FILM new releases
Life (15) 109 mins -
Well, rt arn’t Cool Hand Luke and rt arn’t The Shawshank Redemption, but thrs prrson comedy drama starrrng Eddre Murphy and Martrn Lawrence rs a worthy addrtron to the genre and Murphy’s best frlm rn years, And years And years.
Years, rn fact, rs what Life rs all ab0ut, The focus rs less on the harsh realrtres of lrfe rn Mrssrssrppr State Prrson than on the lrfetrme love-hate relatronshrp between Ray (Murphy) and Claude's (Lawrence) rnmates over the course of a parr of 60-year prrson sentences All the poor boys drd way back when rn 1932 was run a Irttle moonshrne over the wrong state border. But one of
Straight time: Ed and Marty in Life
those whrte trash good ’ole boy sherrffs frames the pan for murder and the rest rs hrstory. A hrstory of uneasy frrendshrp and ongomg resentment — Claude, an asprrrng bank teller wrth a francee, blames Ray's small-trme con man for cuttrng hrs lrfe off rn rts prrme. Drrector Ted Demme (Beautiful Girls) keeps thrngs on track as the years pass by and the layers of make-up prle up on hrs leads' faces. Rooted rn a scrrpt by Robert Ramsey and Matthew Stone (Destiny Turns On The Radio), Life happrly av0rds many of the prrson movre clrches such as the sadrstrc warden, and wrth a parr of commrtted central performances, rs never rn danger of becommrng a mere comedy vehrcle. (Mrles Frelder) General release from Fri 27 Aug.
Physiognomy: Glenn Close in Cookie's Fortune
Cookie's Fortune (12) 118 mins
Nerther‘ a rrrasterprece Irke Short Cuts, nor a prece of studro hack work Irke The Gingerbread lt/lan, Robert Altman's latest rs a lrkeable, very mrnor slrce of Arrrer‘rcana
The plot rs srmple enOLrgh, neglrgrble even PatrrCra Neal's trtular' character commrts surcrde, her nreces, Glenn Close and Julranne Moore, arrrve and frnd the body Avarrcrous Close and docrle MOOre arrange the scene so rt looks as rf a murderous theft had taken place Of course, a theft does take place as we see Close removmg \'drrOLtS valuables wrth the wrcked \xrtch features and body language of a trred and trusted clrche Physlognomy — the rdea that the way we look rs a
107 THE LIST :6 Aug—9 Set: 1999
reflectron of the way we are — may have dred as an rdea before the brrth of Crnema, but rn Hollywood rt has found rts natural home Altman’s broad, grvrng sensrbrlrty usually works harder than thrs, that rt doesn’t, rndrcates a master awartrng hrs next brg protect Not that there aren't the usual wry moments the aCCLrsed man (Charles S Dutton) buckrng the rules and playrng scrabble rn hrs cell wrth a number of buddres Ned Beatty rnsrstrng DuttOn can't be gurlty — Beatty's frshed wrth the man But Altman's lazy dramatrc rmpetus works best when there are characters and not JUSI character qurrks to be drawn out In Cookie’s Fortune hrs rnqurrrng vrSLral style farls to frnd characters of any substance (Tony McKrbbrn) .8‘ Selected release from Frr 3 Sep
Go (18) 100 mins e w
Slacker: Sarah Polley in Go
00ug eran's follow up to Swingers comprrses three rnterlockrng storres about slacker krds at work, play and gettrng rnto trouble rn Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Unfoldrng one after another, the tales double back on themselves vrewrng events from alternate perspectrves.
Sarah Polley's supermarket checkout grrl, Ronna, gets rnto trouble Wrth a drug dealer and an undercover cop when she trres to score a Irttle money on the srde. Former Grange Hill star Desmond Askew's nobby Brrt abroad, whrle Srmon goes on the krnd of trrp to Vegas every FHA/l reader dreams of. Lastly, Adam and Zack (Scott Wolf and Jay Mohr) get themselves rnvrted to a brzarre Chrrstmas Eve drnner wrth erlram Frchtner’s creepy cop. On the perrphery, Ronna’s frrend Clarre (Dawson’s Creek's Katre Holmes) provrdes a bookend story wrth a pleasrngly unexpected outcome.
Go may not have Swrnger's Rat Pack jOkGTy, nor Jon Favreau’s qurrky dralogue (’You're so money', etc) and rt borrows rts structure from Tarantrno, but the Cumulatrve rmpact of the storys' mrx rs enormously entertarnrng. Rrght here, rrght now, Go rs the movre equalent of Brg Beat mUSIC, much of whrch rs featured on rts great sOundtrack. (Mrles Frelder)
I General release from Frr 3 Sep.
Never Been Kissed (12) 107 mins
Based on a true lrfe case of a thrrtysomethrng returnrng to hrs old school posrng as an erghteen-year-old student, thrs translatron to the screen rs here expanded and developed as a vehrcle for Drew Barrymore.
As JOUrnallSt JOSIe Geller, Barrymore rs grven her frrst ~ and rf she farls, only -
undercover reportrng assrgnment: to go back to hrgh school as a student to frnd out about modern educatron from the InSlde. Needless to say Jessre has some problems adjustrng to the prrorrtres of her new lrfe. At school frrst trme around, Josre was far from fvtrss Popular. Overwerght and swotty, she was prcked on by her classmates. Now, slrmmer, more worldly wrse and wrth an eye on the extra currrcular actrvrtres of her fellow students, JOSIe frnds that she begrns to have a lot more fun second trme around. Not that she rs prepared for everythrng, least of all fallrng for one of her teachers and seekrng help from her cool, but under achrevrng brother (Davrd Arquette).
Caprtalrsrng on the conSrderable charm of rts star, Never Been Kissed rs a cheery, upbeat affarr, enjoyable enough for the popcorn cmema audrence. (Anwar Brett)
General release from Fri 27 Aug.
Place Vendome (15) 118 mins
Thrs sleek thrrller from seasoned actress and now establrshed frlmmaker Nrcole Garcra has some of the same pleasures as last year's L’Appartement. an rntrrcate narratrve, crrss-crossmg relatronshrps and an rconographrc use of Parrs (the frlm’s trtle rs also an excluswe Parrsran square).
Garcra's frlm, though, has a brt more to rt, more emotronal resonance — courtesy, perhaps, of the characters' senrorrty here. Where rn L’Appartement we wrtnessed y0ung thrngs fallrng rn love and d0ub|e dealrng, Place VendOme has Catherrne Deneuve as Marranne lvlalrvert, a woman rn her frftres whose lrfe has fallen apart, whose husband rs Surcrdal. He's the owner of a grand Jewellery frrm that's gomg bust, she’s for far too long been Srdelrned Out of the famrly busrness and rnto a dryrng-out clrnrc. Frndrng herself rn possessron of some rllegal stones that c0uld save the frrm from berng bOLrght over, Marranne feels once agarn the thrrll of the chase.
What Garcra offers rs a thrrller plot arded by mrd-lrfe crrsrs baggage. Into Marranne's lrfe comes a man (Jean- Prerre Bacrr) whose younger lover has left hrm, and a lover from Marranne's past (JaCQues Dutronc) who's now wrth Bacrr's ex (Emmanuelle Sergner) There's plot enough here for Garcra to rollercoast, but the drrector's more rnterested rn character study. we’re grven a clearer sense of where Marranne rs comrng from than of the
Method acting: Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed