Dick Tracy PG, 1990, 105 minutes, Touchstone Home Video, closed-captioned. In his floppy banana trench coat and fabu lous matching fedora, Warren Beatty looks more like the fashion police than a gangbuster. As both director and star of "Dick Tracy," Beatty emphasizes color-coordination and an excess of style over substance. As the grim but vulnerable crime-fighter, Beatty is aided in his crusade by his long-suffer ing steady, Tess Trueheart (Glenne Headly), and his newly adopted sidekick, The Kid (Charlie Korsmo). But like "Bat man," this cartoon noir is energized by its hyperactive villain -- Al Pacino stealing the show as the hilariously diabolical Big Boy, humpbacked leader of a rogue's gallery of misshapen geeks. Tracy proves even more untouchable when he fights off the tempting Breathless Mahoney (Madonna), the lounge singer who could, if she only would, put Big Boy behind bars. "Dick Tracy" is blushing with Bacallisms, you-know-how-to- whistle patter for the platinum singer. "I know how you feel. You don't know whether you want to hit me or kiss me," she vamps. -- Rita Kempley
LONGTIME COMPANION, R, 1990, 100 minutes, Vidmark. It was like a tiny blip on the radar screen. In July of 1981, an article appeared in the New York Times reporting the out break of a rare form of cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma in a number of gay men. This troubling bulletin was the first report on the disease that came to be called AIDS, but for the seven men at the center of "Longtime Companion," which begins on the day the article appeared, the information causes only the smallest of ripples. A few phone calls are exchanged, a few words of alarm, but generally the characters -- all bright, attractive, relatively young and well-off -- continue with their lives, unaware of how drastically they are about to be changed. There is a potent irony in this, and in the opening scenes the filmmakers exploit it, contrasting what we knew then with what we know now. This intelligent, deeply moving film traces the evolution of these changes as the crisis develops. Written by playwright Craig Lucas ("Prelude to a Kiss") and directed by Norman Rene, the film travels through the '80s, and in the process, we watch as first one character and then another is diagnosed, as they crowd into one another's hospital rooms and hold vigil, as they attend one another's memorials. The film's ability to cut away the politics, the rhetoric and the hysteria and focus on the emotions of the people touched by the disease is its greatest strength; it's what makes it the best dramatization of the disease's impact yet to be made. -- Hal Hinson
TIM NOAH, IN SEARCH OF THE WOW WOW WIBBLE WOGGLE WAZZIE WOODLE WOO!, G, 1990, 55 minutes, A & M Video. Emmy Award-winning singer and songwriter Tim Noah stars as an overgrown kid with an overactive imagination. He, and his imagination, encounter the Big Booger, Musty Moldy Melvin, Greasy Grimy Gertie and a host of others in a search for the Wow Wow etc. This Noazart Production contrasts a two-dimensional black-and-white set with the brightly colored figments of Noah's wildest imagination. The songs, and there are plenty, are all written and performed by Noah.
-- Dorothy Keenan
SHARON, LOIS & BRAM, THE ELEPHANT SHOW, "Soap Box Derby" and "Who Stole the Cookies?," G, 1990, 30 minutes each, A & M Video. Video reproduction of two episodes from the popular Canadian television series featuring the award- winning children's entertainers. Each video/television program features 10 songs that support a single theme. The brief story always includes the trio with a cast of children, their ever-pop ular sidekick, Elephant, a guest star, and plenty of together ness. Both are fine entertainment for children ages 2 to 8, but they are no more than television shows. You can see the program daily on the Nickelodeon cable network.
CHARLES THE CLOWN, G, 1990, 30 minutes, A & M Video. Charles Kraus is Charles the Clown, our video escort into a clown's world. He speaks in rhymes as he applies his clown makeup, big shoes, baggy pants and wig. He explains his makeover and some of the tricks of the trade. He employs puppets, and creates balloon figures with passing success. This is very low-key, and better-suited to the very young.
~ TOP TEN
(1) Total Recall (Carolco). (2) Pretty Woman (Touchstone). (3) Another 48 Hrs. (Paramount). (4) Bird on a Wire (MCA/Universal). (5) The Hunt for Red October (Paramount). (6) Back to the Future Part II (MCA/Uni versal). (7) Cadillac Man (Orion). (8) The Rocky Horror Picture Show (CBS/Fox). (9) Q & A (HBO). (10) Betsy's Wedding (Touchstone).
(1) Pretty Woman (Touchstone). (2) Peter Pan (Walt Disney). (3) Total Recall (Carolco). (4) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie (Family). (5) The Little Mermaid (Disney). (6) All Dogs Go to Heaven (MGM-UA). (7) Silver Anniversary: The Sound of Music (CBS/Fox). (8) Look Who's Talking (RAC/Columbia). (9) Madonna: The Immaculate Collection (Warner Reprise). (10) Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (Family).