Film Clips ADDICTED TO LOVE. There's so much wrong with this movie you'd need a chart to explain it all: Among other things, it glorifies stalking, promotes violence against innocent French people, and stars Meg Ryan. Matthew Broderick plays a sweet-natured but deeply deranged astronomer who destroys the life of his ex-fiancée's new boyfriend (Tchéky Karyo). He's helped in this endeavor by some illegal listening equipment, his collection of cockroaches, and a violently unstable woman (Ryan) who was Karyo's last girlfriend. Of course, while making their ex-beloved's lives miserable, Broderick and Ryan fall in love. Nonetheless, I couldn't help thinking this whole plot could have been avoided with a simple restraining order. --DiGiovanna

BREAKDOWN. This is one of those small, seemingly inconsequential movies that sneaks in and proves to be worlds more entertaining than its "blockbuster" competition. The premise is simple enough: While driving across the desert, yuppie Kurt Russell's wife Kathleen Quinlan is cleverly kidnapped by yahoos, and Russell has to save her with few resources and even less information. Writer/director Jonathan Mostow neatly builds a queasy, stranded-feeling tension that rarely ebbs, and smartly never lets Russell seem like anything other than an ordinary guy. The resulting payoffs are huge, and at its best Breakdown recalls Steven Spielberg's Duel, or that great cropduster sequence in Hitchcock's North by Northwest. The lubberly J.T. Walsh adds a healthy dose of creepiness as a two-faced truck driver. --Woodruff

CITIZEN RUTH. Citizen Ruth puts the fun back in abortion! Employing hysterical stereotypes of pro-lifers and pro-choicers, Ruth makes political points without the humorless didacticism of most message movies. Especially memorable is the pederast leader of the "Baby-Savers," played by the eternally slimy Burt Reynolds, who tells the creepy tale of saving his young catamite from the "abortuary." Not to be missed, unless you're so easily offended that a bidding war over the life of an unborn fetus strikes you as "tasteless." --DiGiovanna

CON AIR. Nicholas Cage's muscles star in this testosterone-tinged tribute to the potency of America's prison populace. Sweating, glistening, shirtless scalawags and scofflaws commandeer a prison transport plane for their manly amusement. They cruise the masculine skies, flexing their rippling torsos in defiance of heterosexual authority (played by Colm Meaney). However, their Fire Island of Flight is brought down by Cage's love for his cellmate Baby-0 (Mykelti Williamson). In the final scene, the turgid plane plows its way into the dirty cleft of the Las Vegas Strip, creating one of the most powerful and explosive climaxes in cinematic history. It's mantastic! --DiGiovanna

THE FIFTH ELEMENT. Writer and director Luc Besson sacrifices sensibility for style in this excessively fashion-designed science fiction movie. Besson, known for Subway, La Femme Nikita and The Professional, tries here for a sort of Blade Runner/Star Wars hybrid but ends up with something closer to Stargate meets Prêt à Porter. But it's not just another sci-fi flop--the film has a distinct French flavor (even hero Bruce Willis' cat looks French)--and you can't take your eyes off the screen even when it's mind-numbing to watch. As with The Professional, the story places intense emphasis on the preternatural beauty of a young woman (Milla Jovovich) who, this time, is turned into a half-naked, super-powerful-yet-sweetly-vulnerable Raggedy Ann doll. Gary Oldman once again plays the villain; now a new-wave Hitler cowboy with buck teeth. If Besson took any of this seriously, the movie would reek; he didn't, so it's just an eye-poppingly bizarre experience. --Woodruff

PRISONER OF THE MOUNTAIN. A really good Russian film about a pair of soldiers captured by mountain people (who are sort of a warlike, Eastern European version of the Amish), Prisoner of the Mountain deserves its Academy Award nomination for best foreign film. Hokey, out-of-date production values combined with a story that's moving without being manipulative, Prisoner of the Mountain bears a rough relation to American films from the 1970s. Not only does one of the leads have a center part and blow-dried hair, but the general understatement and attention to detail recalls the days before bad soundtracks dictated the entire emotional tenor of movies. -- Richter

ROUGH MAGIC. Close your eyes, wish real hard, and maybe this movie will go away. Bridgette Fonda stars as a peppy, talented magician being chased by an evil, well-groomed politician because she's photographed a murder that didn't really happen, or something. She goes to Mexico, seeks out a Shaman, falls in love--it's the 1940s! This movie is so strange and inconsistent that it is mesmerizing...mesmerizingly awful. It seems the filmmakers are aiming for a dose of magical realism, dried-out, reconstituted and completely misunderstood. Conjure, if you will, Gabriel Garcia Márquez with his brain partially removed writing a quip-filled mystery set in the '40s, and you might come close to the recipe for Rough Magic. --Richter

SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL. Almost unwatchable due to the excessive use of close-ups, shaky hand-held shots and meaningless strobe lights, this is perhaps the worst film so far this year. Its only competition is Lost World, and both films follow the same formula: 20 minutes of setting up nothing followed by an hour and a half of running, screaming and explosions. Speed 2 does feature the first villain to be driven to criminal insanity by the lack of insurance regulation, and perhaps the first to express his villainy by sticking leeches to his chest. After the bad guy (Willem Dafoe, naturally) gives his requisite "this is why I'm doing this speech," there isn't much else in the way of plot, so he repeats the speech every 25 minutes, just in case we've forgotten. Then again, there's no time for plot or character development when you've only got two hours of movie and a virtually unlimited special effects budget. Basically, this is The Poseidon Adventure, if that film were incredibly boring and stupid. On the whole, Speed 2 is probably the best case I've ever seen for strict, Islamic-style censorship of cinema (i.e., no plots derived from sex or violence allowed). --DiGiovanna

TRIAL AND ERROR. A predictable, flatline Hollywood legal comedy (a perfunctory cross between My Cousin Vinny and Something Wild) without an ounce of bite or innovation. The leads make the most of a formulaic script dealing with an actor (Michael Richards) pretending to be a lawyer to fill in for his high-strung, Type A attorney buddy (Jeff Daniels) who gets lost in the Nevada desert, falls in love with a beautiful blonde and discovers all the important things in life. The film strives for a surface kind of cynicism, only to invoke the Love Conquers All escape clause in the end. One of the perennial and most irritating of Hollywood messages: We all need to let our hair down and stop trying to overachieve in order to find ourselves. If it's so damn easy to drop all your over-reaching, money grubbing material ways and fulfill your inner self, then why is Spago double-booked through the end of the millennium? --Marchant

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