The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on September 1, 1995 · Page 83
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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 83

Cincinnati, Ohio
Issue Date:
Friday, September 1, 1995
Page 83
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FILM j Tie Cincinnati Enquirer Friday, September 1, 1995 21 1 nTY1 T"1 Tffr CRITIC'S PICKS TOP ART FILM: Brothers McMullen () This is a rare pleasure, a funny, appealing movie that captures and holds our attention with what the characters sayto one another. The conversation is intelligent, adult and movingly authentic. Filmmakerstar Edward Burns treats his characters with respect even when they are silly, and with affection even when they are bad. He also inspired subtle, layered performances from his cast. FOR KIDS: Magic In The Water Young children will enjoy this tale about a family with a workaholic father who winds up believing that he may be possessed by the spirit of a legendary creature who lives at the bottom of a lake in the Pacific Northwest. It contains some strong language, including one"" reference to masturbation that earned it a PG rating. At National Amusements. FOR TEEN-AGERS: Mortal fomfia () Critics have been divided in their opinions about this film based on a kung-fu computer game. But the word among gamers who scoff at fuddy-duddies that condemn the game's intense violence is that this is the first movie that successfully translates a video game to the big screen. On-line game fans pronounce the movie stunts and special effects "awesome." Rated PG-13 for violence and some strong language. At National Amusements. HOW THEY . RATE J Excellent , Good k f Fair J . Poor ; ? TCTSlllU,!. MJllO JC thriller 'Usual Suspects' rounds up brilliant cast to solve a murder with style BY MARGARET A. McGURK The Cincinnati Enquirer The Usual Suspects is a stylish thriller from another hotshot young director, Bryan Singer, who has turned out a suspenseful trip through murky waters. Singer uses a clever combination of flashback and straight narrative to keep his tale of crime and betrayal moving through a tangle of blind alleys and false leads. The film opens with a murder on board a ship, then shifts to a suspect being questioned. From there on, it switches back and forth in time and place repeatedly as a federal investigator (Chazz Palminteri) tries to pry the truth of what happened out of an informant (Kevin Spacey), with an assist from an FBI agent (Giancarlo Esposito). The story is quickly paced; lies, hints and revelations tumble off screen so fast that you may wish you had a scorecard. When the dense whodunit plot starts to tip from fascinating to incomprehensible, Singer reels it back into control by letting one of his characters recap the action. .- HOVIE REVIEW V Usual Suspects (R; harsh profanity, violence) Chazz Palminteri, Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, Pete Postlethwaite, Suzy Amis, Dan Hedaya. 106 minutes. At National Amusements. Visually, the film is packed with moody images and tight close-ups. For the most part, it's a look that works well, although there are moments where Singer's style becomes so self-conscious that it distracts from the story. The cast, working in smooth ensemble style, is stacked with outstanding actors. In addition to Palminteri, Spacey and Esposito, players include Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Pollak, Pete Postlethwaite, Suzy Amis and Dan Hedaya. All do fine work, but Palminteri, Byrne and Spacey are flat-out brilliant. 6T ro 5 6" Oj XV Y 5 6" 4.r a. f x 'J TV - T-fyjr MhJ D l) L n F ( ; I r -Vj , k f LJ-LJJ : A. Z The Usual Suspects lineup includes: Kevin Pollak, Stephen Baldwin, Benicio Del Toro, Gabriel Byrne and Kevin Spacey. Excruciating images rule 'Bandit Queen' BY MARGARET A. McGURK The Cincinnati Enquirer If Bandit Queen were purely fictional, it would seem a ludicrous and overblown story. As it is, the movie is factual or as factual as any living history cum folklore and political agenda can be. Based on the dictated prison diaries of Phoolan Devi, the "Ban dit Queen" of India's Chambal Valley, where dacoit gangs have roamed since the 12th century, this film was India's entry in the foreign film category for last year's Oscars. Devi became an idol to poor, low-caste Indians; Seema Biswas as Phoolan Devi. 10,000 showed up to cheer when she surrendered to authorities in 1983. The film does not really show how she rose to icon status, but offers a passionate condemnation of the oppression of women and peasants under India's caste system. The film is for the most part a harrowing account of Devi's life, beginning at age 12 when she was married off to a man who beat and raped her until she escaped back to her family's village. The low-caste Devi (Seema Biswas) is further humiliated by higher-caste villagers, then kidnapped by a cruel dacoit leader. Devi's career as a bandit begins after a sympathetic gang member, Vikram Mallah (Nirmal Pandey), kills the leader to save Devi. They become lovers and his murder later leads to her most notorious crime, the slaughter of 20 men at a village where she was hunting for his killers. Biswas plays Devi with harsh energy, like a woman always on the edge of frenzy. When she unleashes herself in a vicious assault on her abandoned husband, she creates the most disturbing moment in a movie rife with excruciating images. The film is banned in India Devi herself filed, then settled, a number of suits to stop its release. American audiences may miss the political implications of Bandit Queen, but they won't escape its intensity. MOVIE REVIEW Bandit Queen (Unrated; includes harsh profanity, sex, nudity and graphic violence, including rape) Seema Biswas, Nirmal Pandey. Hindi with English subtitles, 119 minutes. At The Movies. i . i - i. j

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