Daily Archives: September 20, 1994

The Shawshank Redemption

A 21-year friendship between a lifer (Morgan Freeman) and a New England banker convicted of murder (Tim Robbins) is the focus of this gripping 1994 prison drama, capably directed and adapted by Frank Darabont from Stephen King’s short novel Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. A passing reference to The Count of Monte Cristo offers a partial clue to what makes this movie compelling: though its events occur between the late 40s and late 60s, the film’s 19th-century storytelling mode shows how lives, personalities, and personal agendas develop over years, and how various individuals cope with the dynamics of prison life and totalitarian systems in general. Robbins and Freeman both shine; with Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, and James Whitmore. R, 142 min. (JR)… Read more »

The River Wild

In an effort to save their marriage, a couple (Meryl Streep and David Strathairn) leave with their son on a white-water raft trip and encounter trouble from a pair of strangers (Kevin Bacon and John C. Reilly). Curtis Hanson (The Hand That Rocks the Cradle) directed this 1994 thriller effectively from a fairly routine script by Denis O’Neill; what really makes this movie worth seeing are the stunning Oregon and Montana locations (filmed in ‘Scope), as well as Streep’s sexy pluck in playing the most capable and resourceful character around. (JR)… Read more »

The New Age

This new comedy by writer-director Michael Tolkin (The Rapture), which reunites the leads of Naked Lunch, Peter Weller and Judy Davis, as fashion-plate yuppies in Los Angeles who have spiritually lost their way, keeps promising to be a great satire. But the promise is only half kept; each time one expects some follow-through on a fruitful conceit (e.g., the couple opening a new boutique called Hipocracy, Patrick Bauchau as a mysterious guru), the movie stops dead in its tracks, just like the woeful couple. This is still great fun as far as it goes;, and serious as well; just don’t expect any structure. With Adam West as Weller’s father, John Diehl, Paula Marshall, and Samuel L. Jackson. (JR)… Read more »

And God Spoke

A rather unfunny pseudodocumentary in the manner of This is Spinal Tap, Bob Roberts, and Fear of a Black Hat about two American independents setting out to make a big-budget biblical spectacular. If you haven’t seen as many movies of this ilk as I have, it’s possible you might be amused. Directed by Arthur Borman from a script he wrote with Chicagoan Mark Borman, Gregory S. Malins, and Michael Curtis; with Michael Riley and Stephen Rappaport, as well as cameos by Lou Ferrigno, Eve Plumb, and, in the part of Moses, Soupy Sales. (JR)… Read more »