Daily Archives: January 20, 1995

Ladybird, Ladybird

Based on a true story, Ken Loach’s powerful and disturbing British drama about a single working-class mother with four children from four different fathers is made unforgettable both by stand-up comedian Crissy Rock’s lead performance and by the filmmakers’ determination to make the story as messy and as complex as life itself. After many abusive relationships, Maggie, the heroine, settles down with a gentle Paraguayan refugee (beautifully played by Vladimir Vega), but then has to contend repeatedly with the state taking away her children. This sounds like a simple antiwelfare polemic, but Loach doesn’t allow us to walk away from the movie with any settled or monolithic message. As written by Rona Munro and played by Rock, Maggie is a volcanic conundrum, and the deeper we become involved in her fate, the less sure we become about anything. Highly recommended. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, January 20 through 26.… Read more »

Bad Company

This interesting and effective spy thriller, directed by Damian Harris from a script by mystery novelist Ross Thomas, starts out as an upscale Deep Cover: industrial espionage financed by big business takes the place of police undercover work in drugs, and Laurence Fishburne again ably plays a sort of double agent. But this film confounds most of the usual expectations. Though the atmosphere is predictably cynical, not all the characters are quite as cynical as they first appear. It might be argued that the personal stories ultimately overwhelm the political message (a common occurrence in Hollywood thrillers of this kind, excepting Deep Cover), but the overall theme of former CIA operatives going to work for big business is both plausible and eerily suggestive (as is the bunkerlike building where they work). Ellen Barkin is first-rate as Fishburne’s coworker and lover, and the secondary cast–including Frank Langella, Michael Beach, Gia Carides, David Ogden Stiers, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Spalding Gray, and an uncredited Michael Murphy–adds flavor and piquancy. Bricktown Square, Burnham Plaza, Chestnut Station, Golf Glen, North Riverside, Plaza, Ford City, Evanston.… Read more »