Daily Archives: July 16, 1996

The Frighteners

In your face, but not too likely to remain in your heart or mind long after the lights come on, this aggressive horror farce from Peter Jackson (Dead Alive, Heavenly Creatures) bubbles over with special effects. Its convoluted plot has something to do with a psychic handyman (Michael J. Fox) whose rapport with a trio of male ghosts allows him to perpetrate spirit clearance scams. There’s also a standard haunted house sheltering the disturbed former girlfriend of a crazed killer and lots of other attractions. I found it shrill, ugly, and painful, but some people seem to enjoy it. Robert Zemeckis served as executive producer; Fran Walsh collaborated with Jackson on the script. With Trini Alvarado, Peter Dobson, John Astin, Jeffrey Combs, and Dee Wallace Stone. (JR) Read more

Maybe . . . Maybe Not

An entertaining but fairly unexceptional comedy from Germany, about a heterosexual hunk (Til Schweiger) who’s thrown out of his girlfriend’s apartment after cheating on her and winds up sleeping in the flat of a gay acquaintance (Joachim Krol) who would love to seduce him. Written and directed by Sonke Wortmann, and based on German comic books by Ralf Konig, this is fairly standard bedroom farce sparked by the bisexual element and reasonably high spirits; it was a monster hit in Germany. (JR) Read more


Adapted by Elizabeth White from Joyce Carol Oates’s novel and directed with a great deal of visual flair and imagination by first-timer Annette Haywood-Carter, this is a story of four teenage girls drawn together by their common alienation and oppression when they encounter a mysterious female drifter. Fairly slow as narrative, but Haywood-Carter’s handling of the female bonding and her highly atmospheric mise en scene make this something rather special. Males, incidentally, are treated just as marginally and as stereotypically in this story as females in most male gang moviesthe subjectivity of the five lead girls tends to rule everythingbut the relatively unknown actresses all do a fine job. With Hedy Burress, Angelina Jolie, Jenny Lewis, Jenny Shimizu, and Sarah Rosenberg. (JR) Read more