Daily Archives: September 1, 1997

Different For Girls

A romance between a transsexual born as a man (Steven Mackintosh) and a straight 34-year-old punk (Rupert Graves) who were friends at school 15 years earlier is the unlikely but exclusive focus of this British comedy-drama, directed by Richard Spence from an original screenplay by Tony Marchant. The script shows some sensitivity and the performances are good (Miriam Margolyes and Saskia Reeves figure in the secondary cast), but as moviemaking this is fairly dull and conventional stuff. (JR) Read more


Pay no attention to the claims that this 1988 Danish video feature by Lars von Trier (Breaking the Waves) is a faithful or even remotely respectful realization of the late Carl Dreyer’s unrealized script, cowritten by poet Preben Thomsen. For starters, the Dreyer script, based only loosely on the Euripides tragedy, features a chorus that is omitted here, its lines grotesquely converted into printed titles when they aren’t simply dropped; many of Dreyer’s scenes are eliminated, scrambled, or placed elsewhere in the overall continuity, and some of von Trier’s scenes and sequences are strictly his own invention. That said, this is well worth seeing as a visually inventive and highly dramatic version of the Medea story, with strong performances by Kirsten Olesen and Udo Kier. In some respects it’s as striking as anything von Trier has done, but Dreyer could never have accepted this florid piece of showmanship as even a remote approximation of his intentions. (JR) Read more

Song Without End

When I saw this 141-minute ‘Scope biopic about Franz Liszt (played by Dirk Bogarde) in my teens, the title seemed appropriate, even though I enjoyed the music (the score received an Oscar) and lush settings (photographed by James Wong Howe). Started by director Charles Vidor and then completed by George Cukor after Vidor’s death, the film costars Capucine and Genevieve Page (1960). (JR) Read more

The Edge

Given that most homicidal movie fantasies are rated G or PG, it’s baffling that this harmless 1997 movie about surviving in the Alaskan wilderness was assigned an R. I can say without irony that it’s an excellent, rousing adventure film for ten-year-old boyswith sincere moral lessons about self-reliance, self-respect, marital fidelity, and money (the latter mainly as a signifier of wisdom) that seem perfectly suited for that age group. David Mamet’s original script reeks with macho awe of wealth and nature, and the landscapes are often stunning. Anthony Hopkins plays a bookish billionaire superman who decides to accompany his fashion-model wife (Elle Macpherson) on an exotic shoot in Alaska. On a side trip with her photographer (Alec Baldwin) and his assistant (Harold Perrineau) their plane crashes, and the three men struggle to survive in the wilderness, matching wits, courage, and poundage with a humongous killer bear. Some of the individual details are far from plausible, but as this is a boys’ fantasy and parable it hardly matters. Too bad only grown-ups with the innocence of ten-year-olds can enjoy it. Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors, Mulholland Falls) directed. (JR) Read more

Waco: The Rules Of Engagement

A troubling and fascinating if not entirely satisfactory film documenting the 1993 clash between federal agents and the Branch Davidians, which it argues was almost completely misrepresented in the press at that time. Despite strong investigative journalism, the film suffers from David Hamilton’s unnecessarily pushy musical score and what appears to be a sloppy reedit trimming about half an hour from the original 165-minute cut. Directed by William Gazecki; written by Gazecki and coproducer Dan Gifford. (JR) Read more