Film Clips

ABSOLUTE POWER. Clint Eastwood stars and directs this thriller about an aging, master thief hoping to pull off one last, spectacular heist before retiring for good. His plans are botched, however, when he discovers the wife of the wealthy businessman he hopes to rob is having an affair with none other than the President of the United States himself. Murder, intrigue, and conflicts of interest ensue. With Ed Harris, Melora Hardin, E.G. Marshall and Gene Hackman as The President. --Richter

DANTE'S PEAK. It's man versus nature in this disaster movie about a small town nestled beneath a rumbling volcano in the Northern Cascades. The interests of developers clash with the predictions of seismologists as the townspeople waste time, debating the dangers of the percolating peak. Liquefied rock, steam, and clouds of pumice and ash are the real stars in this inferno of special effects, though Pierce Brosnan also stars as the scientist who tries to warn the townspeople of impending doom and Linda Hamilton plays the Mayor who falls in love with him. --Richter

EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU. This is it, folks. The long-awaited Woody Allen musical. By long-awaited, we mean only that it seemed to open everywhere between here and Hoboken before reaching our humble, B-market burg. Clearly, the world would be a better place without anymore Woody Allen musical cinema extravaganzas. Allen, predictably, stars as a neurotic, love-troubled divorcé; and Goldie Hawn (Allen's ex-wife) and Alan Alda (we'll call him Allen's husband-in-law) fill in as the parents of the upper-crust Jewish family at the heart of the action. Devining a plot summary encompassing all the twisted relationships, cheesy special effects and Broadway tunes escapes me: Weird stuff happens, and then the characters begin to sing and dance. Some laughed uproariously, others writhed in discomfort. That's Woody Allen for ya. --Wadsworth

FIERCE CREATURES. John Cleese and Michael Palin, refugees from the Monty Python comedy troupe, try to reprise the success of A Fish Called Wanda with mediocre results. Boob displays, bedroom farces and jokes that are visible from miles away dominate this fanciful plot about a zoo that must become profitable or be closed. Too much of this movie seems to have been transported from old Benny Hill re-runs--Jamie Lee Curtis does nothing but stand around, looking stacked, while Kevin Kline seems to be in another movie, one where everyone yells. The animals are cute and there are some funny moments, but we expect more from the people who once brought us the Confuse-a-Cat sketch. --Richter

GRIDLOCK'D. Actor Vondie Curtis-Hall directs an action/art film hybrid about a pair of junkies desperately trying to score drugs and get into rehab. The late Tupac Shakur is probably the main draw for this film. He does a decent job playing Spoon, a smooth, likable drug addict, but this film is a lost cause from the start. Curtis-Hall can't decide if he wants to make an action flick, complete with car chases and shoot outs, or an art film that mocks the Kafka-esque workings of the bureaucratic welfare system. He ends up combining the two in a schizophrenic, uneven effort that left one viewer commenting: "That was weird." --Richter

MOTHER. Albert Brook's latest film about a second-rate writer suffering a midlife crisis leaves the impression of being...well...sadly autobiographical. Following his second divorce, John (Brooks) leaves L.A. to move back in with his hypercritical mother in order to figure out why his relationships with women always end in disaster. Equal parts amusing and excruciating to watch, this self-indulgent sojourn in suburbia is certainly no Defending Your Life. Although he strikes certain aspects of the mother-child relationship with hilarious accuracy, the movie's attempts to take itself seriously invariably end with dramatic scenes that are at best sophomoric and at worst--like the last 10 minutes--flat-out embarrassing. Debbie Reynolds is wonderful as Mother; but brothers Brooks and Rob Morrow, and their annoying characters, should seek professional help. Mother is an odd movie. My companion summed it up best: You'll spend the better part of two hours laughing, then leave the theater saying, "That sucked." --Wadsworth

SLING BLADE. A movie that's both grim and oddly feel-good, this low-key, independent production has a terrific script and an even better cast. Billy Bob Thorton plays Karl, a man who, as a child, murdered two people with a big knife; 17 years later he's "well," according to the state institution where he's been warehoused, and is summarily ejected into the big, wide world. He meets up with kind strangers, including a little boy (Lucas Black), who adopts him like a lost puppy and takes him home to live in his mother's garage. The mother's boyfriend (Dwight Yoakam) is a prick, though, and soon Karl finds himself in the middle of a domestic drama that seems to remind him of his own twisted childhood. Sharp, understated performances from J.T. Walsh (who's really terrifying as a sex offender), John Ritter, and Robert Duvall round out the movie, but it's really Thorton's performance as the practical, slow-witted, vaguely monstrous Karl that helps make this one of the best movies of 1996. --Richter

THAT DARN CAT. An update of the 1965 Disney family comedy, this version stars Christina Ricci as a black-clad, angst-ridden version of Hayley Mills. Her teen boredom is relieved by her precocious tomcat, who delivers an important clue in a mysterious kidnapping. Ricci and F.B.I. agent Kelso ( Doug E. Doug), along with that Darn Cat, band together to form an unstoppable, cross-species crime-fighting team. --Richter

VEGAS VACATION. Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo make the perennial mistake of going on vacation, this time to Las Vegas, where their family is seduced by the sex, greed and glitz of Sin City. Wayne Newton, Shae D'Lyn and Wallace Shawn all play various aspects of devilish temptation as the family succumbs to vice and disintegrates, only to find redemption at the hands of Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid), a trailer-dwelling good guy. --Richter

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