Daily Archives: December 3, 1996


Sylvester Stalloneplaying Hercules as usual, but this time acting heroically out of a guilt complextries to save the survivors of a Holland Tunnel explosion that traps a dozen drivers under the Hudson River between Manhattan and New Jersey (1996). Written by Leslie Bohem and directed by Rob Cohen, this is one of those Grand Hotel-style disaster thrillers, with a lot of little stories shoehorned into the hysterical action, none of them very interesting. But at least the nonstop ordeals of Stallone and the other trapped individuals, decked out with impressive effects, kept me fairly attentive. With Amy Brenneman, Viggo Mortensen, Dan Hedaya, Karen Young, Claire Bloom, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Barry Newman, and Stan Shaw. (JR) Read more

The Secret Agent

Christopher Hampton’s grim and dank 1996 adaptation of the 1907 Joseph Conrad novel, set in London during the late 19th century, is closer in many ways to the original than Alfred Hitchcock’s updated 1936 version, Sabotagebut that doesn’t make it better. Bob Hoskins plays the central figure, a middle-aged anarchist with a younger wife (Patricia Arquette) who plots to bomb Greenwich Observatory, accidentally killing his feebleminded young brother-in-law in the process. Fairly strong on period atmospherics, but it mainly adds up to yet another pointless adaptation of a literary standby (arguably not one of Conrad’s best)one of the countless examples of dubious middlebrow fodder that keeps foreign-language pictures off our screens. With George Spelvin, Jim Broadbent, Christian Bale, and distracting turns by Gerard Depardieu and an uncredited Robin Williams. (JR) Read more