St. Patrick’s Day

Hope Perello wrote and directed this sincere but pedestrian comic account of an Irish-American family reunion; its main distinction is the participation of Piper Laurie as the matriarch, a reformed alcoholic who banishes booze from the weekend gathering. There are more miniplots here than you can shake a stick at, nearly all of them familiar, and though Laurie and Redmond Gleeson show admirable restraint, most of the actors tend toward overkill. With Joanne Baron, Jim Metzler, and Robert Evan Collins. (JR)

Published on 29 Jun 1999 in Featured Texts, by admin

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A Walk on the Wilde Side [AN IDEAL HUSBAND]

Please go to

http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.net/1999/06/a-walk-on-the-wilde-side/

Published on 25 Jun 1999 in Featured Texts, Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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Twice Upon A Yesterday

Europudding incoherence with minor virtues. Director Maria Ripoll and writer Rafa Russo are Spanish, their characters are Spanish and English, and the setting is London; but the milieu, as far as I can tell, is effectively nowhere. An unpleasant and manipulative English actor (Douglas Henshall) sabotages his relationship with his longtime girlfriend (Lena Headey), then gets to go back in time and relive the experience, making different decisions this time around. The premise sounds promising, but the working out of the possibilities is relatively laborious, and arch references to Don Quixote don’t help. With Penelope Cruz, Charlotte Coleman, and Elizabeth McGovern. (JR)

Published on 22 Jun 1999 in Featured Texts, by admin

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The Climb

Previously known by the equally bad title Straight Through the Heart, this 1997 drama is a good example of a certain kind of American feature: although it’s better than 80 percent of the movies that get shoved in your face, it has no public profile because there’s no studio muscle behind it. Set in a Baltimore suburb in 1959, it focuses on courageas it relates to a 12-year-old boy (Small Soldiers’s Gregory Smith) who wants to climb a radio tower near his home; to a bitter neighbor (John Hurt) dying of lung cancer who wants the boy’s assistance in putting him out of his misery; and to the boy’s father (John Sayles regular David Strathairn), who’s perpetually bullied by the local drunk because he didn’t serve in the war. The script by Vince McKewin, which has some of the feeling and conviction of lived experience, tends to avoid easy effects, and the Evanston-born director, Bob Swaimbest known for his French thriller La balance and Half Moon Streetdoes a fine job of handling the actors and charting the movie’s physical terrain. There’s a hair-raising action climax and a lot of fine shading in the characterizations; I hope you’re as pleasantly surprised as I was. With Sara Buxton, Marla Sokoloff, and Seth Smith. (JR)

Published on 22 Jun 1999 in Featured Texts, by admin

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An Ideal Husband

An entertaining, adroitly cast adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s 1895 play by writer-director Oliver Parker, though the expansion of settings and reduction of theme that one might expect from the Miramax label is at times distracting. Trivialized Wilde could sound like an oxymoron, insofar as he functioned rather like Neil Simon in the London theater of a century ago, but this play has its serious as well as its flip side, and the flipness gets much more of Parker’s attention. Though this isn’t a musical, it often feels rather like Gigi (Charlie Mole’s music is particularly effective). With Cate Blanchett, Minnie Driver, Rupert Everett, Julianne Moore, Jeremy Northam, John Wood, Lindsay Duncan, Peter Vaughan, and Jeroen Krabbe. (JR)

Published on 21 Jun 1999 in Featured Texts, by admin

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