**½/**** Image A- Sound A Extras B-
starring Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, Belinda Bauer, Lilia Skala
screenplay by Tom Hedley and Joe Eszterhas
directed by Adrian Lyne
by Bill Chambers "FLASHDANCE." It's hardly a coincidence the Rocky movies started this way, with the title scrolling horizontally across the screen like a ring girl's sign for the upcoming round. Then we fade up on our heroine, mythologized via obscured features, cycling confidently through the city to the anthemic strains of the late Irene Cara's "Flashdance... What a Feeling"--a montage that riffs on the iconic opening titles of Saturday Night Fever. And that, in a nutshell, is Flashdance: Rocky meets Saturday Night Fever, albeit with a female lead and considerably less dramatic tension than either. It is perhaps more that referencing these pop-culture juggernauts at the outset establishes a vernacular, translating a movie for the masses that only half-heartedly yields to formula. Flashdance is weird with a beard. It's elliptical and largely free of plot, featuring a modern-day fairytale heroine navigating an urban jungle awash in mimes and breakdancers (but curiously few cars), which is captured voyeuristically with long lenses and natural light like cinéma vérité on Mars.