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Tucson Weekly Film Clips

SEPTEMBER 27, 1999: 

DOUBLE JEOPARDY. Ashley Judd does hard time for supposedly murdering her husband for a cool $2 mil in life insurance, only to find out he's alive, wealthy, and partnered with the best friend who graciously adopted their young son after her incarceration. The plot is contrived and flawed, and the action's a bit slow, but who can resist the diminutive Judd's mercenary resolve to get revenge and legal custody by hunting down and killing her enemy? This is knee-jerk cinema at its best: hardened but principled heroes (Judd and her crusty parole officer, played by Tommy Lee Jones); an utterly evil villain (Bruce Greenwood as the conniving husband); and just the kind of flawed, simplistic criminal justice system we've come to expect in the post-O.J. entertainment era. It's a bit ridiculous, but it's the kind of dramatic, pre-meditated murder one can only experience through fiction or celebrity scandal. And who has time these days for the long, drawn-out legal process of the latter? Double Jeopardy takes less than two hours, and something resembling justice prevails. -- Mari Wadsworth


FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME. Maybe I've seen so many inept movies recently that I'm now impressed with any film that has an okay story and decent characters; or maybe it's because the concept of true love is as alien and intriguing to me as a world conquered by intelligent monkeys--but I have to admit that this mainstream, feel-good romance is all right. Through numerous flashbacks, it shows us the sad, sputtering relationship between an aging baseball legend (Kevin Costner) and an apprehensive single mother (Kelly Preston). Even though it uses a lot of standard clichés (the injury that leads to a spiritual transformation; the miraculous sports-related triumph over destiny), there's enough character development and solid acting that I could buy into it. Special mention should go to casting director Lynn Kressel, who shepherds some great supporting and cameo roles from John C. Reilly (the curly-haired doofus from Boogie Nights), J.K. Simmons (as the ultra-low-key team manager), and that freaky-looking kid from Gummo. I'm not saying you need to see this movie; but if you do, at least you won't leave the theater feeling like a dupe of the Hollywood turd merchants. -- Greg Petix


MY SON THE FANATIC. Udayan Prasad directs this complicated tale of a Pakistani immigrant who becomes an infidel twice over when he embraces a blatant contempt for his son's religious fanaticism and an adulterous passion for a young prostitute. It's a remarkable film because the questionable actions of the characters leave us with no easy choices. We want the father to set the son straight because his beliefs are hateful and stupid, but he's compromised his own moral authority with his unfaithfulness (as well as his being a sloppy drunk). We can almost understand his desire to seek love outside of a lifeless, platonic marriage, but can we forgive his unrepentant betrayal of a faithful and caring wife? Such ethical complexities make this a captivating story (I dread the inevitable lament of syndicated pinheads complaining that there's no character they can "root for" -- as if a movie were a football game). -- Greg Petix


STIR OF ECHOES. Kevin Bacon stars in this well-paced suspense thriller that metes out plot information in the kind of tiny, individually wrapped packages that Kraft uses to mete out its delicious American cheese. A young boy with the gift of second sight, a missing girl, a hypnotic hell-ride into higher consciousness and the guilty glances of a local football hero combine to create a tense and effective Hitchcockian horror film. -- James DiGiovanna


TWIN FALLS IDAHO. This is a good example of the type of independent film that's as routine as anything from the major studios, yet is lauded for its small budget and quirkiness. In this case, the quirk is provided by a strange love story between an unbelievably pretty hooker and the better-half of a pair of Siamese twins. It's not terrible by any means (in fact, the performance by real-life twins Michael and Mark Polish, who also wrote and directed the movie, is outstanding); but there's dialogue in here that would embarrass Forrest Gump, and the story just isn't that interesting. I do recommend you bring a hanky for the scene where the tragic twosome play guitar and harmonize together; it's a tear-jerker! -- Greg Petix


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