Feeling Minnesota: ‘brainless cbarade’



What are Keanu Reeves and Cameron liiaz doing in this nonentity ot a tilm? Good tor them that they want to support independent illmmaking, but on this evidence they haven’t a clue where to tind the good scripts and the talented directors. In Feeling Minnesota (so the title sounds poetic, but does it mean anything?), both stars show themselves up as the dim, wooden, made-in-llollywood pawns that we always suspected them to be.

Diaz’s job is to bring lite to a walking, talking cliche ot abused white trash that goes by the name ot Freddie. She looks into lieeves’s eyes and says, with profound tears, ‘lite is like an orange. things keep going in circles. But everything is there tor a reason.’ Presumably the tilmmakers want us to take this stutt seriously, because they don’t allow a moment ot irony to alleviate the brainless


lieeves is totally at sea with his character, .llaks, the estranged younger son who returns home tor his brother’s wedding day. Big brother Sam (Vincent ll’Onotrio) is a sleazy loser who plans to marry Freddie, though she immediately tails tor .ilaks, and so begins a love triangle that is essentially about brotherly rivalry played out through the girl. Jiaks tips whisky down his throat as it it is a substitute tor existential angst and demonstrates his romantic side by smashing up a pet shop to get Freddie a dog.

As a hero, .iiaks is a complete cliche, and who in their right mind would cast Reeves as the tortured masculine type? That the makers of Feeling Minnesota did says everything about this shallow tiim. (Hannah Fries) Feeling Minnesota (15) (Steven Baigelnran, US, 19%) Ileana Reeves, Cameron Diaz, Vincent (Panama. 99 mins. From Fri 6. General release.


The critics are already having a field day digging the knife into George Sluizer's serial killer movie. but while it‘s true that the surface narrative does venture into the realm of the ludicrous (or deliberately twisted absurdity. I'd argue). there are plenty of disturbing and more insightful elements hiding deeper in the mix. To say there‘s more here than meets the eye is especially apt as notions of vision. distorted perception and individual viewpoint bind together throughout the film's various levels.

Stephen Baldwin plays Bobby. a pushy young American actor hired to portray a murderer in a British television crime reconstruction programme. When another body is found suffering the same tell-tale mutilation. Bobby's bouts of unemployment come to an end; and as the victims pile up. he becomes something of a celebrity himself.

The real killer. Sidney (Pete Postlethwaite). thrills to the media glamorisation of his acts and makes

contact with Bobby, whose own Method-style need for gory details and egotistical demand for fame bring him closer to his subject than is strictly business-like. A lull in the cycle puts Bobby back on the dole, but so shaken has he been by his involvement that he begins to walk in the killer's footsteps to prove to himself that he‘s not really capable of such viciousness. ()r is he? To blur the line between illusion and reality that‘s the perverted desire of a killer. or the aim of a reconstruction programme, or the effect of cinema itself. Sluizer ably uses neat tricks to confuse and tease the audience‘s expectations. while satirising the public‘s eagerness for death packaged as prime-time entertainment (where someone with Postlethwaite‘s looks is transformed into a hunky Baldwin). Let yourselfgo with it. accept its exaggerations. and this film will entertain, shock and amuse more than others would have you believe. (Alan


Crimetime ( I8) (George Sluizer. UK. I996) Stephen Baldwin. Pele Postlethwaite. Sadie Frost. / [9 mins. From Fri 29. General release.

Crimetime: ‘deliberately twisted absurdlty’

the long Kiss Goodnight: ‘iliklta doesn‘t have a look in'



The latest from husband-and-wife team Renny Harlin and Geena Davis is an absolute hoot. despite its unrelenting pace, occasional brutality and irrelevant sentimentality. Davis plays an arnnesiac schoolrnarrn and mother. unaware that she was formerly a top CIA assassin. while Samuel L. Jackson is the low- rent private detective jogging her memory. Together they brave brass monkey conditions and hordes of professional killers as they try to foil a dastardly Christmas Day genocide plot. Director Harlin made Die Hard 2, and this is effectively a reworking of that, with a heroine instead of Bruce Willis. Written by Lethal Weapon 's Shane Black. it boasts some spectacular stunts which are cleverly digitised to put our duo in the thick of it. Black's script also

nods to such diverse predecessors as Altman‘s revisionist Philip Marlowe film The Long Goodbye and the Steven Seagal Under Siege actioners. What drives it, though, is the interplay between Davis and Jackson: both excellent, their banter is inspired and quite hilarious. Jackson has most of the laughs, while Davis expertly transforms into her schizoid alter ego.

Nikita doesn't have a look in. and The Long Kiss Goodnight makes James Bond seem tongue-tied, not to say impotent. It doesn‘t so much suspend disbelief as clobber it with a frying pan. At one point, Jackson deconstructs the word ‘assumption'; following his lead. you can take the ‘ass' out of ‘assassin' and still have an ‘assin‘. Get yours in. sit it down and prepare to be very entertained. (Gio MacDonald)

The Long Kiss Goodnight ( l8) (Renny Harlin. US. I996) Geena Davis. Samuel L. Jackson. Craig Bierko. [20 mins. From Fri 29. General release.


Fear: ‘sllly aid entirely predictable’

For fathers of teenage daughters. any spotty oik who romances the apple of your eye is to be despised. but in this latest entry in the psycho thriller genre. Dad really does know best. It's just a shame that the perceptive judgement shown by hotshot architect Steve Walker (William Petersen) over the bad influence of David McCall (Mark Wahlberg) in Fear isn‘t reflected in other areas of the film. Repetition. melodrama and excess conspire to strangle any originality out of an increasingly hackneyed tale.

It begins promisingly enough, with independently-minded sixteen-year-old Nicole (Reese Witherspoon) falling for strong. silent David. Flirtation quickly blossoms into romance. but in spite of his occasional lapses from civilised behaviour beating one of her platonic friends senseless for hugging her, for instance she still likes him. As it becomes clear that David is not the sweety she believes him to be. Nicole is forced to dump him. inadvertently fuelling an obsession that he goes to increasingly ludicrous lengths to satisfy.

Wahlberg imbues David with a passionate. violent energy that seems like a carry-over from his truculent. hard-nut rap image as Marky Mark - which is not to diminish the strength of his performance. Director James Foley dispenses with any pretence of his film being an intelligent thriller in favour ofa kind of Assault On Precinct [3 homage small comfort for the silly. sometimes laughable and entirely predictable route that Fear takes. See it again? No fear. (Anwar Brett) Fear ( [8) (James F ole_v. US, 1996) Mark Wahlberg, Reese Witherspoon. William Petersen. 97mins. From Fri 29. General release. See feature.

The List 29 Nov-I2 Dec I996 23