Daily Archives: December 15, 1997

Titanic

For better and for worse, James Cameron’s hokey yet moving $200 million blockbuster (1997) tells you quite a bit about first class, a little about third class, and nothing at all about second class. This is mainly because Titanic, unlike most disaster movies, has virtually no subplots; the whole 194 minutes pivot around a fictional love story on the doomed ship between a rebellious bride-to-be (Kate Winslet) and a penniless artist (Leonardo DiCaprio). The elemental style and broadly defined characters recall D.W. Griffith at times (though there’s no equivalent to either of the Gish sisters), and for a movie set in 1912 this seems entirely appropriate. Some of the invented story is certainly fanciful, and a few details are downright stupid, yet overall what the movie has to say about its eraand, more implicitly, our ownin terms of class rings true. All things considered, Titanic is old-fashioned epic filmmaking that carries a wallop. With Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, David Warner, and Bill Paxton. (JR)… Read more »

Mr. Magoo

If you really hate your kids, pack them off to this slapdash farce, whose only funny moment is the PC disclaimer at the end about the Disney company’s humanist concern for blind people (which even literate toddlers will have trouble understanding anyway). Leslie Nielsen seems a good two feet too tall for the unlamented UPA cartoon character of the 50s (who had a barely seen cartoon feature of his own back in 1964), but the real problems go beyond that. Director Stanley Tong (Supercop, Rumble in the Bronx, Jackie Chan’s First Strike) gets to recapture his Hong Kong action routines only in the abbreviated kickboxing assigned to Kelly Lynch or her stunt double; everything else is torturous formula. Written by Pat Proft and Tom Sherohman; with Malcolm McDowell, Ernie Hudson, Stephen Tobolowsky, and Miguel Ferrer (looking and sounding a great deal like his father Jose). (JR)… Read more »