Daily Archives: December 16, 1997

Deceiver

Tim Roth, the disturbed offspring of a well-to-do Charleston family, is a prime suspect in the brutal murder of a prostitute (Renee Zellweger), and two detectives (Chris Penn and Michael Rooker) hope that a series of polygraph interrogations will pin him down. This is a fair-to-middling psychological thriller by the writing-directing team of Jonas and Josh Pate, relatively easy to watch and even easier to forget. Watch for cameos by Ellen Burstyn, Rosanna Arquette, and Mark Damon. (JR)… Read more »

Deconstructing Harry

Woody Allen diehards won’t care, but for me this runs a close second to September as his worst feature to datemarginally more bearable only because it’s a comedy and a couple of gags are reasonably funny. Otherwise it’s a cluttered, unstructured Fellini-derived tale of a bitter New York-Jewish autobiographical novelist (played by guess who) reassessing his life and loves while hiring hookers and planning a trip back to his upstate alma mater. Given the limitations of the material, the all-star castincluding Kirstie Alley, Bob Balaban, Richard Benjamin, Eric Bogosian, Billy Crystal, Judy Davis, Hazelle Goodman, Mariel Hemingway, Amy Irving, Demi Moore, Elisabeth Shue, Stanley Tucci, and Robin Williamsproves more distracting than edifying. (JR)… Read more »

Good Will Hunting

Goodwill, in fact, is mainly what this muted drama has, along with premises that suggest a therapeutic fairy tale and the warmth of Gus Van Sant’s laid-back direction. Young mathematics genius Will Hunting (cowriter Matt Damon) works as a janitor at MIT, where a math professor (Stellan Skarsgard) discovers him and makes him see a therapist (a subdued Robin Williams). Scripted with Ben Affleck (who plays the hero’s best friend), and assisted by a charismatic performance by Minnie Driver, this is good, solid work that never achieves either the art or poignance of Van Sant’s earlier and more personal projects (Mala Noche, Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho), though it’s clearly superior to something like Dead Poets Society. 126 min. (JR)… Read more »

Tomorrow Never Dies

The 18th James Bond movie features the usual saturation bombardment. There are a few amusing stunts, lots of explosions and one-liners, and a mad news baron (Jonathan Pryce) made up of equal parts Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch, and Dr. No. But apart from the welcome grace and pluck of Asian action star Michelle Yeohwho all but steals the movie away from Pierce Brosnan’s Bond and single-handedly makes this a better wedding of Hong Kong and Hollywood than either Rumble in the Bronx or Face/Offthis film has no personality whatsoever. (As usual, the credits show more imagination than the narrative proper.) With Teri Hatcher, Joe Don Baker, and Ricky Jay. Roger Spottiswoode directed the computer-generated script credited to Bruce Feirstein. (JR)… Read more »