THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE
(15) 92min .0.
Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgan's dOCUmentary doesn‘t attempt to provide an ‘objective' account of the ups and downs in the turbulent life of Hollywood producer Robert Evans. Based on the latter's autobiography and narrated by the gravel-v0iced Evans himself. it's a slice of seductive myth-making. an 'enchanted fable'. whose initial shot of a pair of red curtains opening to reveal Evans' lush Beverly Hills mansion. establishes the mood of artifiCiality and theatricality.
Still it's a remarkable stery: how a failed actor and clothing company millionaire became head of production at Paramount studios in the mid-19603 without any ObVIOUS qualifications for the post. And how this man helped
transform the ailing studio's fonunes. by 'Cotton Club murder'. Evans crashed and burned. before his ineVitable
overseeing a string of hits. including Rosemary's Baby. Love Story, The comeback. Godfather and Chinatown. Constantly photographed With the most beautiful women the was married for three years to Love Story star Ali MacGrawl. pals With Nicholson. Beatty. Hoffman and Henry Kissinger. Evans was a consummate risk-taker blessed With a
One of the film's reCurrent themes is the extent to which Evans has always depended on his public image: plucked is for peer peeple . . . take my number — from a svvimming pool in LA by Norma Shearer to be the lead in The Man of a Thousand Faces. he later got the key iob however — there are no dissenting voices at Paramount partly because the Midas touch. Brought down in the 19808 chairman. Charlie Bluhdorn. had been
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A slice of seductive myth-making
archives for photos llT‘any’ of which they digitally animate). movie clips and footage from film. sets. And it's treat to hear Evans charming tvlacGraw With such lines as. ‘Never plan. kid. Planning
l'in seven digits away.’ Don't expect to penetrate beneath the public persona
here. no colleagues to give an alternative vers:on of events. Evans preSuinably will
by a combination of cocaine misuse. the impressed by an article in the New York be highly satisfied. lTOlT‘. Dawsoni
rise of the conglomerates in Hollywood and negative publicity over the so-called
DRAMA LOVE LIZA (15) 90min .0.
This nervous breakdown of a movie won the Waido Salt Screenwriting Award at last year's Sundance Film Festival. Salt was a brilliant screenwriter who speCialised in characters dissolving slowly into monOSyIIabic discontent. Screenwriter Gordy Hoffman takes his cue from Salt With this story written for his brother. Philip Seym0ur Hoffman/i about the wheezing mourning of a computer programmer.
His name is Wilson Joel (played with worrying consumption by Philip Seymour in his first lead role). Wilson's Wife. Liza. has just committed suicide. As he grieves he finds a suicide note. His mother-in-law. Mary Ann lKathy Batesl. chides him to open it. Instead. he becomes addicted to sniffing petrol and hits the road with Liza's missive burning a hole in his back pocket.
This is a dark. strangely bland trip down Bereavement Beulevard. Hoffman is remarkable in an underwritten role. and there is excellent support from JD Walsh as an almost autistic toy boat hobbyist and Steven Tobolowsky as Wilson's understanding boss. Love Liza pulls out all the stops to look and feel like a 708 road mOVIe With murky. aerated Cinematography. unfussy editing and Todd Luiso's Monte Hellman-eSQUe directorial abandon.
The film says love hurts and there is no retribution in death. espeCially for the living. But emotional manipulation. excruciatingly. wins over the aesthetic in this case: Hoffman may just make it as the next poster boy for the anti-Euthanasia Campaign. lPaul Dalei I Selected release from Fri 37 Jan.
Nervous breakdown of a movie
28 THE LIST 150 Jan 18 let) Qlltjfl
Times abOLit this dynamic upstart. Burstein and Morgan have raided the
I Selected release from Fri 7 Feb. See feature. page 72.
Attempt to emulate 70$ cop thrillers
DRAMA NARC (18) 102min 00
Hard-hitting from the get go. Joe Carnahan's DetrOit-set crime thriller opens With undercover narcotics cop Nick Tellis (Jason Patrici engaged in a running gun battle With a drug dealer. The chase Culniinates in a school playground. Tellis gets his man. but a stray bullet hits a pregnant woman bystander and the trigger happy cOp is thrown off the force.
Eighteen months later. an undercover ‘narc' is gunned down on the jOb. ln film as in real life. nothing galvanises the fuzz more than the death of one of their own ‘in the line of duty'. so Tellis is recalled to service to shed light on the seedy underworld of DetrOit's drug trade. Teamed With the dead cop's partner Henry Oak (Ray Liotta. With some weight on), Tellis reads and re—reads the case file and hits the streets to engage in some good cop bad cop behaViOur With his aggresswe new partner. but still the facts don't add up.
In style and substance Narc sell-consciotisly attempts to emulate gritty 7()s cop thrillers like Se/‘p/co and The French Connection. Shot predominantly through a [ﬂue—tinged grainy lens With fast editing and split screens giving an all too earnest look to the film. stock-in-trade themes such as police corruptiOn. undercover cops getting hooked on Junk and endemic racism are wheeled out as thetigh the director's ticking them off a check list. The result is a rather weak homage to the classics of urban realism, saved only by Liotta's impressive turn as the no—messing cop's cop. (Catherine Bromleyl I General release from Fri 7 Feb.
ROMANTIC COMEDY TWO WEEKS NOTICE
(12A) 101min 00
When enVironmental lawyer Lucy Kelson (Sandra Bullock) takes a job With George Wade iHugh Granti. the feckless but charming SClOll of a huge New York real estate company run by his brother. she hopes to eprOit the firm's charitable funds and protect an old community centre. George wants a woman who can pick out clothes for him and not get fired for incompetence. but his constant neediness starts getting on top of Lucy and she hands in her resignation. However. as their working relationship winds down. both begin to doubt the wisdom of parting.
Lacks belly laughs
In Marc Lawrence's easy-going but slight romantic comedy. Bullock who also produced) and Grant play such endearing characters —- she cute‘n'clumsy. he with that lost public-school puppy look — that their rightness as a screen COuple is never in dOubt. The plot merely tinkers With the question of then incompatible politics. and the generic obstacles to true love — other partners for example — are disposed of with rather minimal fuss. Crucially for a film featuring actors of their comic pedigree. there is a (‘lisappointing lack of belly laughs. despite several well~obsenxed grace notes. And whoever thought Ms Bullock and bowel gags go together deseiyes to be shot. tSimon Wardelli I General release from Fri 2' Feb.