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The Apostle

Director/Writer: Robert Duvall
Director of Photography: Barry Markowitz
Editor: Stephen Mack
Music: David Mansfield
Production Designer: Linda Burton
Producer: Rob Carliner
October Films; PG-13; 133 minutes
Release:1/98
Cast: Robert Duvall, Farrah Fawcett, Miranda Richardson, John Beasley, June Carter Cash and Billy Bob Thornton

Duvall literally bet the farm on this film, which he directed and starred in. He financed the film himself, after the studios rejected him. The bet paid off. Not only was it a critical and art-house hit, The Apostle landed him a Best Actor Oscar nomination. Sonny Dewey (Duvall) is a fire-and-brimstone Texas Pentecostalist preacher whose enthusiasm is seen as a threat by many of his parishioners. Dewey has devoted his life to his parish, at the expense of his wife (Fawcett), who leaves him for another man. Dewey erupts in a jealous rage and commits an unthinkably violent crime. To save himself, he fakes his own death and hits the road. He ends up in a black Louisiana community where he becomes The Apostle and sets out to build a new church and find redemption. A superb, complex film.

Four Days in September

Director: Bruno Barreto
Writer: Leopoldo Serran
Director of Photography: Félix Monti
Editor: Isabelle Rathery
Music: Stewart Copeland
Production Designer: Marcos Flacksman and Alexandre Meyer
Producers: Lucy Barreto and Luis Carlos Barreto
Miramax; R; 106 minutes
Release: 1/98
Cast: Alan Arkin, Pedro Cardoso, Fernanda Torres and Marco Ricca
Based on the book O que e isso, companheiro? by Fernando Gabeira

Based on the true story of the 1969 kidnapping by Brazilian students of the American ambassador to Brazil, Charles Elbrick (Arkin), Four Days in September is undoubtedly a well-made political drama, but it lacks a sense of immediacy and emerges as somewhat sluggish and ineffective. Disgusted with Brazil's fascist military regime, a group of students form a Marxist group, October 8 Revolutionary Movement, and begin by robbing banks but end up kidnapping the American ambassador. They demand the release of political prisoners in exchange for Elbrick's life. The students' naiveté is revealed when they have to come to terms with the fact that they may have to follow up on their threats to execute Elbrick. Barreto effectively humanizes the film by exploring the bond formed between Elbrick and one of his captors (Cardoso).

The Full Monty

Director: Peter Cattaneo
Writer: Simon Beaufoy
Director of Photography: John de Borman
Editors: David Freeman and Nicholas Moore
Music: Anne Dudley
Production Designer: Max Gottlieb
Producer: Uberto Pasolini
Fox Searchlight; R; 90 minutes
Release: 8/97
Cast: Robert Carlyle, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Addy, Paul Barber, Steve Huison, Hugo Speer

The Cinderella story of 1997, The Full Monty was the most profitable film of the year and one of the highest moneymakers of all time, having cost only $3.5 million to make and grossing more than $200 million worldwide. Stripped of their pride and jobs when the local steel mill closes, the lads of Sheffield, England, are desperate for a way to pay the bills and rebuild their self respect. Inspired by a sold-out performance of Chippendale dancers, Gaz (Carlyle) convinces his buddies they will turn their lives around and find redemption by taking it all off in front of a paying crowd. Never mind that these rough-hewn strippers have neither the confidence, the bodies, or the sense of rhythm for their new vocation. In one scene the boys critique a female pin-up, and then are aghast when they realize women might examine their bodies in an equally uncompromising fashion. Indeed, director Cattaneo mocks his characters, but he also treats them with pathos and affection.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: David Koepp
Director of Photography: Janusz Kaminski
Editor: Michael Kahn
Music: John Williams
Production Designer: Rick Carter
Producers: Gerald R. Molen and Colin Wilson
Universal; PG-13; 124 minutes
Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Pete Postlehwaite, Arliss Howard, Richard Attenborough, Vince Vaughn, Vanessa Lee Chester and Peter Stormare
Based on the novel The Lost World by Michael Crichton


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