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Tucson Weekly Film Clips

JUNE 8, 1998: 

HOPE FLOATS. After Birdee Pruitt's (Sandra Bullock) husband leaves her for her best friend on national TV, Birdee goes into a deep depression. She spends most of the day sleeping, waking only to have whiny fits. This goes on for 90 minutes while her childhood sweetheart (played by muscled man-flesh love-god Harry Connick Jr.) makes long speeches about the American dream and tries to get Birdee to quit pouting and have sex with him. This incredibly slow and largely plotless film was supposed to be Bullock's "reward" for agreeing to make Speed II, but why anyone would think this maudlin tripe would make an amusing movie is beyond me. If watching moss grow while embarrassingly trite dialogue plays in the background is your idea of fun, don't miss Hope Floats. --DiGiovanna

A PERFECT MURDER. Gwyneth Paltrow plays the impossibly beautiful young wife of evil, aged investment banker Michael Douglas in this remake of Dial M For Murder. When Douglas realizes Paltrow is having an affair with a young artist (played by smoky-hot Viggo Mortensen), he hatches an elaborate plot for revenge. The suspense film is one of the more difficult genres to pull off, but director Andrew Davis, cinematographer Dariusz Wolski and composer James Newton Howard synergistically combine to drop all the elements into place. Wolski, best known for inventing the neo-gothic style of cinematography seen in The Crow and Dark City, uses a much more subtle approach here, courageously shooting empty rooms and static scenes to create a threatening atmosphere and keep the viewer off-balance. The film is also notable for the Arabic-speaking police detective who's portrayed as smart, efficient and sympathetic, a rare departure from the normally stereotyped representation of Muslim peoples in Hollywood movies. The only flaws in this nerve-wracking outing are Michael Douglas' exaggerated performance and a slight loss of momentum in the final confrontation. Still, this is precision filmmaking that will leave you reaching for the nitroglycerin tablets. --DiGiovanna

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