Daily Archives: April 29, 1996

Barb Wire

A 1996 SF action replay of Blade Runner, Batman, Tank Girl, True Lies, and (believe it or not) Casablanca; its main source is a comic book, but it might as well be a computer. Mercenary dominatrix Barb Wire (Pamela Anderson) doesn’t look human enough for actual sex, but she’s ready for violence of all kinds, and there’s plenty of rain, rust, and grime to furnish the proper settings. David Hogan directed a scipt by Chuck Pfarrer and Ilene Chaiken, and some of the human furniture is played by Temuera Morrison, Jack Noseworthy, Victoria Rowell, Xander Berkeley, Steve Railsback, and Udo Kier. R, 90 min. (JR)… Read more »

The Pallbearer

A college graduate (David Schwimmer) who still lives with his mother (Carol Kane) in Brooklyn comes into contact with the high school girl he used to have a crush on (Gwyneth Paltrow); he’s also asked to be a pallbearer and deliver the eulogy for a classmate he can’t even remember. He winds up having an affair with the deceased’s mother (Barbara Hershey, all but unrecognizable in a blond wig). The parallels with The Graduate are blatant, but this is only a fair-to-middling comedy by first-time director Matt Reeves with little sense of visual or satirical style. The actorly presences are pleasant and a few lines in the script (by Jason Katims and Reeves) are funny, but that’s about it; with Michael Rapaport, Toni Collette, and Bitty Schram. (JR)… Read more »

Carried Away

A crippled schoolteacher (Dennis Hopper) who’s waiting for his cancer-stricken mother (Julie Harris) to die before he marries his widowed childhood heartthrob (Amy Irving) is seduced by a 17-year-old student (Amy Locane), the daughter of a retired major (Gary Busey) and his alcoholic wife. Adapted by Ed Jones from Jim Harrison’s novel Farmer and directed by Bruno Barreto (Irving’s husband), this drama tries to imitate Badlands by using the same cinematographer (Declan Quinn), but it looks nothing like that masterpiece and is of no particular visual interest. Not only does it not do justice to its rural Texas setting, one can’t even be sure just when it’s supposed to be taking place. But the performances are sufficiently well modulated and sincere to inch this a bit beyond Peyton Place territory, and even if I can’t quite buy this movie’s (or is it Harrison’s?) notion of what teenage girls are like, the actors kept me interested; with Hal Holbrook. (JR)… Read more »

Frank And Ollie

An affectionate, informative, and, under the circumstances, not too drippy Disney documentary (1995) by Theodore Thomas, about two key Disney animators, Frank Thomas (the director’s father) and Ollie Johnston. They first met as art students at Stanford in 1932 and subsequently became roommates, coworkers, and/or neighbors, working on the major cartoon features at Disney from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on. This is an absorbing portrait of their singular collaboration and relationship. (JR)… Read more »

I Shot Andy Warhol

This 1996 American independent feature by Mary Harron, written with Dan Minahan, is so good at re-creating the appearance of Warhol and his 60s milieu that I was almost completely won overthat is, until a closing title called Valerie Solanas’s SCUM Manifesto a feminist classic. Having gone out out of its way to persuade the audience that Solanas was a raving lunatic, the movie ends by calling her a visionary. But having things both ways characterizes just about every facet and offshoot of the Warhol industry, so I guess this movie shouldn’t be castigated for the same principled (and often instructive) confusion. Lili Taylor turns in a good performance as Solanas, and almost as impressive are Jared Harris as Warhol, Stephen Dorff as Candy Darling, and Michael Imperioli as Ondine. If you want to know what the Warhol scene was all about, this is even better than the documentaries. With Martha Plimpton, Danny Morgenstern, and Lothaire Bluteau (as the nefarious Maurice Girodias). (JR)… Read more »