Blurbs from 1995

(Originally published on February 11, 1996 in The Gleaner of Rutgers University-Camden.)

Whole buncha shorties here, folks.

Dangerous Minds: Michelle Pfeiffer plays an ex-Marine who teaches inner-city schools. Excuse me? Talk about casting against type. And didn’t we see the same movie, more or less, in Stand and Deliver and Lean on Me? Hey, even Dead Poet’s Society is similar. Pfeiffer is great, of course, but the script isn’t. C

Desperado: Robert Rodriguez’ big-budget followup to El Mariachi is a tale of vengeance and romance in the West. Starring Antonio Banderas as a musician with more ammo than Rambo and more charisma than Don Juan, Desperado is an exhilarating experience, full of explosions. With Quentin Tarantino, Cheech Marin and Steve Buscemi. Grade: A

Kids: This is the movie about 14-year-olds growing up in the big city. Sure, they’re just like everyone else’s kids, except these jokers drink and do drugs about as often as, say, Tommy Chong. Specifically, there is one girl in search of the boy who not only deflowered her (and who is well on his way to making it two virgins in 24 hours) but who might very well have given her the AIDS virus. A sad commentary on today’s society, yes; but in the end we don’t give a damn about the kids, and the film offers no possible solutions. C-

Jade: Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, who scored with Basic Instinct, tried to recapture his glory with this film and Showgirls. Neither panned out. Starring David Caruso, Chazz Palmenteri and Linda Fiorentino in a web of intrigue and boredom. D

Living in Oblivion: An independent film about the making of an independent film. And who better to play the independent film maker than Steve Buscemi? This movie is so believable that it’ll have you thinking this is all actually happening. One quickly forgets that there are cameras behind the cameras. With James LeGros and Dermot Mulroney (who’s excellent). A-

Lord of Illusions: If you like Clive Barker, you’ll love this tale of a detective (Scott Bakula) who specializes in investigating the occult. Barker himself directed his own script here, and the result is a fluid (if gory) horror treat. B+

National Lampoon’s Senior Trip: This series ran out of gas as soon as Chevy Chase stopped making those Vacation films. Remember when the Lampoon label meant cheap-but-sincere laughs? No more. This is not a brainy movie, but it does feature some cool stunts and funny jokes. And Tommy Chong is always good for a few chuckles. D

The Net: Sandra Bullock is the type of actress who seems to be getting the same roles in every film. She’s a sad-sack lovelorn, communicating only through her modem and telephone. Then — surprise! — she gets wind of a cyberterrorist threat when a evil group deletes her life, which is, of course, on the computer (you know, credit cards, medical history, financial statement). It’s supposed to be a thriller; it’s not. And Bullock isn’t all that good in it. C

Nine Months: This is a pedestrian movie until the scene in the delivery room. Unfortunately, this comes when the film is mostly over, but it more than makes up for any prior lapses. Hugh Grant stars as a young, upwardly mobile man who is suddenly saddled (he thinks) by impending fatherhood. B

Priest: This sleeper centers on a priest (Linus Roache) who knows a very terrible secret about one of his young parishoners, but who is, of course, bound by his vows not to discuss the matter. On top of that, he has his own confessions to sort out. Riveting and fascinating. A winner by all counts, though some may be put off by some graphic scenes. A

Something to Talk About: Once upon a time Julia Roberts was cool. No more. Here she’s a Southern wife who has caught her hubby (Dennis Quaid) with another woman. Does she succumb to her upbringing, or does she leave him? Who cares? Only Kyra Sedgewick (as her sister) and Gena Rowlands (as her mom) are entertaining. C

Under Siege 2: Dark Territory: Whereas the cool part of the first one was that Steven Seagal got some actual support from his supporting actors, this one relies on the wit and wisdom of Eric Bognosian, not Gary Busey and Tommy Lee Jones. Luckily, Seagal refrained from directing himself, for which we can all be thankful. Still, it’s not that good. C-

The Usual Suspects: A cinematic rarity: a movie with a lot of twists and turns that you might have figured out — only to discover you weren’t even close. Bearing a slight resemblence to Reservoir Dogs, this is the story of five thieves, brought together for a big job from disparate sources by an unseen force. One of the top movies of the year. A+

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One Response to “Blurbs from 1995”

  1. Worst movies by Great (or at least Good) directors « Frothy Ruminations Says:

    […] Jade, William Friedkin. What do you do when your romantic leads don’t have any chemistry? Well, apparently you make the movie anyway. Starring Linda Fiorentino (who knows from neo-noir), Chazz Palminteri (who does, too), and David Caruso (wha?). Makes you long for The Exorcist to possess all three of them. What should have been titillating was merely dull.Life Stinks, Mel Brooks. If Brooks weren’t in this dud, you’d never have ascertained he was behind the camera, too. A rich man is bet he can’t survive 30 days on the street, and thereupon he finds the True Meaning of Life. Not Laughs. Mining the homeless for jibes seems like shooting fish in a barrel, but first you have to get the fish into the barrel, then select the right gun, and … eh, let’s face it, Brooks shot his comedy wad a long while ago. This one was deadingly flat. […]

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