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Picks and Pans Main: Screen

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These are the times that try men’s VCRs—women’s too. Sometimes there’s a therapeutic value to going out to see a movie—any movie—but with releasing schedules in doldrums territory, it’s tempting to give the old Googolplex a rest. So here are videotape-available alternatives to three new films. As a McCarthy-era portrait, instead of or in addition to Guilty by Suspicion, try The Front, Martin Ritt’s darkly comic look at Red-baiting, with Woody Allen standing in for blacklisted writers. As for Cadence’s military injustice, prisoner defiance and blockheaded stubbornness, try Cool Hand Luke, Vie Caine Mutiny or The Last Detail. And for a spy spoof featuring a young actor (instead of If Looks Could Kill), the Abrahams-Zucker-Zucker comedy Top Secret! has some funny moments, in addition to offering viewers the chance retroactively to discover Val Kilmer.