Daily Archives: January 22, 1996

Bottle Rocket

Wes Anderson’s 1996 first feature (before Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums) is fresh, character driven, often funny, and unfashionably upbeat (as well as offbeat). And it doesn’t beat you over the headwhich made it a hard sell in industry terms and explains why it was almost completely ignored upon release. But I found its Kerouac-like goofiness both charming and sustaining. Owen Wilson, his brother Luke, and Robert Musgrave play three young, immature friends and aspiring thieves in Texas; another Wilson brother, Andrew, also appears, and the film benefits from its relaxed cast consisting largely of friends and siblings. (The presence of such producer godparents as Polly Platt, James L. Brooks, Monte Hellman, and L.M. Kit Carson probably helped as well.) Written by Anderson and Owen Wilson; with James Caan and Lumi Cavazos (Like Water for Chocolate). R, 95 min. (JR)… Read more »

The Juror

Demi Moore plays a sculptor and single mother serving on the jury in a dangerous mobster’s trial who is forced to campaign for a not guilty verdict in order to save her son’s life. Brian Gibson directed this terrible psychological thriller from a script by Ted Tally (The Silence of the Lambs), based on a book by George Dawes Green; Alec Baldwin costars. While trying to distract myself from everything that seemed cliched, unbelievable, stupid, and/or mean-spirited about this useless exercise, I ruefully reflected that, just as an obviously guilty mobster gets off scot-free, this bad movie probably garnered as many rave blurbs from reviewers as a good one would. The reason isn’t that producer Irwin Winkler threatened to kill anybody’s loved ones, but some miscarriage of justice occasioned by heaps of money. With Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Heche, and Lindsay Crouse. (JR)… Read more »

Antonia’s Line

I didn’t much take to this humorless, Oscar-winning 1995 feminist fable from the Netherlands by Marleen Gorris (A Question of Silence, Broken Mirrors), set in the Dutch countryside and spanning four matriarchal generations of a single family over the second half of the 20th century. But if you’re looking for a movie that expresses feminist rageGorris’s specialty, to the exclusion of most other concernsyou shouldn’t pass this up. With Willeke Van Ammelrooy, Jan Decleir, and Els Dottermans. In Dutch with subtitles. 102 min. (JR)… Read more »

Bed Of Roses

Reasonably sincere and decently scripted, this love story between an investment banker (Mary Stuart Masterson) and a florist’s delivery boy (Christian Slater) is such familiar stuff that you probably won’t have sharp memories of it afterward, but it’s not bad on its own modest terms. A first feature by writer-director Michael Goldberg; with Pamela Segall, Josh Brolin, Kenneth Cranham, Ally Walker, and Mike Haley. (JR)… Read more »