Let’s Talk About Sex

Troy Beyera seven-year veteran of Sesame Street who went on to play the female lead in Robert Wise’s Rooftops and script B.A.P.S.wrote, directed, and appears in this low-budget independent feature. She plays a Miami advice columnist trying to launch a TV talk show in which young women talk about sex; Paget Brewster and Randi Ingerman play her two best friends, who help her shoot her pilot and talk a lot about their own sex lives. The sound bites of real interviews that punctuate this romantic comedy-drama give it some flavor and raunchy directness, but the movie turns phony every time a big emotional scene is called for and fatuous elevator music (its volume turned way up) chimes in. With Joseph C. Phillips, Michaline Babich, and Tina Nguyen. (JR)

Published on 31 Aug 1998 in Featured Texts, by admin

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The Governess

The Governess

Like Jane Campion’s The Piano, this first feature by writer-director Sandra Goldbacher is less a story about the 19th century than a fantasy about the 19th century, and as such even more erotic. The singular Minnie Driver (Circle of Friends, Good Will Hunting) plays a stagestruck Sephardic Jew in London in the 1840s. After her father is murdered she has to support her surviving family and, concealing her Jewish identity, secures a job as a governess on a remote Scottish island. The man of the house (Tom Wilkinson) is an inventor experimenting with photography, and after serving as his lab assistant she becomes romantically involved with him, though she’s also pursued by his troubled adolescent son (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Goldbacher’s story is not always convincing as history, but it’s absorbing as a sort of gothic romance and sensually quite potent, and Driver carries it all with grace and authority. With Florence Hoath, Harriet Walter, and Bruce Myers. Evanston, Pipers Alley. –Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

Published on 21 Aug 1998 in Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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Return to Paradise

Return to Paradise

Compared to the self-righteous xenophobia and hypocritical pornography of Oliver Stone and Alan Parker’s Midnight Express, this drama about a Malaysian drug bust and its consequences for three young Americans is serious, intelligent, and powerful. Three buddies (Vince Vaughn, David Conrad, and Joaquin Phoenix) do some adolescent carousing in Malaysia, then the first two leave the third behind. Two years later a lawyer (Anne Heche) notifies them that their friend has been arrested for possession of hashish, has been serving a prison term, and will be hung unless they go back to share the blame. If they both go back, each will have to serve three years, but if only one goes back, he’ll have to serve six. None of the moral ramifications of this dilemma is avoided, and to the film’s credit the behavior of the American press seems more questionable than the machinations of third-world justice. Directed by the talented Joseph Ruben (The Stepfather, Sleeping With the Enemy) and sharply written by Wesley Strick and Bruce Robinson, who adapted a 1989 fact-based French feature by Pierre Jolivet, Force majeure. With Jada Pinkett Smith. Broadway, Evanston, Lake, McClurg Court. –Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

Published on 14 Aug 1998 in Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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