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3 items from 2004


Stateside

9 July 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Writer-director Reverge Anselmo has an eye for odd, telling details in this 1980s-set us-against-the-world romance. But the finely observed moments in "Stateside" accumulate little emotional power. The promise of something startling and compelling goes unfulfilled, and the arc of the central love story isn't interesting enough to sustain the drama.

Jonathan Tucker ("The Deep End") delivers a fresh, convincing portrayal of a well-to-do kid who finds himself stunned into growing up fast. As the girl he loves, Rachael Leigh Cook ("She's All That") brings a brooding restlessness to the more cliched role of a troubled but irresistible waif. The story's military angle might hit a current events nerve, and younger audiences likely will find the offbeat darkness of the saga and the Reagan-era setting exotic enough to drive modest boxoffice returns.

The Catholic schoolkid rebellion of Connecticut high school senior Mark (Tucker) and his friends, well captured here, implodes in a car crash with lasting repercussions. The school's head priest (Ed Begley Jr.) winds up in a wheelchair. Mark's precocious classmate Sue (Agnes Bruckner) loses not only her front teeth but her freedom: Her bitter mother (Carrie Fisher) tosses her into a state institution after learning of her sexual exploits. She also presses charges against Mark, who was behind the wheel.

Thanks to the influence of his wealthy father (Joe Mantegna), a compromise sentence places Mark in the Marine Corps rather than jail. Before he departs, he falls for Sue's slightly older hospital roommate, Dori (Cook), an actress/rock singer on leave from Hollywood. There's an urgency to their flirtation, an idiosyncratic poetry to their conversations and letters, all of which starts off bracing but becomes self-conscious.

It takes a while for it to sink in with Mark that Dori is being treated for schizophrenia. Most of the time Cook navigates the fine line that separates the role of a charismatic mental patient from the maudlin or cute. Dori is alternately exuberant, unresponsive, melancholy and thick-tongued from Thorazine. A therapist (Diane Venora) warns Mark that their intermittent get-togethers threaten her recovery.

When he isn't springing Dori from a halfway house, Mark is immersed in Marine Corps training, a crucible from which he believes he emerges a man. His silver-spoon status makes him the prime target for torment from his drill instructor (Val Kilmer), an oddball on a mission to do what "the mothers of America" cannot. In a strange way, the endless humiliation engages Mark, who never quite felt at home in the cavernous mansion he shared with his asthmatic father and dreamily grieving younger sister (Zena Grey), who is wont to traipse through the rooms in a mink that belonged to their recently deceased mother.

Such provocative character nuances are pushed to the periphery as the film falters in a wearying string of hospitalizations and furloughs. The well-played supporting characters serve mainly to orbit the young couple. While that might make sense for the adults, it's a shame that Bruckner's Sue is all but lost in the mix. Ultimately, so is Dori -- glimpses of her background or the drive that fueled her career apparently lost in editing. Her mother and uncle are dropped awkwardly into a scene in which they speak no lines and serve no discernible dramatic purpose.

Although the film's title refers to military slang for The Loved Ones left back home, Mark's experiences overseas, when his unit is deployed to Beirut, are compressed to a few lines of voice-over. Anselmo (a former Marine) brings the saga to a rushed conclusion, and the sense of two outsiders finding focus and solace in each other doesn't register with the necessary tenderness or force.

Unshowy wide-screen lensing and design elements effectively evoke the recent past, with vintage tracks by Elvis Costello and Rickie Lee Jones, among others, helping to heighten the nostalgia.

STATESIDE

Samuel Goldwyn Films

in association with Cinerenta and First Look Media

A Seven Hills Pictures production in association with Cinealpha KG

Credits:

Director-screenwriter: Reverge Anselmo

Producer: Robert Greenhut

Executive producers: Eberhard Kayser, Michele Berk

Director of photography: Adam Holender

Production designer: Mike Shaw

Music: Joel McNeely

Co-producer: Bonnie Hlinomaz

Costume designer: Cynthia Flynt

Editor: Suzy Elmiger

Cast:

Dori Lawrence: Rachael Leigh Cook

Mark Deloach: Jonathan Tucker

Sue Dubois: Agnes Bruckner

Mr. Deloach: Joe Mantegna

Mrs. Dubois: Carrie Fisher

Mrs. Hengen: Diane Venora

Father Concoff: Ed Begley Jr.

Senior Drill Instructor Skeer: Val Kilmer

Gina Deloach: Zena Grey

Running time -- 96 minutes

MPAA rating: R »

Permalink | Report a problem


Stateside

7 May 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Writer-director Reverge Anselmo has an eye for odd, telling details in this 1980s-set us-against-the-world romance. But the finely observed moments in "Stateside" accumulate little emotional power. The promise of something startling and compelling goes unfulfilled, and the arc of the central love story isn't interesting enough to sustain the drama.

Jonathan Tucker ("The Deep End") delivers a fresh, convincing portrayal of a well-to-do kid who finds himself stunned into growing up fast. As the girl he loves, Rachael Leigh Cook ("She's All That") brings a brooding restlessness to the more cliched role of a troubled but irresistible waif. The story's military angle might hit a current events nerve, and younger audiences likely will find the offbeat darkness of the saga and the Reagan-era setting exotic enough to drive modest boxoffice returns.

The Catholic schoolkid rebellion of Connecticut high school senior Mark (Tucker) and his friends, well captured here, implodes in a car crash with lasting repercussions. The school's head priest (Ed Begley Jr.) winds up in a wheelchair. Mark's precocious classmate Sue (Agnes Bruckner) loses not only her front teeth but her freedom: Her bitter mother (Carrie Fisher) tosses her into a state institution after learning of her sexual exploits. She also presses charges against Mark, who was behind the wheel.

Thanks to the influence of his wealthy father (Joe Mantegna), a compromise sentence places Mark in the Marine Corps rather than jail. Before he departs, he falls for Sue's slightly older hospital roommate, Dori (Cook), an actress/rock singer on leave from Hollywood. There's an urgency to their flirtation, an idiosyncratic poetry to their conversations and letters, all of which starts off bracing but becomes self-conscious.

It takes a while for it to sink in with Mark that Dori is being treated for schizophrenia. Most of the time Cook navigates the fine line that separates the role of a charismatic mental patient from the maudlin or cute. Dori is alternately exuberant, unresponsive, melancholy and thick-tongued from Thorazine. A therapist (Diane Venora) warns Mark that their intermittent get-togethers threaten her recovery.

When he isn't springing Dori from a halfway house, Mark is immersed in Marine Corps training, a crucible from which he believes he emerges a man. His silver-spoon status makes him the prime target for torment from his drill instructor (Val Kilmer), an oddball on a mission to do what "the mothers of America" cannot. In a strange way, the endless humiliation engages Mark, who never quite felt at home in the cavernous mansion he shared with his asthmatic father and dreamily grieving younger sister (Zena Grey), who is wont to traipse through the rooms in a mink that belonged to their recently deceased mother.

Such provocative character nuances are pushed to the periphery as the film falters in a wearying string of hospitalizations and furloughs. The well-played supporting characters serve mainly to orbit the young couple. While that might make sense for the adults, it's a shame that Bruckner's Sue is all but lost in the mix. Ultimately, so is Dori -- glimpses of her background or the drive that fueled her career apparently lost in editing. Her mother and uncle are dropped awkwardly into a scene in which they speak no lines and serve no discernible dramatic purpose.

Although the film's title refers to military slang for The Loved Ones left back home, Mark's experiences overseas, when his unit is deployed to Beirut, are compressed to a few lines of voice-over. Anselmo (a former Marine) brings the saga to a rushed conclusion, and the sense of two outsiders finding focus and solace in each other doesn't register with the necessary tenderness or force.

Unshowy wide-screen lensing and design elements effectively evoke the recent past, with vintage tracks by Elvis Costello and Rickie Lee Jones, among others, helping to heighten the nostalgia.

STATESIDE

Samuel Goldwyn Films

in association with Cinerenta and First Look Media

A Seven Hills Pictures production in association with Cinealpha KG

Credits:

Director-screenwriter: Reverge Anselmo

Producer: Robert Greenhut

Executive producers: Eberhard Kayser, Michele Berk

Director of photography: Adam Holender

Production designer: Mike Shaw

Music: Joel McNeely

Co-producer: Bonnie Hlinomaz

Costume designer: Cynthia Flynt

Editor: Suzy Elmiger

Cast:

Dori Lawrence: Rachael Leigh Cook

Mark Deloach: Jonathan Tucker

Sue Dubois: Agnes Bruckner

Mr. Deloach: Joe Mantegna

Mrs. Dubois: Carrie Fisher

Mrs. Hengen: Diane Venora

Father Concoff: Ed Begley Jr.

Senior Drill Instructor Skeer: Val Kilmer

Gina Deloach: Zena Grey

Running time -- 96 minutes

MPAA rating: R »

Permalink | Report a problem


Warners bringing Bacall to 'Justice'

5 March 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Scribe Michael Bacall has been tapped to adapt Justice Deferred for Warner Bros. Pictures and Tobey Maguire's Maguire Entertainment. The studio confirmed that Bacall has been hired to adapt the Len Williams-penned novel, acquired by Warners for Maguire Entertainment in May. It centers on the story of Billy Ray Billings, who has been wrongly convicted under Alabama's three-strikes law, which gives him no chance at parole. He schools himself on the law and then escapes, changes his name and becomes a lawyer. At the studio, the project is being overseen by Kevin McCormick and Alicia Cotter. Maguire is producing along with Sergio Aguero of Three Monkeys Entertainment. Elia Infascelli-Smith will executive produce with Mark Ross, the latter of whom runs Maguire's company. Bacall is repped by ICM and attorney Michael Shankman. He previously penned the film Bookies, starring Nick Stahl, Lukas Haas, Rachael Leigh Cook and Johnny Galecki, and Jordan Melamed's Manic, starring Don Cheadle and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. »

Permalink | Report a problem


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3 items from 2004


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