HIS GREATEST FIGHT WAS FOR JUSTICE. In the early 1980s, a Brooklyn kid (Vicellous Reon Shannon) living in Toronto becomes interested in the case of Rubin ”Hurricane” Carter (Denzel Washington), the middleweight boxer who was sent to prison in 1966 after a triple murder. One of Norman Jewison’s last films follows in the tradition of … Continue reading The Hurricane
FIVE CRIMINALS. ONE LINE UP. NO COINCIDENCE. After seeing the drama Public Access at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival, Kevin Spacey went to the party after the screening, walked up to the young men who had written and directed it and told them that he wanted a role in their next movie. At the time, … Continue reading The Usual Suspects: Catching Up with Keyser
THEY’RE NOT GIGOLOS, THEY’RE GENTLEMEN. Young, aspiring writer Louis Ives (Paul Dano), who has a thing for the 1920s, rents a room in Henry Harrison’s (Kevin Kline) New York apartment and becomes a student in the art of being an “extra man”, entertaining wealthy, old women. The directing duo love to tell stories about eccentrics, … Continue reading The Extra Man
A COP ON THE EDGE… New Orleans cop Wes Block (Clint Eastwood) tries to find a man who has killed several young women, but his own lewd behavior makes him almost a suspect. Eastwood may look like Dirty Harry once again, but this thriller is more ambitious than the previous year’s Sudden Impact. The script has provocative … Continue reading Tightrope
A LOVE STORY IN THE CITY OF DREAMS. Small-town girl Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) arrives in Hollywood to try her luck; she finds an amnesiac woman (Laura Elena Harring) hiding in her aunt’s house. After the excellent but conventional The Straight Story (1999), director David Lynch went back to weirdness. Originally a pilot for a … Continue reading Mulholland Dr.
HIGH SCHOOL IS DIFFICULT… FOR A 47-YEAR-OLD EX-CON JUNKIE CRACK WHORE. 47-year-old ex-con Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris) promises her comatose dad (Dan Hedaya) to go back to high school. That’s the plot and fans of the original TV show (which ran from 1999-2000) will recognize it. One has to wonder why they didn’t try to … Continue reading Strangers With Candy
DON’T GET MAD. GET EVERYTHING. Elise, Annie and Brenda (Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Bette Midler) were best friends in college; after reuniting many years later, they find they’re all divorced and decide to exact revenge on their exes. The 1980s had Fonda, Parton and Tomlin getting even in Nine to Five; the 1990s equivalent is less entertaining. … Continue reading The First Wives Club
HE WAS TRICKY. THEY WERE BETTER. Teen girls Betsy Jobs (Kirsten Dunst) and Arlene Lorenzo (Michelle Williams) witness the Watergate scandal unfold when they are hired by President Richard Nixon (Dan Hedaya) to walk his dog. Maybe the writers had sampled some of the cannabis-laced cookies that are featured in the film; having Nixon as … Continue reading Dick
BREAKING UP IS HARD. Marty (Dan Hedaya) hires a private eye to kill his wife (Frances McDormand) and her lover (John Getz), but everything goes wrong in the dark Texas night. The Coen brothers’ debut piece is a low-budget film noir reminiscent of The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), but lacking the absurd comedy that would become … Continue reading Blood Simple.
Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd), a member of the slightly morbid Addams family, suddenly returns from the Bermuda Triangle… but he is in fact an impostor. This movie version of Charles Addams’s cartoon actually has more in common with the classic TV show. Former cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld’s previous collaboration with the Coen brothers has left a mark; … Continue reading The Addams Family