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Wednesday, March 25, 1998

Mrs. Dalloway

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 1998 at 12:00 AM

Virginia Woolf's 1925 novel, Mrs. Dalloway, is a benchmark of high modernism, flush with overlapping streams of consciousness and an abiding faith in the ability of the well-chosen phrase to suggest some of our more elusive perceptions &emdash; it's a multilayered, word-drunk text and far from an obvious choice...

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Wild Things

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 1998 at 12:00 AM

One certainty at the start of director John McNaughton's thriller Wild Things is that someone in this tawdry mess is guilty of something. Guidance counselor Sam Lombardo (Matt Dillon) is giving a lecture on sex crimes to an auditorium of Blue Bay high schoolers, when misfit Suzie Toller (Neve...

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Z

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 1998 at 12:00 AM

One of the chief strengths of Z, Costa-Gavras' classic work of crime fiction, is that it presents complex political ideas with great objectivity and ease. The film is extremely lucid for a melodrama from 1969 -- it was acclaimed on its release with two Academy Awards and the Jury...

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Primary Colors

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 1998 at 12:00 AM

Despite protestations from cast and crew, Primary Colors is the fictive bookend to D.A. Pennebaker's "fear and loathing on the campaign trail" documentary of Bill Clinton's 1992 conquest of the Oval Office, The War Room. Two years after Joe Klein's roman à clef set the political class abuzz about...

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Lilies

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 1998 at 12:00 AM

Lilies is the type of film that sets up conventions only to explode them. In 1952 Bishop Bilodeau (Marcel Sabourin) visits a Quebec penitentiary ostensibly to hear the confession of a dying inmate, Simon (Aubert Pallascio). But the confessional becomes a kind of prison for the bishop, who is...

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Wednesday, March 18, 1998

The Man In The Iron Mask

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 1998 at 12:00 AM

The Man in the Iron Mask begins with the realization that the three musketeers, who once pledged ''all for one and one for all!'' are older (if not necessarily wiser) and long ago took divergent paths. Athos (John Malkovich) devoted himself to raising his son Raoul, Porthos (Gerard Depardieu)...

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Mean Streets

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 1998 at 12:00 AM

What a turnaround! That tireless advocate for the restoration of modern cinema, Martin Scorsese, fast becoming recognized as America's greatest living director, enjoys the renewal of his seminal feature Mean Streets with this 25th-anniversary reprint. Mean Streets was one of the director's first acutely autobiographical films about growing up...

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Badlands

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 1998 at 12:00 AM

The great achievement of writer-director Terence Malick's Badlands (1973) is that it takes a very familiar story -- two young and alienated lovers on a killing spree -- and makes it seem as though it's never been done before. Though the film is part of a genre with an...

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Hush

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 1998 at 12:00 AM

For a prime example of how a dreadful movie can still spawn a terrific performance, see Jessica Lange in Hush. In this mean-spirited little potboiler, she's cast as Martha, the matriarch of a Kentucky horse-breeding farm regally christened Kilronan. Martha is basically a contemporary wicked witch, a supremely possessive...

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Caught Up

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 1998 at 12:00 AM

Here begins neo-Blaxploitation, Part One. Caught Up, a ludicrous nest egg of indulgent producers' interests and black actors' faltering careers, is so crass as to invite comparisons to the film era when studios and big-budget companies used black faces and reductive ideas (usually violent ones) to cash in at...

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