A fairly enjoyable piece of junk from Oliver Stone (1997) that occasionally recalls Dennis Hopper’s The Hot Spotsleazy southwest burg seething with creeps, sexpots, and protracted grudge matchesand is limited only by its occasional pseudoexperimental tics (a carryover from Natural Born Killers) and by its determination to extend its hyperbolic noir plot beyond two hours. Sean Penn plays a con man whose car breaks down en route to Las Vegas, where he’s supposed to settle a debt; Billy Bob Thornton, as the ornery mechanic who extends his stay, is the first in a string of overblown caricatures that for better or worse define the movieothers are offered by Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, Julie Hagerty, Powers Boothe, Joaquin Phoenix, Jon Voight, Claire Danes, Bo Hopkins, Laurie Metcalf, and Liv Tyler. The tricky and tricked-up script is by John Ridley. (JR)
Not the Thornton Wilder stage play, but a broad and laid-back comedy, about a Boston political aide (Janeane Garofalo) who travels to Ireland to trace the alleged roots of the hypocritical U.S. senator she’s working for and lands in the middle of a matchmaking festival. Evoking at times an English comedy from Ealing Studios in its relaxed feeling for character, this is a fairly pleasant if unexceptional piece of whimsy with only a modicum of dog reaction shots. The script by Karen Janszen, Louis Nowra, and Graham Linehan is based on a screenplay by Greg Dinner, which suggests this may be a remake, but who knows of what? Mark Joffe directed; with Denis Leary, David O’Hara, and Milo O’Shea. R, 96 min. (JR)
“The movie’s all told in voice-over–it’s cheaper that way.” The last words in this energetic, low-budget, 33-minute film by Jim Mendiola, spoken by its narrator, Molly (Mariana Vasquez)–a 21-year-old Chicana who drums for an all-girl punk band and is working on the fifth issue of her zine, this one in Super-8–are a pretty fair description of what Mendiola is up to, technically speaking. Culturally this black-and-white effort is even more interesting, especially as it describes what alienates Molly from her more traditional, Mexican-oriented dad (David Mercado Gonzales). To be shown with other short films; Mendiola will lead a discussion. Tres en Uno, 1769 W. Greenleaf, Friday, September 12, 7:00, 773-764-8634; also Calles y Suenos, 1900 S. Carpenter, Sunday, September 14, 7:00, 312-243-4243.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.