Since the giddy declaration of a Hollywood renaissance in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (1968), collections of Kael's New Yorker reviews have served to measure the shifting quality of the movies. The consciously clinical title of this, her eighth collection, signals how mechanical and slipshod she has found so many of the movies released since 1983 to be. While there are some performances, images, and even whole movies for her to celebrate, Kael charts a negative course through a string of popular releases. Flashdance, The Big Chill, Terms of Endearment, Ghostbusters, Country, Beverly Hills Cop, Desperately Seeking Susan , etc., are dismissed as hollow, inept, or crassly calculated. While Kael hints that the younger audiences filmmakers court may partly be the problem, her book lacks the longer think pieces of earlier collections in which she reflected on the reasons for such difficulties. Marshall Deutelbaum, English Dept., Purdue Univ., W. Lafayette, Ind.