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WONDERLAND (2003) (**1/2)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 9:35pm

This true-life murder mystery takes a RASHOMON-type approach to the subject, telling us the story from various points of view. The film deals with the Wonderland Murders in Hollywood, which involved L.A.’s top club owner Eddie Nash (Eric Bogosian, IGBY GOES DOWN) and porn star John Holmes (Val Kilmer, TOMBSTONE). The problem with the film's varying points of view is that they more than muddle the truth they muddle the story as well.

Holmes was known in the porn industry as Johnny Wadd for his 14-inch penis, but the film doesn’t really deal with John as a porn star, but more as a washed-up celeb, strung out on drugs and desperate for money. The tale of the murders at the house on Wonderland Drive begins with thief David Lind (Dylan McDermott, TV’s THE PRACTICE) telling his version of events that led to the murders. He implements Holmes as the idea man behind a robbery at Nash’s house, which led Nash to kill Lind’s girlfriend Barbara (Natasha Gregson Wagner, HIGH FIDELITY) and fellow robbers Ron Launius (Josh Lucas, SWEET HOME ALABAMA) and Bill Deverell (Timothy Blake Nelson, GOOD GIRL) among others. Then we get Holmes’ tale, which blames everyone else. Trapped in Holmes’ nightmare life are his teenage girlfriend Dawn (Kate Bosworth, BLUE CRUSH) and his wife Sharon (Lisa Kudrow, TV’s FRIENDS).


JU-ON: THE GRUDGE 2 (2003) (***)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 9:34pm

This film is the fourth in the popular Japanese horror series and it is the best. Throughout the series, the main problem has been that there isn’t a clear central character to care about. Here we have Kyoko Harase (Noriko Sakai, narrator of POKEMON: PICHU AND PIKACHU), a horror movie actress who visits the cursed house of the previous films to do a documentary. As in the other films, the curse of Kayako (Takako Fuji) and her son Toshio (Yuya Ozeki) tracks down all that have contact with the house. However, this time they seem to be toying with Kyoko, who is pregnant.

As part of the series, this film does the best job of making us care about a character who is being hunted by the curse. However, the film still lacks any fight by the characters. They all seem like helpless fodder. The inactivity of the characters gets frustrating. If they make a fifth JU-ON, I’d like to see somebody try to figure out the curse and stop it.


UNDER SIEGE (1992) (***)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 9:17pm

This film is DIE HARD on a boat. Before seeing this film, I had never seen a Steven Seagal film before. It didn’t really change my perception of him all that much. He looks cool while kicking butt. He is an action actor where the adjective is more important than the noun. However, I must admit I did enjoy the adrenaline ride.

Seagal (HARD TO KILL) plays badass Navy cook Casey Ryback. He butts heads with Commander Krill (Gary Busey, THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY), who plots with renegade former military officer William Stranix (Tommy Lee Jones, THE FUGATIVE) to steal his ship’s weapons then off load them to a rogue North Korean submarine that will take the nukes to the Middle East to sell them to terrorists. Like Bruce Willis in DIE HARD, Ryback finds himself in a solo battle against the crazy terrorists. However, Ryback gets a dead weight around his waist in the form of Playboy model Jordan Tate (Erika Eleniak, TV’s BAYWATCH), who was on the boat as part of a surprise party for the murdered captain.


IN MY SKIN (2003) (***)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 9:17pm

In no way am I saying its as emotional wrenching or as intellectually stimulating, but this film reminded me of IRREVERSIBLE. Maybe it was the tone and it definitely has the power to make you squirm.

Director Marina de Van (UNDER THE SAND) plays the lead role of Esther, a self-loathing woman, who after having an accident that severely cuts her leg becomes obsessed with self-mutilation. The film builds slowly developing Esther’s psychology. Her friend Sandrine (Lea Drucker, SHOOTING STARS) and her boyfriend Vincent (Laurent Lucas, WITH A FRIEND LIKE HARRY) become quickly concerned with her dangerous behavior.

The film does a wonderful job of portraying Esther’s uncontrollable obsession. It’s amazing how the film makes you tense just by having Esther alone, because we know how dangerous she can be to herself. Eventually, she breaks with reality and takes the self-mutilation to an unimaginable level. There is a scene in this film that makes you feel so uncomfortable just like IRREVERSIBLE’s infamous rape scene. The only thing I wish the film had done more was explain this next step more. Psychologically I’m not sure what the film is trying to say.


SPACE JAM (1996) (*1/2)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 9:08pm

I've been a fan of the Looney Tunes as long as I can remember. I was excited to see Warner Bros. attempting to bring them back into the mainstream, but this movie is almost unwatchable. But what can you expect from a film based on a Nike TV commercial. However, you can’t help but like Michael Jordan or the Looney Tunes (most of them that is).

The plot is cookie cutter. Aliens want to kidnap the Looney Tunes and force them to perform in an outer space amusement park. Because the aliens are short, the Looney Tunes decide to challenge them to a basketball game in exchange for their freedom. But when the aliens steal the abilities of NBA players, the Looney Tunes need help and enlist Jordan.


ELLA ENCHANTED (2004) (**)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 9:08pm

In general, the reviews for this film were not that good. However, Roger Ebert has been championing this film since its release, so I had to give it a shot. The film is based on a novel by Gail Carson Levine, which I have not read, however I have read that the film takes a lot of liberties with the book. First and foremost, the film really tries to be a live-action SHREK by brining pop culture and modern references into a fairy tale setting. This is where ELLA ultimately fails.

The modern winks were hit or miss throughout the film, some even groan inducing. I really think the filmmakers should have modeled the movie more after THE PRINCESS BRIDE, a masterful example of playing fantasy for laughs. Ella (Anne Hathaway, THE PRINCESS DIARIES) has been cursed with the gift of obedience. Whenever anyone tells her to do something she must obey. Once her evil step-sisters Hattie (Lucy Punch, TV’s THE 10TH KINGDOM) and Olive (Jennifer Higham, TV’s STAR) find out about the curse they set out to make Ella’s life miserable. Adding to the tension between Hattie and Ella is Hattie’s love and Ella’s dislike of the handsome prince Char (Hugh Dancy, KING ARTHUR). Ella has an activist heart and dislikes Char’s seemingly pretty boy mindlessness. However, as these types of stories go, Ella and Char are brought together. Char likes Ella because she’s not like the other girls who chase and swoon over him.


DOPAMINE (2003) (***1/2)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 9:00pm

Some people have found this film pretentious, but I found it fascinating. Some people found it too film school-y. I can see this with the end, but not throughout. The film was made as part of director Mark Decena’s schooling at the Sundance Institute.

Rand (John Livingston, EDTV), Winston (Bruno Campos, MIMIC 2) and Johnson (Reuben Grundy, TV’s A DIFFERENT WORLD) run a small tech company in San Francisco, working on developing an A.I. pet named Koy Koy. One night Rand and Winston meet Sarah (Sabrina Lloyd, TV’s SLIDERS) in a bar. There is an obvious instant attraction between Rand and Sarah, but Winston is more aggressive and moves in. When the investors want to test Koy Koy with kids, the guys run into Sarah again as she is the teacher at the school where Koy Koy is being tested. Rand and Sarah strike up a relationship, but their pasts hurt them from connecting 100%. Hurt by love, Rand lives in his head about “love” as a mere chemical reaction.



By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 8:59pm

Wherever you stand on the morality of pornography, it’s hard to deny it’s intriguing. And anyone who knows porn legend Ron Jeremy will be intrigued at how it is possible that a fat, hairy and fairly unattractive man who looks like he hasn’t showered in ages could be the most successful male porn actor of all time.

The film shows Jeremy as a good-natured man, who is kind and lonely. From a young age he wanted to be a performer. He stumbled into porn by accident after a picture of him appeared in PLAYGIRL, which showed off his talents – if you know what I mean. He’s been stuck in porn ever since. Known as the Clown Prince of Porn for his sense of humor, he has appeared in some mainstream films and has a side career as a stand-up comedian. However, his friend Al “Grandpa Munster” Lewis describes his stand-up act perfectly – “the worst I’ve ever seen.”


DOGVILLE (2004) (**1/2)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 8:50pm

Lars von Trier may be the most cynical and pessimistic filmmaker around. His films often feature totally innocent characters who continuously get beat up by a selfish and uncaring world. I truly loved his film BREAKING THE WAVES, but that film had other likeable characters other than the lead. I really didn’t like DANCER IN THE DARK, because I felt the obsessive innocence if Bjork’s character was forced. This film falls in between.

When I first heard about the film, I thought the style would be my biggest problem. Set in a tiny Rocky Mountain town, the film was completely filmed on a soundstage with chalk lines on the floor representing the houses. However, this part of the film was probably one of the highlights, which is divided up into a prologue and nine chapters driven by an OUR TOWN-like narration by John Hurt (HELLBOY).


KURT & COURTNEY (1998) (**1/2)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 8:49pm

Nick Broomfield is a gutsy documentarian. It’s amazing sometimes what he gets people to do on camera. I’ve seen his other celebrity docs about serial killer Aileen Wuornos and Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss and it seems that Broomfield is interested at how people latch onto famous people and take advantage of them.

KURT & COURTNEY created a lot of buzz in 1998, because it was pulled from the Sundance Film Festival after Courtney Love threatened to sue. Eventually, the film was released on video and bolstered the conspiracy theories that surrounded the death of Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain.

Did he really commit suicide or did his wife Love have him murdered? Broomfield starts out the doc looking into the many conspiracy theories. Could Cobain really have pulled the trigger on the rifle? Would the amount of drugs in his system really have left him unable to move, rendering suicide impossible? Bloomfield interviews private eye Tom Grant, who Love hired to originally investigate Cobain's death, Hank Harrison, Love's father, and punk singer El Duce, who all believe Love conspired to have Cobain murder. I’ve heard many people walk away from this film, saying that it proves that Love had Cobain killed, but it didn't convince me. The evidence is flawed at best or in some cases a big stretch.


JUST A KISS (2002) (*)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 8:44pm

This film proves that ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY's opinion on things should be taken with a grain of salt. This film from 2002 was on its top ten list. It's got amateur hour written all over it.

Dag (Ron Eldard, HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG) is dating Halley (Kyra Sedgwick, WHAT'S COOKING?) and their best friend is Peter (Patrick Breen, GALAXY QUEST), whose ballet dancer girlfriend is named Rebecca (Marley Shelton, PLEASANTVILLE). From the first shot, we know that Dag and Rebecca have hooked up. Then injected into the plot is an insane bartender Paula (Marisa Tomei, MY COUSIN VINNY), who is obsessed with Peter's peanut butter commercial. In the peanut butter commercial, Peter dresses up like an eagle and it's so bad it makes local TV ads look really good. Later we meet Andre (Taye Diggs, BROWN SUGAR) who is sleeping with Rebecca and is married to Colleen (Sarita Choudhury, KAMA SUTRA).


CASA DE LOS BABYS (2003) (***1/2)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 8:41pm

There is a short list of directors that even in their lesser work I find greatness and inspiration. John Sayles is one of those directors. I have seen seven of his films and six I'd recommend to anyone in a heartbeat. (LIMBO, I felt was an experiment that failed). Like all his films, it is filled with dozens of well-developed characters. The worlds he creates are full like life, because there are no real side characters. The “minor characters” you know have lives that have nothing to do with the main characters.

The story chronicles the many faces of Mexican baby adoption. We are introduced to six white American woman, who are staying at a hotel where they are waiting for the day when they will be given a baby, which has taken as long as nine months. Skipper (Daryl Hannah, KILL BILL: VOL. 2) is an exercise freak and into holistic medicine. Leslie (Lili Taylor, HIGH FIDELITY) is a single, editor from New York, who the other women think may be a lesbian. Gayle (Mary Steenburgen, WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE?) is a born again Christian, who actually is a real born again Christian. Nan (Marcia Gay Harden, POLLACK) is a know-it-all, who might be a little too off to be having children. Jennifer (Maggie Gyllenhaal, SECRETARY) is an emotional young woman married to a busy broker. Eileen (Susan Lynch, FROM HELL) is an Irish immigrant living in Chicago, who does not have the same kind of money the other women have.



By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 8:33pm

It's an Ashton Krutcher movie, I know. Trust me, he doesn't dispel any bad acting labels in this film. However, the premise for this film is very interesting. What surprised me most about the film is that it deals with some pretty dark issues. I was surprised at how unflinchingly dark the film was, especially because it’s a mainstream sci-fi film, starring Ashton Krutcher.

Evan Treborn (Krutcher, DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR?) is been having blackouts ever since he was a child. As he grows older, he discovers that through reading his journals he has the power to travel back in time and alter history. He tries to "fix" things, but with each trip back something else is altered negatively.



By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 8:33pm

This film is totally absurd and that’s why I loved it. The film is like an Ingmar Bergman film if Bergman was a member of the Monty Python comedy troupe. The film starts off with absurd vignettes that establish a modern city, at the turn of the 21-century, that has gone into total chaos. In light of the fact that the Y2K catastrophe was just another miscalculated overreaction, the events of this film seem even more poetically ridiculous.

Director Roy Andersson takes pot shots at everything and knows the old statement that tragedy is comedy. What ties together the absurd gags is Kalle (Lars Nordh, LEADING ASTRAY) who, at the beginning of the film, wanders into a café with his face full of soot and yells at his son Stefan (Stefan Larsson, ANJA) for not taking the fact that his father’s business just burning down as all that tragic. Soon enough we find out that Kalle burnt down his furniture store on purpose to rook the insurance company into thinking he sold more expensive sofas than he really did. Kalle has another son named Tomas (Peter Roth, VÄGEN UT), who “wrote poetry until he went nuts.” One of the funniest scenes in the film takes place at the asylum when we first meet Tomas and it’s only a side gag like something out of AIRPLANE!


BON VOYAGE (2004) (***)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 8:26pm

This French comedy evokes the style and characters of 1940s film noir, but with a humorous bent. Viviane Denvers (Isabelle Adjani, 1996’s DIABOLIQUE) is a famous French actress, who will manipulate men without a bat of an eye and with the bat of her eye. She is having an affair with a powerful minister named Jean-Etienne Beaufort (Gerard Depardieu, GREEN CARD), but she’s been toying with a childhood friend/wanna-be writer Frederic (Gregori Derangere, THE LANDLORDS).

Before too long, Viviane has both Jean-Etienne and Frederic wrapped up in murder, running from the impending Nazi invasion and trying to sneak Prof. Kopolski (Jean-Marc Stehle, CHAOS) and his heavy water out of France. Added to the mix is Prof. Kopolski’s mousey, but attractive assistant Camille (Virginie Ledoyen, THE BEACH), the helpful thief Raoul (Yvan Attal, MY WIFE IS AN ACTRESS) and the sleazy politician Alex Winckler (Peter Coyote, NORTHFORK).


VANITY FAIR (2004) (***)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 8:14pm

I must admit that I have never read the book in which this film is based on. But do to its classic status and what I’ve read about it, I think it might be fair to say that the film has less bite than the book.

Becky Sharp (Reese Witherspoon, FREEWAY) is an orphan living at an all girls’ school. She is set to become a governess, but dreams of a better life. The mother (Deborah Findlay, ME WITHOUT YOU) of her best friend Amelia (Romola Garai, I CAPTURE THE CASTLE) describes her best – “At first I thought of her as a mere social climber, but now I see she’s a mountaineer.” The film makes Becky likeable and makes her out to be more than just a “mountaineer” at times. However, the true pleasure of the film is when it bears its teeth. My favorite sequence is with Becky and Miss Matilda Crawley (Eileen Atkins, COLD MOUNTAIN). The bite of the social commentary that the novel must have comes out brilliantly in these segments.



By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 8:09pm

Fans of adventure serials and vintage sci-fi will love this film. It’s like watching Flash Gordon, Indiana Jones and the cast of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and WAR OF THE WORLDS all wrapped into one. I’ve been following the production for some time. I’ve met the director Kerry Conran and he seems like a very nice guy, like a nervously excited fan who got his dreams handed to him. He’s a first time director and worked for six years on this project, first making it in animation in his garage. Producer Jon Avnet saw the short and said he’d produce the feature film. It just grew from there.

Jude Law (COLD MOUNTAIN) stars as Joe “Sky Captain” Sullivan, the leader of an elite fighting force, whom teams up with former flame and plucky reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE) to discover the secret plans of Dr. Totenkopf (Sir Laurence Olivier, A LITTLE ROMANCE). Worsening the matter, Sky Captain’s best friend and gadget guru Dex (Giovanni Ribisi, THE OTHER SISTER) is kidnapped by Totenkopf’s mysterious female crony (Ling Bai, THE CROW). Making matters doubly worse, Sky Captain and Polly’s romance ended on shaky ground with him possibly having an affair with Capt. Franky Cook (Angelina Jolie, GIRL, INTERUPTED).


GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) (****)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 3:10pm

How dare I even think of giving GONE WITH THE WIND anything less than four stars, you may ask. Well, I’ll tell you in just a bit.

First let’s get the plot description out of the way. Scarlett O’Hara (Vivian Leigh, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE) is the beauty of her town and the desire of many of the men. She is in love with Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard, PYGMALION), but he is engaged to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton (Olivia de Havilland, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD). (I guess because that’s what Southerners do.) Scarlett is furious and that’s when the roguish Rhett Butler (Clark Gable, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT) walks into her life and they begin their love hate relationship. This story is set in front of the tragedy of the Civil War and reconstruction.


FIVE DEADLY VENOMS (1978) (***1/2)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 2:46pm

This is a classic kung fu flick that engages, despite its cheesy acting. It's an iconic example of many of the elements that exemplify the best of kung fu flicks. You get signature moves, training sequences, bloody battles and some supernatural skills. But underneath all the conventions is a surprisingly compelling story, which the viewer quickly gets wrapped up in.

Yang Tieh (Sheng Chiang, KID WITH THE GOLDEN ARM) is the last student of the Five Deadly Venom’s master. He is sent out to locate the master’s former students and recover a treasure, which they might steal. The kung fu masters never knew each other because they trained wearing masks. #1 – Centipede (Feng Lu, DAREDEVILS), #2 – Snake (Pai Wei, INVINCIBLE SHAOLIN), #3 - Scorpion (Chien Sun, DESTORYERS), #4 – Lizard (Philip Kwok, THE STORY OF RICKY) and #5 – Toad (Meng Lo, HARD-BOILED) are the students.



By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 2:41pm

Set in Spain during the revolution, the story takes place at an orphanage in a desert area whether leftists bring their children to keep them save. However, some of the children have lost their parents yet do not know. Carlos (Fernando Tielve, THE SHANGHAI SPELL) is brought to orphanage and does not know that his father is dead.

The orphanage is run by the passive doctor Casares (Federico Luppi, MEN WITH GUNS) and the crippled teacher Carmen (Marisa Paredes, TALK TO HER). Carlos quickly learns the ropes of the place from the students, especially Jamie (Inigo Garces, MY FIRST NIGHT), who we know is involved in the death of Santi (Junio Valverde, HIDDEN HANDS), who is now a ghost who haunts the school. But more frightening than the ghost is Jacinto (Eduardo Noriega, OPEN YOUR EYES), a former student at the orphanage who has become the janitor. He is set to marry the beautiful maid Conchita (Irene Visedo, APRIL AND JULES), but sleeps with Carmen in an effort to steal the gold that is hidden in the school for the rebels.


DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) (****)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 2:22pm

Hands down the DEAD series is the best horror franchise in the history of cinema. You'd have to go back to the original FRANKENSTEIN to find any real competition. Director George A. Romero takes the genre establishing conventions of his classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and expands on it. While there is definitely gallons of gore to be found here, Romero uses it with purpose, creating a horrifying world where there is more ways than one to become a mindless zombie.

In the beginning, we meet TV producer Francine Parker (Gaylen Ross, CREEPSHOW) as she is dealing with an out-of-control studio in a panic over an epidemic sized invasion of zombies. Her boyfriend Stephen Andrews (David Emge, BASKET CASE 2), a helicopter pilot, advises her that they need to get out of the city as soon as possible. Then we meet cops Roger DeMarco (Scott H. Reiniger, 2004's DAWN OF THE DEAD) and Peter Washington (Ken Foree, THE DENTIST), who have been sent into the ghetto to deal with the zombie problem. The four characters flee together, finding refuge at an abandoned shopping mall.


DAGON (2002) (***)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 1:34pm

Director Stuart Gordon is best known for the RE-ANIMATOR, a zombie like flick that played for laughs as much as for scares. This film, which is based on two H.P. Lovecraft short stories, follows Paul (Ezra Godden, TV’s BAND OF BROTHERS), his girlfriend Barbara (Raquel Meroño, THE MARK) and friends Vicki (Birgit Bofarull, SECOND NAME) and Howard (Brendan Price, THE NAMELESS) as they sail off the coast of Spain.

A violent storm quickly kicks up and their boat crashes against the rocks. Vicki is injured and Paul and Barbara head into shore to get help. They quickly discover that the town in inhabited by fish-like mutants. In Paul’s attempts to escape, he meets Ezequiel (Francisco Rabal, SORCERER), the town drunk and only surviving human, and Uxía (Macarena Gómez, PLATILLOS VOLANTES), a young woman who Paul dreamt about as a mermaid.


CALL NORTHSIDE 777 (1948) (***1/2)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 1:10pm

Miscarriage of justice stories are a dime a dozen. Director Henry Hathaway (KISS OF DEATH) was a stock noir director, but moved onto this "true life" docudrama when the sub-genre became popular in the 1940s following the release of Elia Kazan's BOOMERANG. This one, however, is one of the best in part due to a solid screenplay and its star Jimmy Stewart.

P.J. McNeal (James Stewart, VERTIGO) is a Chicago newspaperman assigned to look into an old cop killing. Frank Wiecek (Richard Conte, THE GODFATHER) was convicted of the crime mainly based on eye-witness testimony. His mother, Tillie (Kasia Orzazewski, QUEEN FOR A DAY), has been scrubbing floors for the past 11 years to save up reward money to find new information that can free her son. It was her notice of a $5,000 reward in the paper that initially piques the interest of McNeal's curious and cantankerous editor Brian Kelly (Lee J. Cobb, 12 ANGRY MEN).


BOXCAR BERTHA (1972) (***1/2)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 12:52pm

In 1967, BONNIE & CLYDE changed cinema. Like mainstream Hollywood, the B-movie business also likes to copy hits. BOXCAR BERTHA’s similarities to BONNIE & CLYDE are obvious. Infamous B-movie master Roger Corman produced this film on a shoestring budget. But for film fans, Corman is best known for launching the careers of young actors and directors. This was Martin Scorsese’s (GOODFELLAS) second feature directing job.

Bertha Thompson (Barbara Hershey, LANTANA) is a poor farm girl, who finds herself without a father and without means to an income during the Great Depression. She falls for Union leader “Big” Bill Shelly (David Carradine, KILL BILL: VOL. 2), but they get separated and she ends up with two-bit gambler Rake Brown (Barry Primus, NEW YORK, NEW YORK). After a Union bust, Shelly ends up in prison with the Thompson family’s former black farm hand Von Morton (Bernie Casey, UNDER SIEGE). Through circumstance, Bertha, Bill, Rake and Von end up falling into a life of crime.


IN & OUT (1997) (***)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 12:26pm

This is a funny movie. A little over-the-top (but what do you expect from a film about a guy who doesn't know he's gay) and on-the-nose at times, but pretty consistently chuckle inducing. It has a madcap charm that strains credibility at times, but it never reaches too far for its many laughs.

Howard Brackett (Kevin Kline, DE-LOVELY) is a well-liked high school English teacher who is about to marry fellow teacher Emily Montgomery (Joan Cusack, SCHOOL OF ROCK). They sit down to watch the Oscars because one of their former students Cameron Drake (Matt Dillon, THE OUTSIDERS) has been nominated for playing a gay soldier. During Drake’s acceptance speech, the actor thanks Brackett for inspiring his performance because the teacher is gay. This is a huge surprise to the small town, but more so to Howard, whose wedding and job are put in jeopardy. In response, Howard does everything in his power to dispel the notion that he is a homosexual.