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NewCityNet The Ice Storm

Ang Lee warms up.

By Ray Pride

APRIL 20, 1998:  Those who Oscar found naughty instead of nice are making their way to video shelves this month, with "Boogie Nights" out since last week, and now Ang Lee's wickedly overlooked "The Ice Storm," a chilly, exquisite portrait of two families in suburban New Canaan, Connecticut, in 1973. (In other Oscar also-rans, "L. A. Confidential" also hits the streets this week, as well as Parker Posey's fluent portrait of familial psychosis, "The House of Yes.") "The Ice Storm" is a triumph of mood over material, a work of intense texture and rewarding behavioral acuity. Kevin Kline, Joan Allen and Sigourney Weaver are among the adults; the adolescents include Tobey Maguire, Elijah Wood, Adam Hann-Byrd, and in a marvel of a performance as a driven, disturbed, sexually precocious 14-year-old, Christina Ricci. Marvelous stuff, and certainly not to be typed as a "seventies backlash" picture. Lee and his screenwriter-producer James Schamus are after something much more mysterious and may have grasped it. Wonderful score by Mychael Danna.

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