Once Around

Holly Hunter’s best performance since Broadcast News: here she plays an Italian American still neurotically tied to her parents (Danny Aiello and Gena Rowlands) who’s looking for romance in her hometown of Boston. It’s a comedy with tragic undertones well scripted by Malia Scotch-Marmo and effectively directed by Lasse Hallstrom (My Life as a Dog); Laura San Giacomo plays her just-married younger sister, and Richard Dreyfuss plays the vulgar, assertive condo salesman from a Lithuanian family background who sweeps Hunter off her feet. Beautifully acted by all the leads (Hunter and San Giacomo have especially good broad Bostonian accents), sensitive and acute about family dynamics, this is a first-class entertainment that goes through some unexpected changes of tone (rather like Terms of Endearment) without ever losing its footing; the focus on family interactions is so concentrated that we never see much of the characters beyond this context, but they’re so well defined and developed that it hardly matters. With Roxanne Hart and Danton Stone. (900 N. Michigan)

Published on 18 Jan 1991 in Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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Ticket of No Return

Of the many films by Ulrike Ottinger that I have seen, this lovely 1979 camp item has given me the most unbridled pleasure. A nameless heroine (Tabea Blumenschein) arrives in West Berlin on a one-way ticket in order to drink herself to death, and three prim ladies known as Social Question (Magdalena Montezuma), Accurate Statistics (Orpha Termin), and Common Sense (Monika Von Cube) stand around and kibitz. Thanks to the heroine’s wardrobe, the diverse settings, the witty dialogue, the imaginative mise en scene, and an overall celebratory and festive spirit, this is a continuous string of delights–worth anybody’s time. (Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Friday, January 4, 6:00, 443-3737)

Published on 04 Jan 1991 in Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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Out of the Mush [The Best Movies of 1990]

Please go to

http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.net/1991/01/out-of-the-mush/

Published on 04 Jan 1991 in Featured Texts, Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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Shakes The Clown

An alcoholic clown named Shakes (comedian and, here, writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait) working for a rent-a-clown agency in a town called Paulukaville is framed for the murder of his boss (Paul Dooley) by another clown whose appearance seems modeled after Jack Nicholson’s Joker. Julie Brown plays Shakes’s girlfriend, a dumb-blond waitress and bowling champ who speaks with a heavy lisp, and most of the remaining humor consists of clowns talking dirty or snorting coke and a plentiful supply of vomit jokes. Basically a redneck drive-in movie in style and delivery, but it played at the 1991 Chicago International Film Festivalfor reasons known only to God and Michael Kutza. (JR)

Published on 01 Jan 1991 in Featured Texts, by admin

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