From the Chicago Reader (July 31, 1992). — J.R.
DEATH BECOMES HER
No stars (Worthless)
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Written by Martin Donovan and David Koepp
With Goldie Hawn, Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, Isabella Rossellini, Ian Ogilvy, Adam Storke, and Sydney Pollack.
“The copper is fair game for pies, likewise any fat man. Fat faces and pies seem to have a peculiar affinity. If the victim is fat enough the movie public will tolerate any kind of rough stuff.
“On the other hand, movie fans do not like to see pretty girls smeared up with pastry. Shetland ponies and pretty girls are immune.
“It is an axiom of screen comedy that a Shetland pony must never be put in an undignified position. People don’t like it. You can take any kind of liberties with a donkey. They even like to see the noble lion rough-housed, but not a pony. You might as well show Santa Claus being mistreated.
“The immunity of pretty girls doesn’t go quite as far as the immunity of the Shetland pony, however. You can put a pretty girl in a comedy shower bath. You can have her fall into mud puddles. They will laugh at that. But the spectacle of a girl dripping with pie is displeasing.… Read more »
From the Chicago Reader (November 26, 1993). — J.R.
* (Has redeeming facet)
Directed by Marco Brambilla
Written by Daniel Waters, Robert Reneau, and Peter M. Lenkov
With Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Sandra Bullock, and Nigel Hawthorne.
* (Has redeeming facet)
Directed by Peter Weir
Written by Rafael Yglesias
With Jeff Bridges, Isabella Rossellini, Rosie Perez, Tom Hulce, and John Turturro.
** (Worth seeing)
Directed and written by Bruce Joel Rubin
With Michael Keaton, Nicole Kidman, Bradley Whitford, Queen Latifah, Michael Constantine, and Haing S. Ngor.
With the steady rise of committee moviemaking and the steady shrinking of attention spans thanks to TV, suspension of disbelief and densely imagined fictional worlds are becoming scarce commodities in pop movies. A relative triumph of style and blackout wit like Addams Family Values reflects this loss just as much as an airhead, cyberdolt, kick-ass romp like Demolition Man. In both films a character’s behavior or personality — and sometimes even the physical terrain — can change radically from one scene to the next, and no one in the audience is expected to notice or even care.
The only thing that seems to be important is that the scene (or moment) score.… Read more »