Archives - 1995 

  • Nine Months

    2018-12-09 14:50:00

    In Nine Months, writer-director Chris Columbus' remake of Patrick Braoude's little seen French film, Neuf Mois, Hugh Grant plays a dapper San Francisco child psychologist who goes ape-shit when his girlfriend of five years, played by Julianne More, informs him that she's pregnant. Compounding his apprehension about the changes fatherhood will invariably impose upon his freewheeling lifestyle, are misguided and downright wacky words of wisdom from his insufferable best friend and a suburban married couple from hell. After scoring big with Mrs. Doubtfire, Columbus has taken a nose dive with a predictable, instantly forgetable would-be comedy that even Robin Williams' cameo as a foreign obstetrician given to sprouting malapropisms cannot salvage. While his recent arrest by the vice squad for soliciting the services of a hooker continues to vilify him in the court of public opinion, it's actually films like Nine Months that pose the biggest threat to Hugh Grant's career.     

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  • Priest

    2018-09-10 00:39:34

    When New York's Roman Catholic Archbishop condemned Priest as "an abomination as viciously anti-Catholic as anything that has rotted on the silver screen", little did he realise that he was giving this low-budget British film the kind of publicity the producers would never be able to afford. To be sure, this is not exactly a remake of Going My Way or The Bells Of St Marys. As written by Jimmy McGovern, Father Greg Pilkington is very much a product of the New Age: he's young, handsome, fashionably liberal and idealistic, and gay. But, as is often the case with a cleric with too much heaven on his mind, life's harsh ironies have little respect for blind faith. For while the local bishop preaches politics from the pulpit and the senior priest thinks nothing of a furtive roll in the sack with his black house-keeper, it is the hapless, guilt-ridden Greg who is publicly pilloried when his nocturnal sexual liasons with a local boy are revealed. In the best traditions of calculated melodrama, noble sentiment does win out in the end. With one eye on the box-office and one hand down their respective trousers, writer McGovern and director Antonia Bird know the value of a good sex scene and the four on view here, particularly the ones featuring Father Greg and his lover, all too readily reveal where the film's priorities really lie. That said, the film is never less than engaging and the attractive Linus Roache, whether dressed or undressed, is well cast in the title role.  

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  • Carrington

    2016-07-09 18:25:09

    During the first three decades of the 20th century, England's literary and artistic life was heavily influenced by the so-called Bloomsbury Group, an influential ad-hoc collection of Camridge-educated writers, artists, philosophers and intellectuals who met regularly at Virginia Woolf's house in Bloomsbury, London to share ideas and support each other's artistic activities. An eminent member of this celebrated Bohemian coterie, which included, apart from the aforementioned Woolf, E.M.Foster, Roger Fry, John Maynard Keynes and Clive Bell, was the writer Lytton Strachey. In the summer of 1916, whilst staying at his cottage in Berkshire, the physically frail Strachey, whose homosexuality was an open secret among his tight-knit group, formed an unusually close friendship with an impulsive, restless young painter named Dora Carrington. Coming off a failed marriage to Ralph Partridge, another Bloomsbury member and a former lover of Strachey's, Carrington found uncommon comfort and calm in Strachey's non-judgemental aloofness and soft-spoken, intellectual embrace. Despite a brief affair with a friend of her ex-husbands (and a subsequent terminated pregnancy) her undying love for Strachey became the one constant in her life, and the deep, platonic relationship the pair shared (until his natural and her tragic death) has the makings of one of the most poignant, heart-breaking love stories of the 20th century. Borrowing heavily from Michael Holroyd's Strachey biography, director Christopher Hampton's film paints an intimate period-perfect portrait of a compelling, deeply moving and unconventional romance distilled from the wildly diverse personalities of two extraordinary but now largely forgotton people. With her distictive pageboy haircut and tomboyish attire, Emma Thompson is superb in the title role, but it's the remarkable Jonathan Pryce as the emaciated Strachey who walks away with the film. His performance deservedly won him the best actor award at the recent Cannes Film Festival. 

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  • Little Women

    2016-07-09 17:56:54

    Directed by Gillian Armstrong from a screenplay by Robin Swicord, this fourth screen incarnation (fifth if you count the dreadful 1978 telemovie) of Louisa May Alcott's 1868 classic novel chronicling the lives of four sisters growing up in Concord, Mass. during and after the Civil War is an impeccably realised period melodrama that steadfastly refuses to stoop to easy sentimentality. To be sure, this is what once was euphemistically referred to as a women's picture and one can only speculate on how well its inherent and resolutely PG-rated propriety will sit with contemporary audiences long weened on liberal dollops of in-you-face realism. Still, as a window to a time when vastly different social mores and conventions relegated women to the pampered monotony of a largely ornamental existence, the film has an emotional resonance that is neither cloying nor condescending. As Jo, the eldest sister (the role Katherine Hepburn made famous in George Cukor's excellent 1933 version) Winona Ryder justifies her best actress Oscar nomination with a strong, unaffecting performance that is seamlessly underscored by the fine ensemble work of co-stars Susan Sarandon, Trini Alvarado, Kisten Dunst and Clare Danes.


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