Daily Archives: November 7, 2000

God, Sex & Apple Pie

Nine friends from high school now in their 30s converge at a house on the lake for a weekend reunion, in a watchable but not very memorable comedy-drama written and produced by Jerome Courshon and directed by Paul Leaf. The professions range from model (Andrea Leithe) to postal worker (Phil Palisoul) to TV anchor (Mark Porro) to stockbroker (Greg Wrangler) to secretary (Maria McCann), and the routine construction gives us something close to one revelation per character. The cast of semiunknowns is game and likable, but a week or so after previewing this I could barely remember it. 97 min. (JR)… Read more »

Red Planet

Contemporary taste seems to favor either superexpensive SF movies made today or supercheap camp items from the heyday of Hollywood. I don’t know the actual budget of this adventure yarn, about the first manned expedition to Mars, but it feels like a middle-range effort whose heart is with the bargain-basement offerings of yesteryear. The dialogue’s worthy of Destination Moon half a century ago, and though there isn’t a member of the spaceship’s kitchen staff named Cookie, Val Kilmer plays a space janitor, which is almost as good. The story here has the expedition’s commander, played by Carrie-Anne Moss, orbiting Mars while crew members who’ve crash-landed on the planet discover it isn’t uninhabited. Most of the enigmas in the plot are never adequately explained, but a couple of shots on the planet’s surface have some of the distilled poetry of Edgar Ulmer’s The Man From Planet X. Despite a multifaceted obeisance toward 2001 that extends even to calling the commander Bowman, the film’s aspirations toward low-tech triumph are the main source of its charm. I confess that before I picked up on this I fidgeted a lot. Antony Hoffman directed from a screenplay by Chuck Pfarrer and Jonathan Lemkin; with Tom Sizemore and Terence Stamp.… Read more »