Fall Film Round-Up
By Marjorie Baumgarten
SEPTEMBER 8, 1997:
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS
D: Anthony Waller; with Tom Everett Scott, Julie Delpy, Vince Vieluf, Phil Buckman.
Julie Delpy of Before Sunrise explores new dimensions of that expression when she pairs with That Thing You Do!'s Tom Everett Scott in this follow-up to John Landis' cult favorite from 16 years ago. (Oct. 3)
Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em: That seems to be the theme of this bittersweet look at the end of an affair that was completed two years ago but is suddenly seeing a release now that its two stars have become hot properties. (Oct. 10)
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
D: Alex Zamm; with Carrot Top, Jack Warden, Larry Miller, Raquel Welch, Courtney Thorne-Smith.
Big screen Carrot Top is about to be unleashed on America in this comedy that poses this prop-humor comedian as an inventor who saves his company from the big-business barracudas; it seems that distribution company Trimark learned nothing from the huge bomb it suffered last year with its Rodney Dangerfield vehicle Meet Wally Sparks. (Oct. 24)
THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE
Keanu Reeves plays a young Southern lawyer who is lured to New York City by Al Pacino, the charismatic head of a powerful law firm, but then the young attorney discovers as he sinks his teeth into the Big Apple that his mentor is none other than Satan incarnate. (Oct. 17)
DIFFERENT FOR GIRLS
D: Richard Spence; with Steven Mackintosh, Rupert Graves, Miriam Margolyes, Saskia Reeves.
In this comic gender-bender, a man discovers that the woman with whom he has fallen in love is actually his best friend from childhood who has since undergone a sex-change operation. (Oct. 17)
FAIRYTALE: A TRUE STORY
Peter O'Toole is cast as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harvey Keitel as Harry Houdini in this tale based on true events of two young girls in 1917 who sparked a controversy when they captured what were believed to be images of fairies on film, thereby inciting a heated debate about the paranormal among spiritualists and their debunkers. (Oct. 24)
D: Carlos Saura; with Paco de Lucia, Manolo Sanlucar, Lole y Manuel, Joaquin Cortes, Farruco, Farruqito, Mario Maya, and more.
Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura (Carmen, Blood Wedding) takes stock of the art of flamenco dance and song by showcasing hundreds of performers who all swirl past the lens of ace cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, a three-time Oscar winner (Apocalypse Now, Reds, The Last Emperor). (Oct. 31)
FOR EVER MOZART
D: Jean-Luc Godard; with Madeleine Assas, Ghalia Lacroix, Bérangère Allaux, Vicky Messica, Frédéric Pierrot, Harry Cleven.
Cinema's enduring colossus of iconoclasm, Jean-Luc Godard, returns to the subject of war, here creating a fiction that focuses on the Bosnian conflict but in larger terms focuses on the inability of art to affect political change. (Oct. 10)
D: Mohsen Makhmalbaf; with Shaghayegh Djodat, Hossein Moharami, Roghieh Moharami.
Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf creates a poetic narrative about the remote and nomadic Ghashghai tribe whose members weave carpets called gabbeh, which have intricate patterns that serve as a record of their history and stories. (Oct. 24)
Tupac Shakur's final film role -- really; he and James Belushi play a pair of dirty undercover cops whose scheme of selling the drugs they seize and framing the street gangs begins to unravel. (Oct. 10)
In a futuristic story seemingly cloned from today's headlines, Ethan Hawke plays a naturally born human who assumes the identity of a member of the genetic elite (one born in a petri dish); Uma Thurman is his lab partner. (Oct. 24)
GOING ALL THE WAY
D: Mark Pellington; with Jeremy Davies, Ben Affleck, Jill Clayburgh, Lesley Ann Warren, Rachel Weisz, Amy Locane, Rose McGowan.
Spanking the Monkey's Jeremy Davies and Chasing Amy's Ben Affleck play two young men who return to their hometown of Indianapolis in 1954 after serving in the Korean War and follows them as they search for love, good times, and personal meaning; Dan Wakefield adapted the script from his best-selling novel and music video director Mark Pellington breaks into feature filmmaking. (Oct. 3)
D: Tomas Gutierrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabio; with Carlos Cruz, Mirtha Ibarra, Raul Eguren.
From the Cuban Strawberry and Chocolate collaborators comes this realistic screwball comedy about a civil servant who has an idea for a vehicular relay system for transporting corpses to far-flung island destinations. (Oct. 3)
D: Morgan J. Freeman; with Brendan Sexton III, Isidra Vega, Shawn Elliott, David Roland Frank, L.M. Kit Carson.
Winner of three Sundance Film Festival awards, this gritty film by first-time director Morgan J. Freeman (not the actor) features rising star Brendan Sexton III as a street-smart city kid who tries to separate from his thuggish friends. (Oct. 24)
I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER
Four teens involved in a hit-and-run accident make a pact to conceal the truth, but the secret may wind up killing the teens in this new horror thriller from Scream's screenwriter Kevin Williamson. (Oct. 17)
KISS THE GIRLS
Washington, D.C. detective Morgan Freeman hooks up with doctor Ashley Judd to search for his missing... and possibly kidnapped niece in this psychological suspense thriller from the director of Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead. (Oct. 3)
LICENSED TO KILL
D: Arthur Dong.
Documentary filmmaker Arthur Dong (Coming Out Under Fire) here investigates the cultural roots of criminal violence that targets gay men; this Sundance special jury award winner interviews seven convicted killers and makes use of courtroom footage and other graphic evidence to shed some light on the genesis and perpetuation of hate crimes in America. (Oct. 24)
A LIFE LESS ORDINARY
The director-producer-writer team of Danny Boyle, Andrew Macdonald, and John Hodge (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting) make their American filmmaking debut with this offbeat romantic comedy about a downsized janitor who kidnaps the boss' daughter and the heaven-sent angels whose task it is to get these bickering bozos to fall in love. (Oct. 24)
Janeane Garofalo finally gets a starring role in this romantic comedy about a senatorial aide who travels to Ireland and gets caught up in a town's annual matchmaking festivities; it's scripted by Karen Janszen and Louis Nowra, the creators of the cult comedy hit Father Ted. (Oct. 3)
It seems that Keenan Ivory Wayans wants to become more than just a talk-show host, he wants to add the words "action-adventure star" to his resumé and thus follows up his turn in Glimmer Man with this new thriller about a wronged covert soldier on the lam. (Oct. 10)
THE MYTH OF FINGERPRINTS
D: Bart Freundlich; with Noah Wylie, Julianne Moore, Hope Davis, Blythe Danner, Roy Scheider, Michael Vartan, Laurel Holloman, Arija Bareikis, Brian Kerwin, James LeGros.
Four grown children return to their family home in New England to share Thanksgiving dinner with their parents and significant others and, bit by bit, the fragile veneer of family life cracks into pathos and comedy. (Oct. 24)
D: Mario Andreacchio; with voices by Adam Wylie, Bronson Pinchot, Debra Mooney, Wendy Makkena, David Ogden Stiers, Blythe Danner, Joan Rivers.
A 10-week-old golden retriever puppy is the hero of this live-action adventure that takes the pooch on an unexpected hot air balloon ride into the Australian outback where he meets up with all sorts of exotic creatures. (Oct. 10)
After losing his medical license because of an operation performed while high on amphetamines, Duchovny's L.A. surgeon descends into the mobland underworld as a gunshot doctor. (Oct. 17)
D: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne; with Jérémie Renier, Olivier Gourmet.
In this gritty Belgian film, a 15-year-old boy who is involved in his father's business of transporting illegal immigrant laborers, must choose between his filial loyalty and his own moral sense. (Oct. 10)
D: Stuart Gillard; with Harland Williams, Jessica Lundy, William Sadler, Jeffrey DeMunn, Shelley Duvall, Beau Bridges.
This family movie is a comedy about a hapless scientist on the first manned mission to Mars -- but slap on some subtitles and it sounds as though it might pass as a documentary about the Mir space station. (Oct. 10)
SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET
D: Jean-Jacques Annaud; with Brad Pitt, David Thewlis, B.D. Wong.
Brad Pitt stars in this story about the real-life mountaineer Heinrich Harrer who, in 1939 while climbing in the Himalayas, became interned in a British prisoner of war camp and then, after his escape, became the tutor and friend of the Dalai Lama; the movie could be hurt by recent revelations about Harrer's Nazi ties. (Oct. 8)
SWEPT FROM THE SEA
Joseph Conrad's short story Amy Foster is the source material for this romantic epic about a servant girl and a shipwrecked foreigner in 19th-century Cornwall, England. (Oct. 24)
A serial killer kidnaps the son of FBI man Dennis Quaid who tracks the criminal with the assistance of some clues from a former railroad worker and a mysterious hitchhiker; writer-director Jeb Stuart makes his directing debut after penning such scripts as Die Hard and The Fugitive. (Oct. 31)
Oliver Stone scales things back a bit from the conspiracy epics he's been involved with of late to try his hand at this thriller adapted from John Ridley's Stray Dogs about a con man played by Sean Penn whose luck goes from bad to worse. (Oct. 3)
D: John Schultz; with Kevin Corrigan, Steve Parlavecchio, Lee Holmes, Matthew Hennessey, Doug MacMillan.
Life inside a cramped traveling van isn't exactly what these guys thought they were getting into when they started a rock & roll band; this knowing comedy follows the North Carolina foursome from their initial pooling of talent and assets to the escalation of their tensions and disappointments. (Oct.)
A man wakes up alone in a strange hotel room and discovers that he has lost his memory and is wanted for a series of brutal and bizarre murders; such strange and otherworldly events should be fitting material for Alex Proyas, the director of The Crow. (Oct.)
D: Ira Sachs; with Shayne Gray, Thang Chan, Rachel Zan Huss.
A rich 17-year-old Jewish boy in suburban Memphis takes a romantic fling down the Mississippi River with a recently emigrated Vietnamese man of mixed parentage; the film provides a fresh and often painful portrait of the contrasting worlds that commingle in society's margins. (Oct.)
D: Harmony Korine; with Chloe Sevigny, Max Perlich, Nick Sutton, Jacob Reynolds, Linda Manz.
Harmony Korine, the 23-year-old writer of Kids, makes his directorial debut here with another unflinching and controversial portrait of numbingly bored and casually cruel teens in Xenia, Ohio. (Oct.)
D: Wong Kar-Wai; with Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Chang Chen.
At Cannes, this new film by director Wong Kar-Wai (Chungking Express, Ashes of Time) won top honors for direction; with typical visual flourish, Wong tells the story of two gay men from Hong Kong (played by two of the island's top box-office stars, Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu Wai) who try to make a new start in Argentina. (Oct.)
HOUSE OF YES
D: Mark Waters; with Parker Posey, Josh Hamilton, Tori Spelling, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Genevieve Bujold, Rachael Leigh Cook.
Quickly snatched up at the Sundance Film Festival, this dark family-reunion comedy focuses on a clan that haven't been quite right ever since President Kennedy's assassination in Dallas; Parker Posey thinks she's Jackie-O, she and her brother share a secret, and Tori Spelling is cast as the normal outsider visiting for the weekend. (Oct.)
THE ICE STORM
This film adaptation of Rick Moody's confessional novel about the backwash of the sexual revolution in 1970s Connecticut won the best screenplay award at this year's Cannes Film Festival; Ang Lee's portrait of wife-swapping and teen drug use in the 'burbs is something of a departure from the geniality of his last outing, Sense and Sensibility. (Oct.)
D: Joe Chappelle; with Peter O'Toole, Joanna Going, Rose McGowan, Ben Affleck, Liev Schreiber.
Dean Koontz's 1983 novel is the basis for this thriller about a shape-shifting force that has been dormant beneath the earth for centuries but has suddenly surfaced to wreak havoc. (Oct.)
D: Jonathan Nossiter; with David Suchet, Lisa Harrow, Jared Harris, Larry Pine, Joe Grifasi.
This winner of the grand prize and the screenwriting award at this year's Sundance Film Festival is a bittersweet story about two miserable people whose lives intersect for one incredible day due to a case of mistaken identity; lead David Suchet is best known for his TV work as PBS sleuth Hercule Poirot. (Oct.)
THE TEARS OF JULIAN PO
D: Alan Wade; with Christian Slater, Robin Tunney.
In this comic fable by first-time writer-director Alan Wade, Christian Slater plays a drifter who happens upon a small rural town whose inhabitants mistake his guileless behavior for something much more significant. (Oct.)
Based on the Henry James novel, Jennifer Jason Leigh stars in this season's portrait of a lady caught between some hard choices. (Oct.)
D: Doug Wolens.
Weed is an American documentary about cannabis culture in Amsterdam shot during the city's eighth annual Cannabis Cup and Hemp Expo. (Oct.)
YEAR OF THE HORSE
Shot largely with Super-8 cameras, filmmaker Jim Jarmusch (Stranger Than Paradise and Dead Man, for which Neil Young composed and performed music) presents this documentary tribute to the music and staying power of Neil Young and Crazy Horse; the film includes interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and concert performances. (Oct.)
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