Weekly Wire
Film + TV

Racism Hollywood-Style
How movies have portrayed the civil-rights struggles of African Americans. [2]
Chris Herrington

Ho Ho Hum
With the exceptions of "Wings of the Dove" and "Titanic," this is one lousy year for holiday movies. [3]
Mary Dickson

Full Reviews
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Time Machine
James Cameron floats in his shiny new "Titanic." [4]
Ray Pride

Think or Swim
Director James Cameron's $200 million "Titanic" opens amid a sea of troubles, but stays afloat. [5]
Peter Keough

The Love Boat
James Cameron keeps his $200 million plus film afloat. [6]
Devin D. O'Leary

Slash Deeper, Please
Why slasher movies have a lot in common with porno flicks, among other thoughts on Wes Craven's "Scream 2." [7]
Stacey Richter

Extraordinary People
Gus Van Sant talks about what he found in "Good Will Hunting." [8]
Ray Pride

Pet Project
"Good Will Hunting" is smartly directed but no work of genius; "As Good As It Gets" is worse than it should be. [9]
Jim Ridley and Donna Bowman

Up From Slavery
"Amistad" juggles the demands of history and entertainment. [10]
Noel Murray

Set Me Free
Stephen Spielberg tackles slavery in "Amistad." [11]
Susan Ellis

Equality of Man
Reviews of "Amistad" and "Sick." [12]
Rick Barton

Film Tip of the Week
This week's must-see flick: "The Tango Lesson." [13]

Video + TV
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Mind-bending video reviews from our psychotronic couch critic. [19]
Scott Phillips

George Romero's flops are now entertaining videos: "Martin," "The Crazies," and "The Affair." [20]

TV Eye
Nickelodeon's nostalgia programming lets you remember some of the best Christmas episodes. [21]
Margaret Moser

For Your Information...
TV gives so much and asks so little. [22]
Devin D. O'Leary

Now What?
What's the matter, couldn't find a review of that blockbuster film you're excited about? We certainly don't want to leave you disappointed -- why not try some of these larger-than-life movie links? [23]

Volume I, Issue 29
December 22 - December 29, 1997

I   finally got around to seeing "Amistad," and I feel very ambivalent. Though I have great respect for what Spielberg was trying to do (in spite of his excesses), the movie left me emotionally uninvolved. The worst moment, bar none, was Cinque's cathartic courtroom explosion. "Give us free!," he shouts out of nowhere, as if suddenly contacted by abolitionist aliens. When a scene like this, in a movie this serious, fails, I want to make fun of it as a coping mechanism. I'm left pondering questions like "Will there be a Tickle Me Cinque doll that shakes and shouts 'Give us free!' when you touch his tummy?" and imagining how Cinque would react if he discovered the true contents of Soylent Green. (My apologies to Djimon Hounsou, who gave a heartfelt performance in what was, sadly, an underwritten role.)

This kind of problem always seems to result whenever well-meaning white guys attempt to sum up the tragedy of another race. Just look at "Mississippi Burning," where two honkies did all the work and the only black characters were victims. What condescending message does that send? Here's a further look at Hollywood's shoddy track record when it comes to documenting the historical facts of slavery and racism. And while we're at it, here are some very balanced reviews of "Amistad."

Now to switch historical gears a little. While some real-life tragedies (such as slavery) are politically complex and hard to film, others are quite simple and cinematically exploitable. I'm talking, of course, about "Titanic," James Cameron's latest budget-busting special effects spectacle. Despite predictions that the movie would "sink" at the box office, the outlook appears favorable for its success. The two new reviews we've got this week certainly seem positive. So does this interview with Cameron. By the way, I hate to ruin a movie's ending, but this time around I just can't resist: Glub, glub, glub, glub.


Behind the Scenes
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Reel World
Reebok has "Jerry Maguire" on the run; Kevin Kline out-draws George Clooney; "L.A. Confidential" gains a boost in L.A. confidence. [18]
Devin D. O'Leary

Mini Reviews
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Chicago NewCityNet

  • The Deli
  • Mouse Hunt
  • Tomorrow Never Dies

Boston Phoenix

  • As Good As It Gets
  • For Richer or Poorer
  • Hugo Pool
  • The Mouse
  • Mousehunt
  • Office Killer
  • Out at Work
  • Scream 2
  • Tomorrow Never Dies

Austin Chronicle

  • Amistad
  • For Richer or Poorer
  • Mouse Hunt
  • Scream 2
  • Titanic
  • Tomorrow Never Dies

Tucson Weekly

  • Amistad
  • Home Alone 3
  • For Richer or Poorer

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