1997, US, directed by Frank Oz
Kevin Kline plays beloved small-town English teacher Howard Brackett who, just three days before his wedding, finds himself outed on national TV by a former student making his Oscar acceptance speech. Howard's life is, of course, turned upside-down by this 'revelation', as he and everyone else in town tries to figure out whether he is, in fact, gay - and whether it even matters to them (with the exception of his fiancée, for whom it matters more than most). Kline is thoroughly entertaining, all awkward gestures and confusion, while the script sparkles at times (especially in the scenes featuring Howard's students and at his bachelor party, where arguments break out over the Barbra Streisand movies Howard has been showing). The supporting cast, too, is generally strong - although Joan Cusack, as the fiancée, is wearing. As my wife said , though, it's remarkable, given the set up, how completely sexless the story is. In some ways, it's as though the film completely misses the point by avoiding anything remotely sexual - and yet in other ways, that's exactly the point, that it doesn't really matter what someone does, as long as they attempt to be a decent human being.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Friday, March 03, 2006
2005, US, directed by Tony Scott
While it's not exactly original -- the structure, if not the hyper-kinetic visual style, owes much to Quentin Tarantino -- I'm still surprised that Domino wasn't a bigger box-office hit given the sheer amount of energy with which Domino Harvey's story is (fictionally) told. The movie never, ever slows down (which is lucky, because the details of the central crime spree are well-nigh incomprehensible), Keira Knightley is appealingly and convincingly spunky, and there's a liberal dose of humor, particularly at the expense of two Beverly Hills, 90210 cast members.
Tony Scott's color scheme and frenzied editing are a bit of a trip at times, but that's the whole point of conveying the lives of three bounty hunters hopped up on adrenaline and nicotine, bending and breaking the law at every turn. The characters at the heart of the movie might be complete moral basket cases, but they sure look like they're having fun, and it's nice to see Mickey Rourke get his teeth into a role again.