BOMBS of 1998

A Illusion review by Joan Ellis.

Awards time is upon us. The following turkeys should be avoided at all costs. Even if a blizzard is bearing down and watching a video feels like the snugly thing to do, please do not consider renting any of these films when they are heralded at your local video store in the "New Releases Here!" section.

Sphere is a jaded, cynical insult to all those who are lured to it by star power. Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, and Samuel L. Jackson are candy-covered poison. Pretending to astrophysics, math, and psychology on an undersea operations base, they wrestle with jellyfish, snakes, and drowning. This movie is a wet firecracker, a sleeper, as in "a little nap will help you through it."

Snake Eyes is a fraud. Corporate greed and gambling merge in this frenzied movie about deals, boxing, betrayal, assassination, bimbos, and blood. Nicolas Cage is dreadful as a manic cop with a core of sleaze. Gary Sinise's naval commander provides a few good moments. The movie comes up snake eyes. The house wins, the audience loses everything. It's an insult.

The Governess sinks like a stone in spite of fine efforts by Minnie Driver and Tom Wilkinson. In a grimly miserable British family, the husband indulges his passion for the new craft of photography. For a short while, his involvement is compelling, but when his passion is transferred to the new governess, the story sinks into much less interesting stuff. We must endure long, meaningful stares and lines such as, "You consume me; this is madness." Considering the cast, this one is a major disappointment.

Your Friends and Neighbors is Neil LaBute's sequel to his cruel outburst about the irrelevancy of women in last year's controversial movie, In the Company of Men. Angry women are abandoned emotionally by their men, who spend a lot of time in the health club with their best male friends talking about the best sex they never had. The film is powered by masturbation, misogyny, sexual boredom, and self-destruction. A putrid movie.

Odd Couple II is the latest installment of the long-running collaboration between Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. The movie is a series of embarrassing visual sight gags, a geriatric Home Alone that threatens to rob two fine actors of both their reputations and their dignity. Apparently there is no limit to Mr. Matthau's willingness to be humiliated, none to Mr. Lemmon's fondness for looking silly. They should look for better material and retire the Grumpy Old Odd Couple.

Palmetto strikes out. It's a muddle that traps the actors from start to finish in a terrible script that reduces them to sputtering. You will hear Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Shue say, "We've got to get rid of the body," and "What do we do now?" As he is suspended on a crane hook over a vat of acid, the principal character announces, "I was hoping the rain would wash away the whole dirty business." He got that right.

Film Critic : JOAN ELLIS
Word Count : 493

Copyright (c) Illusion

Return to Ellis Home Page