Archives - 1998 

  • Twilight

    2019-11-23 00:35:34

    Twilight, co-written by director Robert Benton and Richard Russo, is a neo-noir thriller set in sun-burnt Los Angeles, featuring an ageing but still charismatic Paul Newman as a former private eye now enjoying life in the slow lane doing handyman work for an ex-movie star couple, played by Gene Hackman and Susan Sarandon. Of course, as fate would have it, his idyll is short-lived when the simple delivery of an envelope full of cash suddenly plunges him into a complex web of sex and blackmail, and a dark secret that reaches deep into his employers' murky past. A moody, atmospheric, compelling estimation of moral ambiguity, hubris and misplaced privilege.

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  • Dangerous Beauty

    2017-12-07 22:06:58

    Debuting on local screens this week after languishing on the shelf for the past 18 months, Dangerous Beauty, adapted from Margaret Rosenthal's biographical novel by Jenninie Dominy,  and directed by Marshall Herskovitz, is a 16th century-set costume drama saddled with a bad dose of the women's lib blues. Originally titled, at one time or another prior to its release, as Courtesan, The Honest Courtesan, Indiscretion and Venice, the film tracks a few years in the life of one Veronica Franco, a commoner who, despairing of her titled lover's refusal to marry beneath his station, takes a cue from her mother and becomes a high class courtesan (prostitute) to the court of Venice. Clearly a girl to the bordello born, it's not long before news of her specialised skills has every mover and shaker in the city beating a non too discrete path to her bedroom door. When the local prosecutor, a spurned would-be lover, seeks to extract revenge for past slights by indicting Franco on a charge of witchcraft, the stage is set for our bed-hopping heroine to assail the court at her inquisition with an impassioned speech whose anachronistic proto-feminist rhetoric sounds like it was lifted (or paraphrased) by the screenwriter from a Germaine Greer screed. Which, of course, is fully in keeping with the tenor of this colourful romp. For while the film strives for historical accuracy as far as Ms Franco's peripatetic misadventures are concerned, the levity that playfully informs its knockabout mise-en-scene is straight out the Richard Lester Musketeer playbook. The result is a Masterpiece Theater production rejigged as a bawdy, opulently designed bodice-ripper featuring a plethora of heaving bosoms, smouldering, swashbuckling studs and lascivious, moustache-twirling villians. Catherine McCormack, Rufus Sewell, Oliver Platt and Jacqueline Bisset get into the spirit with relish.    


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