Queen Margot

The most oversold French movie of 1994, rivaled only by the previous year’s Germinal (which was directed by the producer of this one, Claude Berri). This unpleasant period spectacle of sweat, gore, grime, and dry humpingbased on Alexandre Dumas’ novel, and built around the bloody intrigues ensuing in 1572 from the forced marriage of Marguerite of Valois (Isabelle Adjani), the French king’s Catholic sister, nicknamed Margot, and Henri of Navarre (Daniel Auteuil), an unkempt Protestantwas reduced with the director’s input from 164 to 143 minutes, apparently to acquire an R rating. I haven’t seen the longer version, but they still haven’t cut out all the boring parts, and what anyone could have liked about this movie to begin with is a mystery to me. Patrice Chereau, the director, who wrote the script with Daniele Thompson, has a reputation as one of the best opera and theater directors around, and his previous feature, L’homme blesse, has many defenders. But apart from the production values, I would never have guessed it on the evidence offered here. With Jean-Hugues Anglade, Vincent Perez, Virna Lisi, and Jean-Claude Brialy. (JR)

Published on 13 Dec 1994 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Drop Zone

Former U.S. marshal Wesley Snipes is hot on the trail of a team of skydiving computer crooks (including Gary Busey) who killed his brother, but who cares? This is a stupid, cliche-ridden, characterless action romp (1994), directed by John Badham from a script by Peter Barsocchini and John Bishop, and the absence of much moment-to-moment story logic isn’t much compensated for by the skydiving sequences, which aren’t a patch on those in Point Break. With Yancy Butler and Michael Jeter. (JR)

Published on 06 Dec 1994 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Nostradamus

A quirky and intermittently interesting period drama about the 16th-century humanitarian doctor and involuntary prophet who allegedly foretold, among other things, the French Revolution, the rise and fall of the British Empire, World War I and World War II, Hitler, the John F. Kennedy assassination, and the moon landing (though whether he also foretold black-and-white newreels and TV documentary footage, complete with the right camera angles, as this film implies, is something else again). Working from an OK script by Knut Boeser and Piers Ashworth, director Roger Christian, a former art director, does a good job of holding one’s interest without insulting one’s intelligence, and the performancesincluding Tcheky Karyo as Nostradamus, Amanda Plummer as Catherine de Medicis, and Julia Ormond, Assumpta Serna, Rutger Hauer, and F. Murray Abrahamare all serviceable. (JR)

Published on 06 Dec 1994 in Featured Texts, by admin

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