Films Review July


Fascinating television miniseries about the O.J. Simpson murder trial and the Dream Team that won him his freedom. Director Lawrence Schiller and writer Norman Mailer deliver the impossible, a film about one of the biggest trials in history that still remains suspenseful. Even though we know the ending, the trip getting there is more than worth it. Ving Rhames is amazing as attorney Johnny Cochran, who leads a dream team of actors including Ron Silver, Bruno Kirby and Christopher Plummer. Even though the film is about Simpson, he remains a supporting player, only turning up on television monitors and sets. This is a film about what happened behind the scenes, and as written by Mailer from his book, what we didn’t see was far more interesting than what the court cameras captured. Even though this is a television miniseries, it’s still grand entertainment. (Trimark)


Sweet and funny romantic comedy about what happens when the groom disappears on his wedding day. That’s what happens to Sara (Julianna Margulies), who is dressed and ready to get married to John (Ivan Sergei). Easier said than done. Thanks to a confession from his recently sober brother Zack (Clayton Rohner), John finds himself doubting his future. Before the day is over, John will find himself on a journey of self-discovery that will leave audiences wanting more. Director Ian McCrudden does a wonderful job of making any of this matter, a lightweight effort that benefits from a strong cast and lots of interesting, off-beat characters. Sergei is excellent as John, a man who finds himself at a crossroad on his wedding day, while supporting players Dixie Carter, Kevin Tighe, Adrian Pasdar and Andrew Buckley keep the wedding party hopping. (Monarch)


pollock_photo.JPG (7581 bytes)Ed Harris is a double-threat in this examination of the life of tortured abstract painter Jackson Pollock. Harris plays the influential artist and makes his debut as director. The marriage creates a piece of filmmaking that is both passionate and intimate. You really get to know the artist, whose life in the 1940s art scene was met with unexpected praise for his use of expressionism. His personal life wasn’t nearly as celebrated, a wild mix of love for art and his wife Lee Krasner (Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden) and constant fear that his success is only fleeting. Behind the camera Harris gets excellent performances from the cast, including himself, while in front of the camera Harris creates a memorable performance that literally ignites the screen with its passion. Harden is wonderful as a woman who gives up her dreams for her husband, only to realize it leaves her empty. You can feel the heat between Harris and Harden, while the film does a remarkable job of evoking time and place. Not only are we allowed to share this couple’s virulent life, we are transported back to a time and place (New York) that now only exists in the movies. It’s a wonderful trip that leaves you feeling like you’ve learned something about Pollock in particular, and life in general. (Columbia-TriStar)


Kids will enjoy this animated treat based on the book by E.B. White (Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little). While the animation isn’t nearly as defined as more recent theatrical films, kids won’t mind. They will adore this tale of a mute trumpeter swan named Louie who finds his voice and wins the heart of the lovely Serena. The musical numbers are okay, suitable for non-demanding tykes, while the vocal talent includes such heavy-hitters as Carol Burnett (the teacher), Seth Green (Louie’s nemesis), Reese Witherspoon (Serena), Jason Alexander and Mary Steenburgen (Louie’s parents) and Joe Mantegna. Available for resell at $24.95. (Columbia-TriStar)


Frothy little romantic comedy stars Ron Linvingston (Office Space) as Marty, a young man living in Manhattan who is fed up with the dating scene and is ready to move back home to Maine. All that changes when Marty meets not one but two different women named Nina. There’s Nina Cohen (Cara Buono), who adores Marty but finds him distant. Then there’s Nina Harris (Amanda Peet), also head over heels for Marty and willing to do something about it. Talk about your dilemmas. First he can’t get a date, and now Marty has two women of his dreams ready to fulfill his life. Writer-director Neil Turitz takes a simple premise and fills it with all sorts of funny observations and references. Livingston is adorable as Marty, while both Buono and Peet seem to good to be true. Excellent low-budget but endearing date movie. (Avalanche)



PARTNERS (R/First Look)

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