The Hudsucker Proxy

The Hudsucker Proxy is a weird mixture of old
film cliches thrown together in the hope of recapturing the romantic
comedies of times forgotten. But by stealing bits from Capra and
Hawks and Hecht and Welles, Joel and Ethan Coen have a lot to live
up to. The plot is straight from Preston Sturges: simple, small
town boy (Tim Robbins) is promoted to president of a huge, 50’s-style
company by the evil board chairman (Paul Newman) who wants to devalue
the stock and buy it doesn’t work because she’s not saying anything
half the time, she’s just filling in the gaps with nonsense. Which
is really the problem with the whole film. They use a little Capra
here and some Sturges there, but in between, it’s a film hanging
on nothing, waiting for the next stolen plot twist to save it from
utter boredom. The twists they find, some from the 30’s, some from
the 40’s and some from the 50’s, have a hard time finding relevance
today partly because they are from disparate times themselves and
partly because the time we live in now has yet to find a single
ideology to sum it up.   The sets and the rather
than allow it to get into the hands of the unwashed masses.”
Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a hardworking reporter who wants to get
the story. Her character is, basically, Rosalind Russell from The
Front Page
, and while she does a great job keeping up with Russell’s
pace, it shots are incredibly rich, and of course there’s a happy
ending, but, like fat-free food and the rest of the 90’s, it leaves
us empty and unsatisfied.

Bitter Moon

took a few years for Polanski’s latest film to make its way to America
and it’s easy to see why. Both excellent and awful, it is a hard
film to pin down. Hugh Grant plays a callow, unemotional British
man on a cruise with his wife. The cruise is supposed to be helping
them bring some warmth into their stale marriage. Unfortunately,
they find the pleasant company of Oscar (Peter Coyote) and Mimi
(Emmanuelle Seigner), a couple weathered by their intense love experiences.
Peter tells Hugh their story, and most of the film takes place in
the flashback that is that story. It’s hard to take a lot of this
story seriously and at times it’s hard to figure out if you’re supposed
to. Polanski himself grabs a laugh at the S&M sex in the film
every time he can. Polanski has always had a weird sense of humor
about sex; in many ways it’s what makes 1~ other films so great.
His films that aren’t about sex are usually driven by sexual tension.
The sex in Bitter Moon is completely direct, something new for Polanski,
which is also what makes the experience so awkward. It is never
boring, though, and sometimes great. Besides, we don’t get to see
new Polanski films very often. MM