From the Chicago Reader (September 6, 1994). — J.R.
The best of the so-called Generation X movies that I’ve seen so far, this charming first feature by Rory Kelly about a circle of friends in their 30s, and the various complications that ensue when one of the bunch falls helplessly in love with a friend’s wife, owes much of its spark to collective effort, in the script as well as the performances. The film was written by Kelly and five of his friends — Duane Dell’Amico, Roger Hedden (author of Bodies, Rest & Motion), Neal Jimenez (writer and codirector of The Waterdance), Joe Keenan, and Michael Steinberg (director of Bodies, Rest & Motion and codirector of The Waterdance) — with each of the six scripting a separate scene organized around a gathering. A limitation of the collective social portrait is that one never learns what most of the characters do for a living, but the behavioral interplay is often funny and observant. The able cast includes Craig Sheffer (A River Runs Through It), coproducer Eric Stoltz (who starred in both The Waterdance and Bodies, Rest & Motion), and Meg Tilly; the striking and effective score is by David Lawrence.… Read more »
A dotty and disheveled but fairly watchable comedy of errors set in Africa, adapted by William Boyd from his own novel, directed by Bruce Beresford, and probably suffering from nervous studio recutting. Colin Friels plays the not-so-likable hero, an English diplomat posted to the newly independent state of Kinjanja, where he has to contend with a pompous boss (John Lithgow doing a mildly funny if predictable turn), a possible venereal disease, and his own as well as his boss’s indifference to the local customs. Sean Connery plays a serene local doctor who is understandably dubious about this fellow, and Louis Gossett Jr. plays a rising local politician; romantic interest is provided by Diana Rigg and Joanne Whalley-Kilmer. (JR)… Read more »
An intermittently engaging first feature by writer-director Boaz Yakin, who previously scripted The Rookie, about a 12-year-old boy living in a Brooklyn slum who manages to extricate himself from drug running by applying lessons learned in speed chess from his estranged father (Samuel L. Jackson). Poised somewhere between a movie-familiar (i.e., semiscurrilous) look at inner-city life as trench warfare and a farfetched Hollywood revenge fantasy, this is kept alive largely through its first-rate performances, beginning with Sean Nelson’s as the boy; Giancarlo Esposito is also a standout. With Cheryl Freeman, and N’Bushe Wright. (JR)… Read more »