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Tucson Weekly Film Clips

JULY 3, 2000: 

GONE IN SIXTY SECONDS. The title is apparently a description of how long this movie will last in the theaters. Schlockmeister Jerry Bruckheimer has somehow failed to live up to even his low standards with this depressingly boring film about balding criminals and the women who love them (i.e. their mothers). Nicolas Cage goes through the motions as Memphis Raines, king of the car thieves, who must rescue his brother (Giovanni Ribisi, who desperately needs better material than he's been getting) from an evil exporter of contraband autos. Angelina Jolie and Robert Duval fail to liven things up as Raines's partners. For high-speed adventure with an existential edge, you're better off renting the classic Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, or maybe just going out and stealing a car yourself. --James DiGiovanna


SHAFT. A well-paced, well-plotted, well-scripted and generally entertaining action film that does a deep injustice to the Shaft legacy by converting the 70's blaxploitation hero from a smooth lover to cruel killer. Samuel Jackson is the title character, a vicious New York City police officer who cares far more about hurting and killing the people he unjustly arrests than he does about humanity, kindness or a hot piece of tail. Watching this Shaft take out his aggression on dozens of Puerto Rican petty criminals, I just wanted to hug the hate out of him --James DiGiovanna


UP AT THE VILLA. No surprise to find Kristin Scott Thomas' furtive smile and limpid blue-green eyes as the centerpiece of this 1930s-era "all's fair in love and war" story. Thomas plays Mary, a widowed Englishwoman who must decide between the safety of marriage and the recklessness of love (represented here by Sean Penn, in the role of American cad Rowley Flint). Based on the tale by W. Somerset Maugham, this rule-breaking novel makes for a somewhat tepid screen adaptation, the condensed intrigues and plot twists of which are more maddening than romantic to the modern mindset. Still, few things are lovelier on film than Italian churches, country villas and gardens, or more nostalgic than steam trains, evening gowns and the fragile virtue of the second sex (yawn). Maugham's subversive humor--if you look for it--stands firm as the Nazis draw near, making this historic fiction as picturesque and mildly amusing as the aristocratic society it mocks. In the end, however, it's neither murder, moonlight nor love-making that lingers in memory, but the droll lines of the American dowager Princess San Ferdinando (Anne Bancroft), and row upon row of unforgettable tomatoes. (A far better effort, on video, is Maugham's The Razor's Edge, starring Bill Murray "in his first serious role.") --Mari Wadsworth


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