker resurrected for Batman II.
Will Prince's sequel to 1984's Purple Rain reestablish him after 1986's sour Under the Cherry Moon? The Minneapolis rocker teams up again with Morris E. Day and funk band the Time in this new-wave version of an old-fashioned Hollywood musical. Reprising his role as the Kid, Prince finds himself embroiled in a power struggle with nightclub co-owner Day. Look for a summer album and fall tour to tie in with the movie. (Opens Aug. 10) (D,M,R)
Inside Stuff: Batgal Kim Basinger reportedly was set to play Prince's love interest, but newcomer Ingrid Chavez wound up filling those stilettos instead.
Taking Care of Business
What would summer be without an oddball-buddy caper picture? Here, a yuptight ad exec (Charles Grodin) loses his precious Filofax date book. It's found by a convict (Jim Belushi) who has broken out of jail to catch the World Series. Wacky adventures ensue. (Opens Aug. 17) (C)
Inside Stuff: Originally titled Filofax, the name was changed when the company refused to approve the use of its registered trademark, although the term is still used in the film. No problem. Hollywood Pictures, Disney's new production division, went out and licensed the use of the 1974 hit ''Taking Care of Business'' by Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and a new title was born.
The Andrew Dice Clay concert movie
Anything goes when the X-rated nursery-rhyming Andrew Dice Clay hits the stage. Critics consider his humor sexist, racist, and homophobic and those are the positive reviews. The film is a compilation of two live performances earlier this year at New York's Madison Square Garden. (Opens Aug. 17) (C)
Inside Stuff: With two very different Diceman movies due this summer, 20th Century Fox faces a difficult challenge. For July's The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (see page 42), it's trying to sell a softer, gentler version of Clay, which could turn off his hard-core following. The concert film is aimed directly at that audience, however, and runs the risk of alienating the broader audience that Fairlane might attract. No wonder studio executives hate to talk about marketing.