Daily Archives: July 19, 1996

Quick Change Artists

From the Chicago Reader (July 19, 1996). — J.R.

Specialeffectsimaxfilm


Special Effects

Rating * Has redeeming facet

Directed by Ben Burtt

Written by Susanne Simpson, Burtt, and Tom Friedman

Narrated by John Lithgow.

Multiplicity

Rating * Has redeeming facet

Directed by Harold Ramis

Written by Ramis, Chris Miller, Mary Hale, Lowell Ganz, and Babaloo Mandel

With Michael Keaton, Andie MacDowell, and Harris Yulin.

The Frighteners

Rating — Worthless

Directed by Peter Jackson

Written by Fran Walsh and Jackson

With Michael J. Fox, Trini Alvarado, Peter Dobson, John Astin, Jeffrey Combs, Dee Wallace Stone, and R. Lee Ermey.

The Nutty Professor

Rating ** Worth seeing

Directed by Tom Shadyac

Written by David Sheffield, Barry W. Blaustein, Shadyac, and Steve Oedekerk

With Eddie Murphy, Jada Pinkett, James Coburn, Larry Miller, Dave Chappelle, and John Ales.

Looking around at the big summer movies, I see reason to assume that the state of the art of film art now equals the state of the art of special effects. The belief in capitalist growth as spiritual progress that permeates this culture seems to have been given particular currency: as film technology becomes more and more sophisticated, the art of film can only rise accordingly.

But does the development of morphing automatically make the Eddie Murphy Nutty Professor more artistic than the Jerry Lewis Nutty Professor (1963)?… Read more »

Wonderful World of Disney

To the editor:

I’d like to report on an error that appeared in my review of Charles Burnett’s Nightjohn (July 12), traceable to the Disney Channel, which produced the film. Though I reported that the film exists only on video, I discovered shortly after the review appeared that it’s available in 35-millimeter, the format it was shot in, and I happily was able to inform the Film Center in time for it to acquire and screen a print in the original, nonvideo format.

In the same review, I reported that the Disney Channel was sending free copies of the video to people requesting them, and included the appropriate phone number. The day after this number was published, the same PR person who gave me this information called back to say that because of the massive response from the Chicago area, Disney was rescinding its offer. I suppose if any lesson is to be learned, it’s that one should look a gift horse in the mouth.

Jonathan Rosenbaum… Read more »

Cold Fever

Cold Fever

Beginning in Tokyo in a standard screen ratio before expanding to ‘Scope in scenic Iceland, this arresting, oddball 1995 road movie by Fridrik Thor Fridriksson–cowritten by producer Jim Stark (a longtime Jim Jarmusch associate)–is the first Icelandic feature to be released commercially in the U.S. (Nearly all of the dialogue is in English.) Strange, often funny, and occasionally beautiful, it concerns a Japanese businessman (Mystery Train’s Masotoshi Nagase) who’s planning a vacation in Hawaii until his grandfather (the late Seijun Suzuki, ace B-film auteur) persuades him to fly to Iceland during winter and travel cross-country to perform a memorial service at the spot where his parents died in an accident. His absurdist, mock-epic adventures involve both a spiritual quest and a comic travelogue–among the strangers he encounters are a murderous American couple named Jack and Jill (Fisher Stevens and Lili Taylor) and a philosophical, self-styled Icelandic cowboy (Gisli Halldorsson). Stark will introduce the screenings on Friday and Saturday at 9:45 and Sunday at 7:45. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, July 19 through 25.

–Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo from Cold Fever.… Read more »