Daily Archives: February 20, 1996

Rumble In The Bronx

A mainly routine Hong Kong action film from fleet and floppy-haired action hero Jackie Chanthe number-one box-office hit in mainland China in 1995, released here the following year. It’s light on plot and character, but the stunts are well staged: Chan plays a Hong Kong cop vacationing in New York who tangles with street gangs. This was mainly shot in Vancouver and looks it. Directed by Stanley Tong from a script by Edward Tang and Fibe Ma. 89 min. (JR)… Read more »

Before And After

The brutally mauled corpse of a teenage girl is found in a small Massachusetts town, and all the evidence seems to point to her boyfriend (Edward Furlong), the son of a local pediatrician (Meryl Streep) and sculptor (Liam Neeson) who has mysteriously disappeared. The father decides to suppress evidence before he even knows what happened. Adapted by Ted Tally (The Silence of the Lambs) from Rosellen Brown’s best-selling novel, and very well directed by Barbet Schroeder, this movie becomes an absorbing meditation on the separate claims made by family loyalty and social responsibility that both divide and unite the family (which also has a young daughter, played by Julia Weldon, who serves as narrator). Curiously, we are never told why the girl’s corpse is so badly disfigured, though everything else gets explained. Over the course of exploring this troubling all-American subject, the filmmakers do a fine job of fleshing out the major characters (I especially liked Alfred Molina as the son’s defense lawyer), and the New England locations are beautifully integrated. With Daniel Von Bargen, John Heard, Ann Magnuson, and Kaiulani Lee. (JR)… Read more »

Unforgettable

After making a name for himself as a director of postnoirs (Red Rock West, The Last Seduction), John Dahl switches genres to SF thriller, and thanks in part to a sprawling and undisciplined, if not preposterous, script (by Bill Geddie, the executive producer of several Barbara Walters specials), complete with a mad forensic pathologist (Ray Liotta), he hits the skids. Helped by a resourceful neurobiologist (Linda Fiorentino), Liotta discovers that memories are stored in cerebral spinal fluid. He then injects himself with his dead wife’s in order to solve the mystery of who killed her. Maybe this would have worked as a modest trashy thriller compressed to 75 minutes, but Dahl lets it run for almost two hours, punctuated with more flashy flashbacks and sweaty close-ups of Liotta (the poor man’s Jeffrey Hunter) than any one person can take, and it becomes increasingly hard to sustain an interest in the plot, much less in whodunit. One nice dividend, though, is Fiorentino, who seems to have consciously striven to play the reverse of her character in The Last Seductionshe’s klutzy, nurturing, and ethicaland does a charming turn with it. With Peter Coyote, Christopher McDonald, Kim Cattrall, Kim Coates, and David Paymer. (JR)… Read more »