The Great White Hype

Maybe not quite as good as the title suggestsand the great hype proves to be black as well as whitebut this satire directed by Reginald Hudlin about the corruption of the boxing business (and of show business, for that matter) is lots of fun, thanks to a sharp script (by Tony Hendra and Ron Shelton) and juicy comic acting by Samuel L. Jackson, Damon Wayans, Jeff Goldblum, Peter Berg, Jon Lovitz, Corbin Bernsen, and Cheech Marin. I suppose one could argue that this movie is guilty of the sort of hoopla it’s lampooning, and I couldn’t share its amusement at the expense of homeless people, but I enjoyed myself most of the time. (JR)

Published on 30 Apr 1996 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Barb Wire

A 1996 SF action replay of Blade Runner, Batman, Tank Girl, True Lies, and (believe it or not) Casablanca; its main source is a comic book, but it might as well be a computer. Mercenary dominatrix Barb Wire (Pamela Anderson) doesn’t look human enough for actual sex, but she’s ready for violence of all kinds, and there’s plenty of rain, rust, and grime to furnish the proper settings. David Hogan directed a scipt by Chuck Pfarrer and Ilene Chaiken, and some of the human furniture is played by Temuera Morrison, Jack Noseworthy, Victoria Rowell, Xander Berkeley, Steve Railsback, and Udo Kier. R, 90 min. (JR)

Published on 29 Apr 1996 in Featured Texts, by admin

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The Pallbearer

A college graduate (David Schwimmer) who still lives with his mother (Carol Kane) in Brooklyn comes into contact with the high school girl he used to have a crush on (Gwyneth Paltrow); he’s also asked to be a pallbearer and deliver the eulogy for a classmate he can’t even remember. He winds up having an affair with the deceased’s mother (Barbara Hershey, all but unrecognizable in a blond wig). The parallels with The Graduate are blatant, but this is only a fair-to-middling comedy by first-time director Matt Reeves with little sense of visual or satirical style. The actorly presences are pleasant and a few lines in the script (by Jason Katims and Reeves) are funny, but that’s about it; with Michael Rapaport, Toni Collette, and Bitty Schram. (JR)

Published on 29 Apr 1996 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Carried Away

A crippled schoolteacher (Dennis Hopper) who’s waiting for his cancer-stricken mother (Julie Harris) to die before he marries his widowed childhood heartthrob (Amy Irving) is seduced by a 17-year-old student (Amy Locane), the daughter of a retired major (Gary Busey) and his alcoholic wife. Adapted by Ed Jones from Jim Harrison’s novel Farmer and directed by Bruno Barreto (Irving’s husband), this drama tries to imitate Badlands by using the same cinematographer (Declan Quinn), but it looks nothing like that masterpiece and is of no particular visual interest. Not only does it not do justice to its rural Texas setting, one can’t even be sure just when it’s supposed to be taking place. But the performances are sufficiently well modulated and sincere to inch this a bit beyond Peyton Place territory, and even if I can’t quite buy this movie’s (or is it Harrison’s?) notion of what teenage girls are like, the actors kept me interested; with Hal Holbrook. (JR)

Published on 29 Apr 1996 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Loaded

A meandering 60s-style movie (1994) by writer-director Anna Campion (sister of Jane), filmed in England and focusing on what happens when seven students decide to shoot a 16-millimeter horror movie in and around a crumbling country mansion; things start to unravel after they all decide to take acid (with the director serving up weird sounds and images, including animation, to suggest their experiences). On the whole Campion’s much better at directing actors than at telling a story. With Oliver Milburn, Dearbhla Molloy, Danny Cunningham, Catherine McCormack, Thandie Newton, Nick Patrick, Biddy Hodson, and Matthew Eggleton. (JR)

Published on 23 Apr 1996 in Featured Texts, by admin

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