|By ED KOCH
Sweethearts is a throwback to the 30s and 40s era of sweet, foolish movies. In this
case, it is updated with some jokes, sight gags, obscenities and expletives. It is all
fluff, but well-acted. While I was bored, there were lots of laughs, all lighthearted. The
script never surpasses a modest, reasonably well-written TV sitcom. So, if you are into
sitcoms, you may well love it.
story is about making movies. Lee Philips (Billy Crystal), a high-level PR guy, is fired
by a Hollywood studio chief (Stanley Tucci). Lee is sacked in advance of a junket for
critics to see a new movie starring Eddie Thomas (John Cusack) and Gwen Harrison
(Catherine Zeta-Jones). These stars were married and doing movies together, but separated
when Gwen took a lover, played by Hank Azaria.
fans have turned on the former couple, Gwen in particular. Their last movie together is
about to open. Crystal is hired to bring the separated couple together and to save the
junket. He enlists the help of Gwens ugly duckling sister, Kiki (Julia Roberts).
Christopher Walken plays the director, a near madman, who will not show the movie to
anyone but the press.
wrote the script with a collaborator. He is a much better comedian and actor than he is a
screenwriter. All of the actors do credible jobs, but for me they were all wasted in roles
that needed much less talent than this cast has.
OF THE APES (-)
of the Apes is a big disappointment. The hype for this remake filled the theaters on
opening day, and I certainly had great expectations. But alas, it is an example of owhat
happens when you substitute glitz and allegedly deep philosophical ruminations for
character, development and plot.
film puts the story further into the future than the original. Capt. Leo Davidson (Mark
Wahlberg) is the updated character, played in the earlier version by Charlton Heston.
is now an astronaut, training a chimp named Pericles to fly his own small space ship. Leo
leaves the mother ship in a small unit to rescue Pericles, who earlier had fled the mother
ship and is now lost in space. Landing on a strange planet after hurling forward in time,
Leo falls into an ongoing chase between ape masters and their human slaves.
script has a number of funny lines and the best one is delivered by an ape who comments on
the ongoing slave uprising: Cant we all just get along? The direct
message of the film is peace and understanding between species, but clearly the intended
recipients here on Earth are the different races.
movie has two unrequited love affairs, both suggested and never explicit. Two women are
after Leo: the ape Ari (Helena Bonham Carter), and human Daena (Estella Warren). Wahlberg
has never been more wooden. I think he is normally a fine actor, but here he was still
Markey Mark, an unformed, unskilled neophyte in acting.
are several interesting roles, but none that could be described as gripping or brilliantly
acted. There is the archvillain General Thade (Tim Roth), who was given the go-ahead to
destroy the humans once and for all. There is also a reluctant Senator Sandar
(David Warner), political leader of othe apes and father of Ari, who sympathized with the
despised human beings and tried to help them escape. Comic relief is provided by Limbo
(Paul Giamatti), who buys and sells slaves.
the scurrying of the gorilla soldiers reminded me of the munchkins in The Wizard of
Oz. The movie is probably just right for sci-fi buffs and adolescents, but not for
someone who really enjoys good movies with good stories.
real winner in the movie is Charlton Heston, who plays General Thades father. He was
good in the original as a human and is good in the remake as an ape.
AND THE ANGRY INCH (+)
the screen lit up, the audience burst into applause. I knew then I was in the presence of
a movie that was well on its way to cult status. Of course, the movie was preceded by a
hit off-Broadway play and reviews of the film were phenomenally good in both The New
York Times and the tabloids.
movie is a rock operetta, but nothing like Kurt Weills The Three Penny
Opera, which always made sense. The music is terrific to even my untutored ear.
story begins in Germany during the occupation following World War II. Little Hansel, son
of a German woman and an American soldier, is raised by his mother after the father
leaves. Hansel finds he is a girlie boy. As an adolescent, he is seen by a
black American sergeant who thinks that Hansel, sunbathing naked, is a girl. When it is
revealed that Hansel is a boy, the soldier still desires him.
later has a sex change operation, regrettably botched, leaving him with the remnants of a
penis hence the title. Much of what we learn of the plot is from the lyrics of the
songs. The star, writer and director, John Cameron Mitchell, who compares to David Bowie
in accomplishment and style, does a terrific job creating a believable mood in settings
that are bizarre.
marries the sergeant and goes to America with him, but he leaves her for a younger man.
Hedwigs new love then leaves Hedwig to become a rock star, stealing and singing
songs Hedwig wrote. Hedwig finds a new husband, another rock musician who is part of her
rock band. This part is played by a woman.
its hard to keep track of all that is taking place, but it is not necessary in order
to enjoy the energy and camp unfolding minute by minute. I liked it, but dont ask me
why. I think I am now ready for my first viewing of the Rocky Horror Picture
Show at midnight.
movie moves at a snails pace. Indeed, sometimes I had to pinch myself to stay awake.
Nevertheless, Ghost World is, on reflection, enthralling. This aspect is due
to the principal actor, Thora Birch, who overwhelms the film with her characterization of
Enid, who is truly screwed up.
in the movie is screwed up. Seymour, played by Steve Buscemi, lives with a roommate in a
seedy Los Angeles apartment. He sees himself as a loser, and he is. In everything he does,
including his personal life, none of his relationships work out. He meets Enid, who has no
relationships other than with her classmate, Rebecca (Scarlett Johannson), who is also a
two girls plan to live together. Enid moves out of the home that she shares with her dad
(Bob Balaban), who wants to be helpful but who cant break through the barrier she
has created to protect her from those who would help her.
movie is a downer, but played by consummate performers who make every relationship
believable, no matter how bizarre.