Featured Post: Binary System Podcast #83 – Zombies Run with special guest Hannah
Featured Post: Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Featured Post: Review – Optimus Prime #7
Featured Post: Review – Alien: Covenant
  • Thumbnal: Binary System Podcast #83 – Zombies Run with special guest Hannah
  • Thumbnal: Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Thumbnal: Review – Optimus Prime #7
  • Thumbnal: Review – Alien: Covenant

Comments Off on The Game
Cinerina

The Game

Posted by: |

We sat, satisfied as if after a large meal, as the credits rolled. Outside the theatre, at three in the morning, clusters of people stood around with gleams in their eyes, discussing what they had just seen – usually it’s just our little movie-going group that does that. Grins and wide, excited eyes adorned the faces of my companions and myself. We did not say much along the lines of “Ooh and that part where he does the thing and then it – ” ‘Yeah!” because all we had to say was, “That was one cool, great, excellent film!”

On the drive home, non-illustrative but accurate comments popped like bubbles: “Cool.” “Wow.” “Yeah!.” “Damn!”

The previews for The Game might almost give too much away, so please don’t expect any plot revelations in this review. Suffice it to say that it is a very interesting story compounded by a suspense that myself and my viewing friends agreed was Hitchcockian. Imagine your favorite Twilight Zone episode, or North by Northwest without the boring parts, and how you reveled in the unnerving feeling of not knowing exactly what was REALLY happening to the lead character. Imagine the late-90’s paranoia fever spreading in the wake of the X-Files applied with a very masterful brush and NOT involving a government agency or aliens.

MAN, I really dug this movie. It is engaging (2 hrs and 13 minutes flew by) and unnerving and exciting. There are some genuine “oh my god no no oh my god!” moments and a really whacked conclusion. Hey, sounds like Seven. But it’s not Seven. It is, however, a 10. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

A person I know was talking about plot elements and saying that they were too open ended, that the premise was flawed because there is no way to engineer so many elements (you will see what I am talking about) – my argument is that they interfered when they needed to and they didn’t when they didn’t and…well, this review is making no sense.

Director David Fincher, once a black mark in my book for murdering the Alien saga with Alien3, and who has since redeemed himself with Seven, is now my flavor of the month.

The Game is much warmer and richer than Seven (but really, he had nowhere to go but up, didn’t he?) but it has that captivating uneasiness that made Seven such a hit. It does skip the moralizing on the part of the bad guy that Seven has – because really, who is the bad guy in The Game? Michael Douglas, whatever you may think of him as an actor (I like him), is better than any other star I can think of at playing a control freak losing control, or combining intense intent with debilitating fear. It worked for him in War of the Roses and Falling Down especially. Other characters don’t look like leads in a movie, so we don’t know if they are important or not. Extras always blend into the background, and lead actors always look more distinctive – it’s a casting science to which I have been directly privy. The Game stars MIchael Douglas and Sean Penn as his brother and a jillion extras and no one knows who will play what size part. Man, I can’t tell you ANYTHING. But I am saying all kinds of double meanings here, trust me.

In the preview you see a wooden clown, a classic symbol of creepiness, and then you see a lot of unclear, frightening looking situations. This is as much as I will reveal to you – just go see this movie and we’ll discuss later. The Game will be excellent watercooler fodder for some time to come. Even innocuous decisions that we as audience members routinely make while watching a movie (i.e. the bum standing by the phone is just a bum and maybe he will get a line asking for change but he plays no part in the bigger picture) are worthless to you now.

Another great, retrospective twist (maybe I should have waited a couple of days before writing this) is that we, as American audiences, are used to having that kind of control over our movie-watching experience: The cowboys with black hats will start a gun fight. The ensigns with red shirts will get eaten by the aliens. The dog will live, the kids will make it out of the subway, all these conventions allow us to sit back and watch the Main Story unfold, confident that subplots like the life of the neighbor’s dog are taken care of. The Game wrests control of that moviewatching experience until the end, where, like Douglas’ character, we don’t know what to think at all, and, also like him, we just have to hang on and react the way we would react and let the ride take us.

Wow, this movie is better than I thought. Either that, or I am a brilliant reviewer. :)

I found the movie to be visually stimulating (but not annoyingly so), psychologically engaging, and I wanna see it again very soon. And I will pay full price the second time, too. Should you? Does Rose Kennedy have a black dress?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Game revisited – two months later

Rental

If you haven’t seen The Game already, run out and rent it. I will do my best not to give anything away in this review.
I really liked this movie when it came out, I liked it a lot. My friend hadn’t seen it, so we rented it. Simple enough. A second viewing gets demoted to rental because it doesn’t have the better-the-second time slyness that Dead Again has, nor does it somehow make you forget the ending like Running on Empty does. It is still interesting, and it’s fun to try and look for clues along the way, much as with Presumed Innocent. However, Fincher is so determined to not let you figure out what is going on, the Game is played so perfectly, that the joy of repeated viewings is diminished by the general absence of sly and subtle arrows to the end.
I read in some magazine that in one scene in a car, Sean Penn is supposed to be holding back laughter, which we would know to look for the 2nd time around to show his role in the thing. I think the author was exaggerating Penn’s behavior in that scene. But that is the kind of thing I would have wanted to see on a second showing – all the almosts and the wow-imagine-if-he’s that make a complicated story a pleasure to revisit.
Dead Again I think I have seen maybe 10 or more times. Every time I get something new out of it and it is just delicious to see how they give the ending away from a retrospective perspective (that doesn’t sound right!). If you have seen the Game and Dead Again once each, rent Dead Again and just treasure your memories of the Game. More satisfying that way.

MPAA Rating R-language, some violence and sexuality.
Release date 9/16/97
Time in minutes 128
Director David Fincher
Studio Polygram Releases

Tags:
Comments Off on The Full Monty
Cinerina

The Full Monty

Posted by: |

The Full Monty is a British film about 6 guys who, down on their luck, decide to make a bundle stripping. The guys are (well, all but one) are not your average Chippendale dancer, they are old or fat or skinny or weird or conservative. It is extremely amusing to watch these men together, building up their courage and bailing out on the project and everything.

The movie is very American for a British film, in that people getting into trouble is no big deal and scofflaws are regarded as cool – The Full Monty is also a bit pat like an American film tends to be – for the sake of propelling the story, sometimes conflicts and things are dealt with too easily. But it’s also a film that would never work if it were American, yet the reason it works for us here is because it follows the American formulas of conflict.

OK, imagine a movie with….Danny Glover, Willem DaFoe, Jeffrey Jones (you know, the principal from Ferris Bueller), Weird Al Yankovic, Jim Belushi, and some hot sexy young man (everyone’s tastes differ here). This would be the American translation of the types in Monty’s cast. Now imagine them all depressed and unemployed and down on their luck and deciding to strip for cash.

Sounds like a Chris Farley movie, but with more ridicule and cruelty and pain for our boys before a painfully inevitable ending and everyone gets a woman or their woman back and it seems very unlikely that it would have turned out that way, but we would cheer.

The Full Monty is not like that. The characters are likable, they are respectable even in their
misfortune, their pain is inflicted not by their stripping but by their NOT stripping. We laugh with them and not at them like we would (hopefully) for some git like David Spade. The people around them accept them or don’t in a more warm and believable way. It’s the difference between asking directions in Yorkshire, GB, or asking directions in Manhattan.

This is a very nice, funny, enjoyable film, and don’t worry, guys, you don’t have the penis parade you had in The Pillow Book. The only reason it’s matinee price instead of full price is that I felt that it all went too well and too American-style easy, and I felt cheated of clever British twists and cinematic yummies that I of course cannot define but that are unique to British (well, United Kingdom really) humor. But it’s fun and it may cure your impotence! Catch a matinee if it’s showing in your town at all!

MPAA Rating R for language and some nudity.
Release date 9/15/97
Time in minutes 95
Director Peter Cattaneo
Studio Miramax

Tags:
Comments Off on The Pillow Book
Cinerina

The Pillow Book

Posted by: |

Undecided? Matinee?

Well, I know this is a long time to wait for a review from me, but really, I cannot decide what I thought about this movie. Some would say that is recommendation in and of itself (you know, the old “cinema should make you think” attitude), but it is not necessarily a recommendation to slap down some hard-earned money.

The Pillow Book is not for everyone. It is not for the xenophobic, homophobic, or that strange chunk of middle America that keeps “Family Matters” and “Home Improvement” on the air. It is not a film for people who are uncomfortable with nudity, especially male nudity. Scads of it.

It *is* a film for Ewan McGregor fans (like me!) and for people who like really interesting lighting tricks and Japanese calligraphy and the occasional naked Asian woman.

I liked the story, I found it interesting the entire time. I liked seeing Ewan McGregor naked. I liked the interesting lighting tricks (projected images on the walls and so on) even though it was totally random and clearly for effect, rather than a design element in the “real story” (that is to say, I didn’t think the character had projected images as part of her home decor though it would be in keeping with her wackiness).

I hated this screen-in-screen conceit of the directors – while occasionally it was an interesting way to propel the story by showing us a scene in a small screen as it is being talked about in the large screen, much of the time it was like being in Best Buy with 4 different shows on the demos, except more annoying. And instead of propelling the scene with the inserted screens, they could have just stopped showing these bozos walking around and just cut to where they were walking. Director Peter Greenaway (The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover) would continue the shot on the walking and in-screen the place they were going to. I didn’t see The Cook etc., but I understand that I would probably dislike it.

Did I mention Ewan McGregor naked? And lots of handsome Asian men (and some not-so-handsome as well) naked and covered with beautiful calligraphy. It’s a film that thinks it is sexier than it is, but it’s still pretty sexy. Not American sexy, not Baywatch and Skinemax, but like actually reveling in skin and smells and things. It has a whiff of secret woman thoughts and pretty light and some GHASTLY music.

I don’t mean to be American and closed minded and all that but the weird “make way to make way” song is really irritating and played too often at important moments. You’ll see what I mean.It’s an interesting movie, not for everyone, but the story is engaging – read the book and pay full price for that! The aesthetics of the filmmaking overwhelmed the story at crucial moments.

MPAA Rating BC-17
Release date 9/12/97
Time in minutes 126
Director Peter Greenaway
Studio Le Studio Canal +/Columbia

Tags:
Comments Off on Mimic
Cinerina

Mimic

Posted by: |

The first time I saw a preview for Mimic, I thought OH BOY YEAH! Two Oscar winners, a Tony winner, and a Merchant Ivory darling combined with big spooky bugs and fear and suspense and the whole bit. I got all that, sure. It was definitely exciting and I was nervous watching scenes waiting for the payoff. Some things were odd, and I wondered if the director’s cut wouldn’t have gone more smoothly.

Without giving anything away, the characters played by F. Murray Abraham (you might remember him from Amadeus) and the small Hispanic child don’t seem to have a lot to do with the story. It’s not the crime of overcasting as demonstrated by Cop Land, but it’s still odd. Mimic refreshingly breaks a lot of the classic rules of filmmaking (again, I don’t want to give anything away, but people who you just assume will not die, do so), which I appreciated, overall.

One of the rules of filmmaking, however, which is populate your film with people that fit their setting, is just ignored. These are the most cooperative, well-informed, safety-eschewing, and altruistic New Yorkers I have ever seen.

Mira Sorvino, last seen in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, is actually playing a character more along the lines of her real self – extremely, unnervingly intelligent. Jeremy Northam is her husband (throwing a pie in the face of the hero and heroine having plot-distracting sexual tension that culminates in a big we-did-it! kiss at the end – also refreshing) who comes along for the bughunting adventure – but his American accent is only slightly better than Cary Elwes’. But it’s OK – he’s so CUTE!

Basically, Mira genetically designed these weird bugs, the Judas Breed, to destroy the disease carrying cockroach population that is killing all the children. The bugs adapt/evolve past their genetic programming (see: Jurassic Park) and cause all sorts of unpleasant mayhem (see: Aliens). They take it upon themselves to kick some Judas Breed butt. (see:Frankenstein and Them) Meanwhile, people join forces with them (see: The Lost World) and get killed or not, as plot permits. The bugs continue to improve upon themselves (see: The Relic) and Mira and Jeremy get in some precarious situations which they should not be able to escape (see: Candyman, others).

Basically, Mimic is really derivative but mixes some originality into the soup. I was unable to get an opinion from my entomologist friend on the science aspect, as she has not seen it yet.

If it’s only 85, go play outside, ya heat-sensitive Yankees! :) Grab a large drink (it’s short enough you won’t have to go to the bathroom) and kick back for a Matinee Price.

MPAA Rating R for terror/violence and language.
Release date 9/2/97
Time in minutes 105
Director Guillermo del Toro
Studio Dimension/Miramax

Tags:
Comments Off on In The Company Of Men
Cinerina

In The Company Of Men

Posted by: |

I resisted this movie because of the unflinching mysogyny it flaunted, and then I finally saw it. In the Company of Men is definitely aware of the fact that it is about a bad guy, and even the characters all know he is a bad guy, yet there is no retribution and no Hollywood style Glenn-Close-coming-back-to-life-and-killing-Michael-Douglas epi-epilogue. By far, no. The actors, all newbies, are great, and the deaf secretary is much more multilayered than I would have expected from such a pigcentric movie. Our main bad guy, Chad (we can’t recall the actor’s name which is a shame – Aaaron Eckhart? Eckman?), well, I have dated him. Not the actor, but the GUY he plays. And I do not know a female alive except MAYBE my sister (who is 16) who has not dated this guy. Ladies out there, if you meet a man named Gregory T. Fxxxxxx, he *is* Chad, so run away.

Man, I have been waiting for a forum to out this guy forever!

Anyway, the film sometimes smacks of student film (it’s a visceral thing) and sometimes has the sweet smell of cinematic polish. It’s well made and it’s engaging even though you SO know what will happen. It has some awkward moments where it seems the filmmakers (I am just flush with data aren’t I?) forgot what they were making the movie about. But the people are real, the feelings are real, and the guys are jerks. The workplace in which their misadventures are set is so sketchily dealt with that you have no idea what they do for a living, yet they talk about work all the time. Writing-wise, this really impressed me. I would like to see a screwball mistaken identity comedy out of the writer(s). The impetus for the mens’ behavior is a little weak but hey, isn’t it always?

I say, go see it. But ladies, you pay matinee price or get a man to take you, because you will feel stupid about whatever Chad you dated in the past. Guys, be understanding and pay full price BUT DON’T YOU GO AND GET ANY IDEAS.

*Note: Of course, it’s talented chameleon Aaron Eckhart; this was written when the imdb was still run like Wikipedia, all volunteer posting. So quaint! Also name above semi-more-anonymous to protect the wankers.

MPAA Rating R for language and emotional abuse.
Release date 8/1/97
Time in minutes 93
Director Neil LaBute
Studio Sony Pictures

Comments Off on Event Horizon
Cinerina

Event Horizon

Posted by: |

Event Horizon has gotten a lot of bad press which, after seeing the movie, I do not entirely agree with, but it is NO Fifth Element. The short version is it is 2001 meets Alien (the first one) with a dash of Hellraiser. A bunch of astronauts pop out to pick up a ship that disappeared and reappeared near Neptune (the Event Horizon is the ship, as well as a reference to the point at which a ship would cross over from less than light to more than light speed, kinda).

Many people I have asked (including my rocket scientist friend) have concurred that the story is stupid and science is all wrong. BUT there has been some grudging concession that it was quite scary and exciting too. I found it to be interesting (I went in knowing that the science would be all wrong but let me tell you, MOST people don’t know the kind of science these folks are talking about…it didn’t bother me, OK?) and I found it to be quite scary and quite unnerving and REALLY loud (could have been the theatre too but I rarely find movies too loud) and pretty disturbing.

There is some metaphysical “I’ve seen things you don’t want to imagine” type stuff which I always find tiresome – like the Lovecraftian convention of something so horrible, all one can do is tell me how a character went mad in a second looking at it – YAWN.

However, director Paul (not Poul) Anderson seems to agree with my distaste for that tell-don’t-show philosophy, and flashes, Exorcist like, some really ghastly visuals to rev us up. Oogie! This is where Hellraiser comes in. Some personal psychological terror is involved, some booga booga to the nth power, and some really unnecessarily cool looking sets make this movie quite spooky. There is a whiff of Stargate and Dune to the production design – that is a good thing.

You’ll notice that the two movies I think parented Event Horizon are two slowly paced, quiet 70’s style suspense sci fi films. The interesting (and therefore merited) part of Event Horizon is how it captures that old school style of spooky spooky weirdness and taking its time to get around to what it has to say without being all slow and boring about it. I admit it, I am a spoiled, attention-span-starved early MTV kinda chick; I have used Alien to overcome insomnia (but Aliens is one of my top 5 films of all time!) and this film has the pacing that works in 2001 and Alien (and some direct shot and plot ripoff, in my opinion) but with a more modern tempo that keeps me interested.

If this means nothing to you, and you just wanna know if it is stupid or not, here is your answer: It’s kinda stupid, but it will booga booga the crap out of you. Not a good first date movie either, unless you want to filter out squeamish people. I have no patience with squeamish people (eww grosss that is disgusting!) but this movie has almost every bodily mutilation to test the most squeamish-intolerant of us all. Try a Matinee Price showing.

MPAA Rating R -strong violence/gore, language and some nudity.
Release date 7/28/97
Time in minutes 95
Director Paul Anderson
Studio Paramount Pictures

Tags:
Comments Off on Air Force One
Cinerina

Air Force One

Posted by: |

All I can say is, I’m voting for Harrison Ford! Ok, it’s not ALL I can say. It was butt-kicking! I bit off all my nails and I really didn’t know what was going to happen next. As Kevin put it, it is the best permutation of Die-Hard-On-A-Plane we’ve seen in a long time – it was less gung- ho macho silly than Executive Decision, but with all the cool bang em up stuff and innovative good guys and human interest moments.

It’s not as explosive as Con-Air but not such a stretch from a motivational point of view. Even as Harrison dangles in danger, we know in our hearts he will win because he’s Harrison Ford and he is the Prez, but we also have no idea how or if maybe this once, he won’t! Pres. Marshall is canny, though, and we love him for it

I saw this with a number of friends, only one of which had his BS-O-Meter going off, which disappointed me. He found it to be silly and improbable – but do you go to movies to see the paperboy arrive every morning at 6:30 or do you go to see the paperboy eaten by a dinosaur?

Which is a more interesting movie? Terrorism happens all the time in real life and every time you think, my God, how could this happen? It seems unreal. Why should this situation seem real and mundane? They hijacked AFO!!!!

An article in Entertainment Weekly detailed the could-have-happeneds and could-not-have-happends from the film and many of the things my friend complained about could have happened, they just haven’t happened in real life so far. Other ones were normal Hollywood stretches that made some exciting movie moments – it was great the way information was handled in this screenplay. Some stuff we have no way of knowing if it could happen or not thanks to the classified nature of the most bad-ass flying fortress in the world.

If you don’t know the premise, the president and a pile of other people are taken hostage on board Air Force One, the top of the top of security and protectiveness in the world. It’s the most classified flying document in the world too, so it was difficult for the production team to know what was REALLY possible and what was not…as one of the producers said, you can’t just call up the Secret Service and say, “If I were a terrorist trying to hijack Air Force One, how would I go about it?”

Harrison Ford IS the President of the United States, trumpet the print ads, and he really is – he is a mite altruistic for a president who would be elected in this day and age, but by gum, you believe him. Bill Clinton understandably LOVES this flick – I know I would dig a movie about someone with my job kicking some serious butt in the name of what’s right and to protect my family.

Lots of great tension, groovy visual effects, and Gary Oldman’s surprisingly human bad guy. You *know* he’s the bad guy the moment he walks on screen, and you might wonder that the Secret Service men don’t think, man, he looks like trouble, but he is both more evil and less evil than we would expect from a summer action blockbuster.

Non-action movie fans will enjoy it, patriots will enjoy it, and Harrison Ford fans will enjoy it. It’s fun and exciting and ohmygod ohnonono! Go see it and much down – I believe this guy will get re-elected! Get your full price tickets and board Air Force One!

MPAA Rating R for violence
Release date 7/28/1997
Time in minutes 118
Director Wolfgang Petersen
Studio Columbia Pictures

Tags:
Comments Off on Operation Condor
Cinerina

Operation Condor

Posted by: |

I love Jackie Chan. He is often compared to Gene Kelly for his artistry with his body, and rightfully so. Operation Condor is one of many older Chan movies being dusted off and rereleased in the US with English dubbing and a new soundtrack. I believe this one came out in Hong Kong in 1991.

It’s a parody/homage of the Indiana Jones franchise, complete with idol-robbing Nazis, and
spear-chucking desert folk. However, unlike First Strike and Supercop (Police Story 3) and even Rumble in the Bronx, Condor is less about the amazing things Jackie can do than the amazing places they have him doing things in.

Don’t worry, there is plenty to amaze you and planty of serious injuries in the outtakes, but the intricate choreography of say, his ladder fight or the refrigerator/shopping cart dance of death, is lost in favor of a quick leap and a quick kick but WOW we’re in a Nazi munitions dump! COOL we’re in a remote desert marketplace! HOLY MACKEREL we’re in a real working wind tunnel (this was the best scene, both for humor and for WOW COOL HOLY MACKEREL).

Chan directs this feature, and maybe that is why he spends less time on himself than his other director, Stanley Tong, does. The humor is present but much goofier, and Jackie’s character isn’t as well developed as in the other films released in the US so far. It’s still a Jackie Chan movie and for that, you should go. Here in Austin it was playing in what we call the Lincoln “puppet theatre” – a smaller non-THX annex usually relegated to late-runs and low-box office draws. There are plenty of beautiful women and really spiffy props and locations, but not enough Jackie.

Encourage the studio to keep releasing these great movies, go see Operation Condor.

MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 7/22/1997
Time in minutes 90
Director Jackie Chan
Studio Miramax

Tags:
Comments Off on George of the Jungle
Cinerina

George of the Jungle

Posted by: |

Before all the George maniacs out there start into me, please let me say that I have never seen a George of the Jungle cartoon. I am told that this live-action film was basically true to the form, except for making Ursula more sympathetic. So, with that in mind, I watched it like a Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon, and found it to be very silly and enjoyable – this is not Beckett, people, this is Brendan Fraser talking with no adjectives or articles while wearing a buttflap (which, for me, was worth the price of admission), and a menagerie of well-executed animals having fun with him.

It was totally silly and tree-smashing, but still had some hip little clever jokes and some predictable jokes that felt familiar *even though I have never seen the cartoon before.*

Kids will like it quite a bit despite the mushy stuff (and if the actress playing Ursula and Brendan Fraser did not actually do it at some point I will be very, very surprised.) It’s definitely a different movie than A Simple Wish but I think more grownups will like George better. Kudos for a Swahili cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.”

John Cleese provides the voice for an ape named Ape, CGI provides the voice for the elephant-dog Shep and there’s a great toucan who might be a puppet or might be well-trained (Jim Henson’s Creature Shop rides again. ) A cool treehouse, silly villains, funny porters, and an amusing (if pigeonholing) turn by Thomas Haden Church as Lyle, Ursula’s obnoxious fiance-to-not-be make this movie even better.

Lovely scenery – and the Hawaiian locations weren’t bad either! Did I mention Brendan Fraser was almost naked? It’s rare these days (except in a Joel Schumacher film) that the male body gets any feature when there are women to be seen instead, so for you ladies out there sick of Cameron Diaz and Julia Roberts, here are shiny pecs and gluts for ya.

Fraser was nice as a simple, sweet jungle boy with the natural artlessness of the wild – very all-around-nice-guy, as he should be. I have actually never seen a Brendan Fraser movie before this one – is that his real voice? It’s not brilliant, but it’s nice summertime fun – and squeaky clean at that.

Grab a bag of popcorn and remember it’s not dorky, it’s cleverly ironic – at least, Rocky and Bullwinkle are, and it’s the same idea.

Try a matinee on a hot summer Saturday, with popcorn. Or a soda.

MPAA Rating PG
Release date 7/21/1997
Time in minutes 92
Director Sam Weisman
Studio Walt Disney

Tags:
Comments Off on Cop Land
Cinerina

Cop Land

Posted by: |

Watching this movie, I got the distinct sense that there was a lot left on the cutting room floor. Like an actual movie. What was left is a series of sequences that look like they relate but really don’t – why did Stallone wreck his car?

This serious film, dripping with testosterone, has been widely touted as Sylvester Stallone’s foray into serious actor-dom. In his defense, there was nothing at all wrong with his performance, or anyone else’s – all the big names in this movie were working very hard to make some sense out of a painfully empty and seemingly stupid script.

I am amazed ANY characterization occurred at all, with what little these folks had to work with. Robert DeNiro, Cathy Moriarty, Annabella Sciorra, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert Patrick (you know, the T1000), Janeane Garafalo (and why was she so wasted?), and Michael Rapaport are also horribly underused or wrongly used or just plain overcast in this film.

Lots of moments appear to be leading to someplace interesting, only to crash and burn (unresolved) under the weight of a terribly portentious score by Howard Shore.Dun dun da-dun! He is reaching for a sandwich! Daa da da DUNN! He bit into it! CUT TO: Car driving along street, driving beat and lots of horns and drums as the driver looks at THE SKYLINE! DUN DUNDAAAA!

There was no reason to use all these expensive, scenery chewing people if they were not going to be portrayed as someone interesting. People were sleeping around and no one cared. All kinds of terrible mayhem happened and I wondered how Air Bud’s game was going. I sensed I should have had some emotions at some point but perhaps it was just the music. I was bored silly. I didn’t care about anyone, but as soon as I thought about getting interested in the Robert Altman-like scattering of random and unrelated plot points, they dropped the thread.

I still don’t know what the movie was about. I say Catch It on HBO because it’s only fair to Sly that you see how hard he worked. But for heaven’s sake, don’t pay any extra money to see it. And Janeane Garafalo, who I love, why was she in this movie???

MPAA Rating R for violence, strong language and brief nudity.
Release date 7/14/97
Time in minutes 100
Director James Mangold
Studio Miramax

Tags: