Daily Archives: March 18, 1996

It’s My Party

Expecting to die soon from AIDS, a Los Angeles architect (Eric Roberts) decides to end it all with pills, but not before throwing a two-day party for his friends and family. The bash consumes almost the entirety of this powerful comedy-drama by writer-director Randal Kleiser, who drew on personal experience. Among the architect’s party guests are his mother (Lee Grant), his sister (Marlee Matlin), his estranged lover (Gregory Harrison), his estranged father (George Segal), and others played by Olivia Newton-John, Bruce Davison, Roddy McDowall, Margaret Cho, Paul Regina, Devon Gummersall, and Bronson Pinchot. Sally Kellerman and Nina Foch are among the cameos. This may sound like the worst kind of Henry Jaglom movie, but despite a tendency to cut between sound bites that supports such a comparison it’s leagues ahead of that sort of New Age exercise. It’s a serious (albeit entertaining) movie about learning to die bravely, and the cast honors the concept with plenty of warmth and intelligence. (JR)… Read more »

Little Indian, Big City

A French boulevard comedy, dubbed into English and distributed by Disney, that should set your teeth on edge. A Paris businessman (Thierry Lhermitte), who needs to divorce his wife (Miou-Miou) after 13 years of separation in order to marry someone else (Arielle Dombasle), ventures to a South American rain forest to get her consent, only to discover that he has an Indian son (Ludwig Briand), whom he winds up bringing back with him to Paris, poisoned blow darts and all. The primitive third-world condescension here is calculated to warm your heart and fill your throat with chuckles; at least that’s what I assume writer-director Herve Palud had in mind. With Sonia Vollereaux; cowritten by Igor Aptekman. (JR)… Read more »

Diabolique

If you like basking in the star power of Sharon Stone and Isabelle Adjani as much as I do, you’ll probably stick it out through this ludicrous and slack remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s nasty but effective 1955 thriller; otherwise you shouldn’t go near this turkey. Set at an improbable boys school in Pennsylvania, where two teachers, one an ex-nun (Adjani) married to the sadistic headmaster (Chazz Palminteri), the other his mistress (Sharon Stone), plot the master’s murder, this at no point shows us any character or situation that seems remotely believable. There’s no evidence of any effort to adapt the story from 50s France to contemporary America. Indeed, thanks to the terrible script by Don Roos (Single White Female) and the floundering direction by Jeremiah Chechik (Benny & Joon), there’s no evidence of any brain whatsoever behind the camera. The three lead actors are resourceful enough to keep us mildly interested anyway, but don’t expect chills, suspense, or coherent narrative development; not even Kathy Bates as a wisecracking detectivea character not found in the originalcan bring this twitching corpse to life. With Spalding Gray, Alan Garfield, and Adam Hann-Byrd. (JR)… Read more »