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Volume 1, Number 7

This Week's Reviews:  Hunter's Moon, Life, Goodbye Lover, Lost & Found.



Hunter's Moon

(Dir: Richard Weinman, Starring Burt Reynolds, Haley DuMond, Keith Carradine, "Wild" Bill Mock, Pat Hingle, and Brion James)

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BY: DAVID PERRY

When I saw the poster to this at my local cineplex, I was caught quite off guard. Considering that I had never heard anything about it and even the local newspapers had not even put it in their film listings, I was a little weary upon entering the theatre. Not only does Hunter's Moon have obscurity, it also deserves it. The film reminded me of something that would come on Cinemax after midnight with a premise like walk-sex-talk-sex-action-sex-action. The film even has a sex scene under a waterfall very reminiscent of last week's A Walk on the Moon.

The film follows the relationship between some Georgia backwoods family and the man that falls in love the only daughter. The father (Reynolds) is a widower and has made his daughter (DuMond, nude in the first scene of her first film) do all the work around the house. When a nomadic man (Carradine) falls in love with the daughter, the father sees this as the loss of his slave. So what else is a father to do but set out to hunt the man down.

The film also goes into a stupid subplot about the father's bootlegging business with "The Judge" (Hingle). That brings to mind that one of the few good things about this film is the audacious hamminess of Hingle. Whether in a 1970s Western or a 1990s action film, Hingle always succeeds in showing off his scenery-chewing ability. Another good point about the film is its moody use of music. This would come in handy if the director did not try to cram it down the throats of the audience by sticking with what sounds like Enya on "Pure Moods, Vol. 2." It is easy to see from the beginning of the film that the director is either a purist or incompetent. My guess would be incompetent.


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Life

(Dir: Ted Demme, Starring Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Nick Cassavetes, Obba Babatunde, Lisa Nicole Carson, Noah Emmerich, Poppy Montgomery, Miguel Nunez Jr., Guy Torry, Clarence Williams III, Bokeem Woodbine, and Ned Beatty)

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BY: DAVID PERRY

I think it is rather funny that people call this the reteaming of Boomerang stars Murphy and Martin because no one really remembers that film. I also find it funny that Ted Demme thinks that by directing episodes of Homicide: Life on the Street he will have a film career since many directors have failed going from TV to movies. What I do not find funny is this film. I'll be the first to admit that this story about two guys framed of murder and sentenced to life in Mississippi Prison does have some assets, but lacks the thing most in need: hilarity.

I'm not going to knock it because it makes fun in prison (weird how some will compare Life and Life is Beautiful over this one thing, like Roger Ebert has already done), instead I'm actually going to commend it on its use of the Mississippi Prison System. I liked the look of the film and the performance of Nick Cassavettes as the lead prison guard. Another refreshing part is the quickie performances of Ned Beatty and R. Lee Ermey. The two leads actually worked together dispite a poor script. I think that given the right material, Murphy and Martin could do something good.


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Goodbye Lover

(Dir: Roland Joffe, Starring Patricia Arquette, Dermot Mulroney, Ellen DeGeneres, Mary-Louise Parker, Don Johnson, Ray McKinnon, Alex Rocco, Andre Gregory, and John Neville)

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BY: DAVID PERRY

Before writing this review, I've already found out that I'm in the minority of critics that liked this film. I found it to be fiendishly funny and refreshing. It reminded me of how good Palmetto or Wild Things could have been had the two of them not gotten too meddled in double crossings. I heard Roger Ebert call it direct-to-video fodder, but I could not disagree any more. It is smart, sexy, and funny

The film follows the double and triple crossing that come after the planned death of one of the film's leads (in respect to those that will actually see this, I'll refrain from giving away the actor). It stems from scenes of campy joy to violent madness. It even has a soundtrack that includes two thirds of the soundtrack to The Sound of Music (composer John Ottman gets kudos for his score, which at times has hints of the music from TSOM). I also really liked the performances in the film. I actually enjoyed Ellen DeGeneres in a film, which is quite remarkable. The only actor that seems lacking in the film is Don Johnson, who should stick to Nash Bridges and the next Miami Vice reunion. I even liked Dermot Mulroney, for heaven's sake. The best of the lot would be Patricia Arquette, who gives her best performance yet as the noir femme fatale. The film also looks really good, of course what do you expect from the man that brought us The Killing Fields. In fact my only problem with this film is that it has a thoroughly uninteresting first third. I thought that the film was on its way to a D rating after about thirty minutes. It lags and is uninteresting for that period, but when it comes back, boy does it come back. I'd also like to mention a great cameo by X-Files: Fight the Future and The Adventures of Baron Manchausen star John Neville. There is also a great uncredited cameo from a certain actor-director-writer who had a great film last year. His scenes and the ending are probably the best parts of the film. In the end, Goodbye, Lover should get a higher rating, but of course, to get to the good parts, you must trek through the bad.


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Lost & Found

(Dir: Jeff Pollack, Starring David Spade, Sophie Marceau, Patrick Bruel, Artie Lange, Mitchell Whitfield, Martin Sheen, Jon Lovitz, Estelle Harris, Rose Marie, Marla Gibbs, and Carol Cook)

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BY: DAVID PERRY

You know the film will be great when it is directed and co-written by the man who brought us Bootie Call. Lost & Found serves as the anti-There's Something About Mary. Not that the films differ in context (the director picks up more Mary-esque sequences than DePalma has picked up from Hitchcock), the big difference was that Mary was funny this is not. I guess the success of Mary should have warned me of things like this to come, but for some reason I didn't think I would be as put off by this film as I actually am. I have always skipped films like this before (re Dirty Work, Half Baked, Almost Heroes, Chairman of the Board) and I'm beginning to wish I had skipped this.

This stupid Spade vehicle follows his attempts to woo his new neighbor (Braveheart co-star Marceau) by forcing her to have a reason to spend time with him. His great plan to get this is by stealing her dog and then going on the search for him with her. From there we get everything from unfunny jokes about look alike stalkers to really unfunny jokes about dog fices. The film goes as far as having a Robert Redford based "dog whisperer" (Lovitz).

I think it is kind of sad that Marceau, who was very good as the princess in Braveheart, has been forced to sink this low in American films. Her last film was Firelight from France, a much much better film and proving that Americans do not know what to do with foreigners when we find a good one (Guy Pierce and Robert Carlyle in Ravenous). The only person that seems to know what to do is Jackie Chan who just sits back and redubs some of his older films (though he did sink as low as doing Rush Hour). What's even sadder is this film's misportrayal of There's Something About Mary. I was one of the many that came to the defense of the little comedy when it opened to small ticket sales, so it has a slight bond to me. Seeing this film nearly steal its ending and completely ripping off its closing credits only made this film plummet in my rating book. I can think of no rating that suits this film better.


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Reviews by:
David Perry
1999, Cinema-Scene.com

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