Daily Archives: May 7, 1996


Though it’s far from an unqualified success, this second feature by writer-director Stacy Cochran is generally an improvement over her first, My New Gun. Lukas Haas plays a rebellious loner in his senior year at a stuffy boarding school who comes to the aid of a woman (Winona Ryder) evading the police. Certain parts of the storyadapted from the James Salter short story Twenty Minutesare more believable than others, but the actors do a nice job of investing it all with a certain conviction, and there’s a fairy-tale tinge to some of the action that gives it a certain charm. With John C. Reilly, James LeGros, Skeet Ulrich, and Charlie Hofheimer. (JR) Read more


Another roller-coaster ride, enjoyable but dopey, from Jan De Bont (Speed), this one is blown up to Cecil B. De Mille proportions, with loads of special effects. Nearly all the major characters are tornado chasers in Oklahomarival teams of scientists eager to test their equipment to learn more about how tornadoes work. Much of the action is fill-in-the-blanks, and there’s something that passes lamely for a romantic triangle involving one of the scientists (Bill Paxton), his coworker and ex-wife (Helen Hunt), and his fiancee (Jami Gertz). But the engineering of the special effects is fairly impressive, and the sight of so many objects and creatures being buffeted about carries a certain apocalyptic splendor. The script was written by Michael Crichton and Anne-Marie Martin. With Cary Elwes and Lois Smith. PG-13, 113 min. (JR) Read more

The Horseman On The Roof

A revolutionary Italian (Olivier Martinez) in flight from Austrian soldiers in 1832 France is the focus of this colorful and lively 1995 French feature. The narrative involves a cholera epidemic raging through Provence, so expect to see a lot of corpses and crows along with the romance and adventure. With Juliette Binoche, Pierre Arditi, Francois Cluzet, and Jean Yanne; writer-director Jean-Paul Rappeneau (Cyrano de Bergerac) adapted Jean Giono’s novel Le Hussard sur la Toit. R, 135 min. (JR) Read more

Cold Comfort Farm

I’ve never read Stella Gibbons’s popular English novel of 1932a parody of the romantic rural novels that Mary Webb wrote during the 20sbut director John Schlesinger and adapter Malcolm Bradbury have gotten plenty of enjoyable mileage out of it. An aspiring writer, recently orphaned, decides to soak up material by moving in with her rural relatives in Sussex, where she has a big effect on the archaic local customs. Produced jointly by the BBC and Thames Television; with Joanna Lumley, Rufus Sewell, Ivan Kaye, Ian McKellen, Stephen Fry, and Sheila Burrell (1995). 95 min. (JR) Read more