1 item from 1995
Following the success of his Golden Globe-nominated feature debut, "Flight of the Innocent", Italian filmmaker Carlo Carlei takes his big Hollywood bow with "Fluke". Starring Matthew Modine as a workaholic husband and father who is killed in a car crash only to be reincarnated as a dog, this journey of discovery is plagued by potholes. Burdened with awkward voiceovers and intrusive flashbacks, this intended family drama has its work cut out.
"Hotel Sorrento" marks an Australian homecoming for director Richard Franklin, who long ago emigrated to Hollywood, making such genre films as "Psycho II" and "F/X2." You'll find nary a severed limb or special effect in this low-key talkfest, with the greatest excitement emerging in an impassioned onscreen debate about Australian nationalism.
Even art-house audiences probably don't have too great a stake in that, and this family drama is likely to reap minimal returns.
The picture's theatrical origins are all too evident, with the screenplay featuring an excessive talkiness and a tendency toward overly melodramatic dialogue (HR 5/31).
THE GLASS SHIELD
Inspired by true stories of law enforcement corruption, Charles Burnett's long-awaited new film "The Glass Shield" is a serious yet entertaining feature that's made the festival rounds en route to a humble release by Miramax.
A little long and confusing, and not terribly shocking, "The Glass Shield"'s best hope after a predictably brief theatrical run will be as a video release.
The tough but profanity-free scenario gets off to a good start, with eager J.J. Johnson (Michael Boatman) joining an all-white sheriff's station. He quickly learns to polish his act in terms of procedures and paperwork, while he adjusts his attitude to "trust no one." The story is engrossing in its attention to detail, and the performances are solid in a script that features many three-dimensional characters. But the film struggles to include both a complex reading of society's ills seeping into a big city sheriff's department and the more audience-friendly story of a black's shattering, career-threatening maturation on the job.
But once the film strays from J.J.'s assimilation and education, which is made somewhat easier by rubbing elbows with the only female deputy (Lori Petty) in sight, there's an overabundance of subplots. Chief among these are the cryptic maneuvers by two detectives M. Emmet Walsh and Michael Ironside) to frame an innocent man (Ice Cube) for the murder of the wife of a cagey big shot (Elliott Gould).
While the film is remarkably cliche-free, there are many repetitive scenes and abrupt shifts of mood that are distracting (HR 6/2).
(c) The Hollywood Reporter
1 item from 1995
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