Daily Archives: January 24, 1997

Fierce Creatures

A delightful, sexy farce featuring the same lead actors as A Fish Called Wanda–John Cleese (who wrote the script with Iain Johnstone), Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, and Michael Palin–in a very different story, this one entertaining various revenge fantasies against Rupert Murdoch. The Murdoch-like tycoon (played by Kline), who runs a company called Octopus, sends one of his bureaucrats (Cleese) to an English zoo to make its operations more profitable or else close it down. The horrified staff of animal lovers plots various forms of revolt, while the tycoon’s crass and unappreciated son (Kline again) and an ambitious new Octopus employee (Curtis) come up with schemes of their own. Combining the gentle with the vulgar as only the English can, this lively comedy is bursting with character and energy, and directors Robert Young and Fred Schepisi–the latter completed the movie–do a fine job of keeping it all rollicking. Burham Plaza, Ford City, Lincoln Village, 900 N. Michigan, Webster Place, Golf Glen, North Riverside, Old Orchard. –Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.… Read more »

A Single Girl

Just as she’s about to start a job with room service at a luxury hotel in Paris, a young woman (Virginie Ledoyen) tells her boyfriend that she’s pregnant and wants to keep their child. They quarrel but arrange to meet an hour later, and the film then follows her first hour at work in real time. This segment of Benoit Jacquot’s compelling 1995 feature, written with Jerome Beaujour, is a stunning demonstration of moral and existential suspense in relation to duration, much like Agnes Varda’s 1962 Cleo From 5 to 7. Later the excitement dissipates somewhat, and when the film abandons real time to make room for an epilogue it becomes ordinary. But until then it’s an essential piece of filmmaking–not simply as a stylistic exercise but as a fascinating look at a hotel in operation. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, January 24 through 30.

–Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.… Read more »