1997 Movie Review: WILDE, 1997 – Starring: Stephen Fry, Jude Law

Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

Movie Reviews

Directed by Brian Gilbert

Cast: Stephen Fry, Jude Law, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael Sheen, Tom Wilkinson, Gemma Jones, Jennifer Ehle, Judy Parfit
Review by Stefan Leverton


The story of Oscar Wilde, genius, poet, playwright and the First Modern Man. The self-realisation of his homosexuality caused Wilde enormous torment as he juggled marriage, fatherhood and responsibility with his obsessive love for Lord Alfred Douglas, nicknamed Bosie. After legal action instigated by Bosie’s father, the mad Marquess of Queensberry, Wilde refused to flee the country and was sentenced to two years at hard labour by the courts of an intolerant Victorian society.


Take a look at what’s new today!


Wilde is the biopic telling the infamous story of Oscar Wilde, one of Ireland’s and the Victorian era’s greatest playwright and poet. Above that he represented the rise in the appreciation for all things aesthetic, fashion and style as well as being one of the wittiest historical figures that I can think of. His life wasn’t all plaudits though, and he courted controversy to the full.

The film begins with Wilde returning from America, marrying Constance Wilde and having two boys, Cyril and Vyvyan. Then it begins, not wanting to over-state anything, his rise and fall. Taking the theatre world by storm, Wilde’s plays illuminate the west end and he becomes the toast of the town. With an invigorated zeal for socialising, Wilde acquaints himself with all the lavishness his success affords him.

This ignites a spark within Wilde, especially after becoming familiar with Robbie Ross. After their meeting Wilde’s ‘outs’ himself amongst the homosexual community, and in doing so becomes the person he may’ve always known he was. Then the shift moves from his work to his personal life. An intense affair rises between Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas, nicknamed Bosie. Bosie is drawn to the artful and wise Wilde, while Wilde is drawn to the youthful pretty Bosie.

Their relationship has its ups and downs, mainly due to Bosie’s impetuousness, but ultimately has its dramatic anchor in the film as in Wilde’s life by being the scandal that brought shame upon Wilde’s family and indeed his professional reputation. Bosie’s father, the Mad Marquess of Queensberry, files a lawsuit against Wilde and his lewd illegal behaviour.

The ensuing court case, is widely publicised and the witch hunt that surrounds it sees the steadfast Wilde prosecuted for his actions and sentenced to four years hard labour after refusing to take exile. Then we witness Wilde’s decline, removed of his style in gaol. Even on his release when he takes refuge in Europe his healthy withers and Wilde dies resolute but very much alone in Paris, 1900.

As a fan of Wilde’s work, I feel this film does tremendous justice to the man, played with sheer perfection by Stephen Fry. Fry said of the role that it was the one he was born to play, and he is in no way over stating that fact. And the filmmakers have done a wonderful job of adding to the creation by giving Fry just the right appearance as a young-twenty-something but also as the broken-aged-man Wilde becomes during his incarceration. And special mention should go to Jude law who, aside from looking good in the role, acts as a great folly to Wilde, being that they are at different stages of their lives.

The only criticism of the film is that those who aren’t familiar with Wilde may struggle to be enraptured by the drama of the film which never really peaks. I think that to be slightly mis-guided as Wilde himself fully understood what was going on, there was no outrage from him, though he did stand resolutely and argued his case to spite all that, though sadly without success. What stands is the memory of such outrageous persecution from the justice system and society to persecute someone, when today that wouldn’t even enter the consciousness.

WILDE, 1997

Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

1997 Movie Review: WAG THE DOG, 1997 – Starring: Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman

Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

Movie Reviews

Directed by Barry Levinson
Starring: Dustin Hoffman; Robert De Niro; Anne Heche
Review by Tom Coatsworth


When the US President gets caught with his pants down, days before the election, his spin-doctors create a fictitious war to divert attention.

Nominated for 2 Oscars: Best actor in a leading role: Dustin Hoffman;

Best Screenplay: David Mamet; Hilary Henkin


Political satire in feature filmmaking is exceptionally rare. It’s a poor-boy genre that is shunned by producers, who prefer to make money. And so it’s a thrill to see top notch talent driving a witty political script all the way to the bank. On a fifteen million dollar budget ‘Wag The Dog’ grossed sixty-four million box-office worldwide — nothing to sneer at.

The story begins with scandal: the President has been accused by a Firefly Girl of sexual fondling. It’s only days before the election. He has a commanding lead in the polls but the story spells disaster. The President is in China. One of his chief advisors, Winifred Ames (Anne Heche), brings in ‘Mr. Fixit’ – Conrad Brean (De Niro) to handle the crisis. It seems an impossible task.

But lying helps: the President is sick and cannot leave China for at least a day – this buys time. Brean and Ames fly to California where they enlist Hollywood producer, Stanley Motss (Hoffman), to produce their war. (The Motss character was based on movie producer Robert Evans. Hoffman does a pitch-perfect job emulating Evans and was nominated for an Oscar. Evans, a former actor, insisted: “I was wonderful in that part”).

Brean wants a war – not a real war, but a pageant – he wants a song, a story line; he wants patriotic fervor to rise up and quell the Firefly Girl story. He pulls Albania out of the air. “What did they ever do for us? What do we know about them? They seem sort of shifty”. (Motss chimes in: they have ‘the bomb’ – a suitcase bomb – Albanian terrorists with a suitcase bomb in Canada.) Motss calls in his go-to team – John (Willie Nelson), a Nashville songwriter; the Fad King (Denis Leary) and Liz Butsky (Andrea Martin). They brainstorm the night away and by morning they have a song and a strategy.

They create film footage of the “War”. On a Hollywood Soundstage an actress (Kirsten Dunst) is hired to play a refugee fleeing a war torn village. She runs in front of a blue screen while a burning village complete with sirens and crying villagers is supplied digitally. Five hours later it is on the evening news. The Firefly story is buried. “It’s a pageant”, says Brean.

On route to Nashville Brean and Ames are detained by the CIA. There is no war and no bomb and someone has to answer for it. Brean spins the CIA agent (William H. Macy) like a top: if there were peace — you would be out of a job. Mr. CIA appears completely bamboozled and lets them go. However no sooner are they in Nashville they get word the war is over! The CIA has informed the Presidents rival and hence the public that hostilities with Albania have ended and all is right with the world! “This is nothing!” shouts Motss, “I’m producing this war, it’s not over till I say its over – we need an act 2”. Motss and the Fad King quickly spin Act2.

A soldier with a name like shoe has been caught behind enemy lines and is being held by the terrorists — a war hero. This plays perfectly with an ‘old shoe’ song they have dreamed up. The Army searches its ranks for a soldier by that name — William Schumann (Woody Harrelson). The campaign begins anew. The cry goes up: “bring back ‘Old Shoe’”. The new song is planted in the Library of Congress – 1930. Motss and Brean throw old shoes tied together over telephone lines and in tops of trees; catchy idea. The media loves it. (I remember when the movie appeared because so did the shoes – on telephone lines all over town.) School children start letter writing – the Firefly story is buried once again – they are almost home.

And then they meet Schumann – a dangerous psychotic who’s spent fifteen years in a military prison for raping a nun. (Part of the charm of the script is that as easily as the spin-doctors churn out lies and as easily as the public buys them the professional branches of the government – the Army, the CIA — are never really taken in and never quite go along with the charade.)

Harrelson is hilarious as the psycho soldier. I was particularly impressed with De Niro who displays some serious light, comedy chops. His attempts at broad comedy — at playing course, dumb, silly people — have never worked. Here he is at home. Hoffman is clicking as the slick Hollywood mogul; and Anne Heche fills some tall high heels, poised as she is between these two legends.

The script is deliciously funny and a subject of controversy – David Mamet, one of America’s finest, brashest playwrights, wrote the working script. It was nominated for an Oscar. But the original script, based on a book by Larry Beinhart, was written by Hilary Henkin. Barry Levinson has claimed that Mamet wrote his draft without reading the book or Henkin’s draft – but the case went to court and both Mamet and Henkin are now credited with screenwriting: they should get together more often, it’s brilliant.

‘Wag’ was released a month before the Clinton intern scandal, and so it was prescient. What’s more some believe the movie served to hamstring President Clinton’s actions: critics tied the timing of a missile attack on an enemy camp with a Presidential desire to ‘change the subject’. Whether it was true or not ‘Wag’ had spun ‘spin’ out of the box and there was no going back: the public had wised up. Since the days of Aristophanes that’s as good as it gets: ‘Wag The Dog’ is political satire at its finest. Enjoy.

wag the dog

1997 Movie Review: TWIN TOWN, 1997 Dir. Ingmar Bergman

Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

Movie Reviews

Directed by Ingmar Bergman

Cast: Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand, Jullan Kindahl, Folke Sundquist
Review by DJ Haza


Julian and Jeremy, two brothers known as the “Lewis Twins”, prefer to spend their time on drugs and joyriding. When their father, Fatty Lewis, breaks his leg working for local bigwig Bryn Cartwright, they show up demanding compensation. Underestimating the vicious humour of the twins Bryn brusquely refuses to pay for the un-insured Fatty and unleashes a ferocious feud.



Kevin Allen’s first outing as a Director is a rip-roaring story of drugs, bent coppers, thieves and family in the Welsh city of Swansea. The stories follows the Lewis Twins, played by Rhys and Llyr Ifans, as they steal cars, barter for prescription drugs and quiz each other as they smoke weed through a home made bong whilst sharing a bath. Life is anything but ordinary for these troublesome Twins. Living in two caravans with their father – Fatty (Huw Ceredig), mother – Jean (Di Botcher), sister – Adie (Rachel Scorgie) and the dog – Cantona, banter is a plenty.

Across town two of Swansea’s finest officers; Greyo (Dorien Thomas) and Terry Walsh (Dougray Scott) meet outside Swansea train station for a drug deal. As they wait they admire the Dylan Thomas quote on the pavement ‘An ugly, pretty town’. However, Terry Walsh refers to Swansea as ‘a pretty, shitty city’. Greyo is alarmed to see the amount of cocaine that Terry has ordered and thinks they are going to struggle to sell it, but Terry has big ideas. Another major player in Swansea is Bryn Cartwright (William Thomas), a local businessman who thinks he’s the big man in town.

When Fatty falls off a roof and breaks his leg whilst doing a job for Bryn the Twins think their father should have some compensation. They appeal to Bryn on their father’s behalf and are told, ‘take your sticky sticky and fuck off back to noddy land’. The Twins are not happy. Their revenge is swift and when the Cartwright’s family dog is found beheaded Bryn wants to send the Twins a message. In cahoots with Terry on the drug deal he asks him a favor – an eye for an eye, a dog for a dog. Terry’s bright idea to plant the Cartwright’s dog collar in Cantona’s dog house and then set to fire to it goes catastrophically wrong. The caravans catch fire and the Twins parents and sister are incinerated in the blaze. Now the Twins mean business.

As Bryn and Terry conspire to keep their actions quiet Greyo is seeking to find the murderer of the Lewis family. As Greyo thinks he’s close to finding the Lewis’ murderer Terry and Bryn blackmail him into stopping his investigations. They remind him his prints are all over the cocaine. However, when Greyo meets with Bryn’s wife, Bonnie, and she admits her suspicions of Bryn and that her and her daughter, Lucy, need to get away Greyo knows he has to do the right thing.

As family and friends gather outside the church to say farewell to the Lewis family the car carrying Fatty’s body goes missing. The Twins begin to hatch their final plan. Bryn is gagged and tied to the motorized garage door with a noose around his neck as the Twins steal his boat. When Greyo and Bonnie arrive at the Cartwright’s house, ‘the Ponda Rosa’, to pack her bags the garage door gets stuck. Greyo clambers into the garage to find Bryn hung.

On Swansea pier Fatty’s male voice choir start to converge. On Bryn’s boat the Twins have Terry tied to Fatty’s coffin and they push it off the boat as the male voice choir begins to sing. Terry’s body sinks with Fatty’s coffin and the Twins salute their father as they fulfill his wishes – to be buried at sea. With their vengeance fulfilled the Twins sail off into the night with dreams of Morocco and finding the source of their marijuana.

The comical Twins are fantastic characters with no redeeming features apart from their will to fulfill their father’s wish and seek vengeance for their losses. Terry and Greyo are absolutely clueless and Bryn is a small time idiot, but believes he is above the law. An array of other characters add amusement to the dark, yet comical story. Bryn’s daughter; who is sleeping with Dai the karaoke king, gets pissed on by the Twins whilst singing in a karaoke contest. Emrys; whilst walking his dog, buys a hotdog filled with magic mushrooms and marijuana off the Twins. Later he is seen cuddling a sheep in a field with his trousers around his ankles. Some hilarious Welsh dialogue including Dai’s – ‘as they say in Llandow, chow for now’ will keep you chuckling before the film takes a dark turn.

Twin Town is a fantastic little film of small time people trying to enhance their own lives in whatever ways are available to them. Every character is outrageously surreal, yet totally believable as they all try to enhance their own lives. Some deal drugs, some rob cars and others want to travel the world singing karaoke. The one thing they all have in common is that they all want more than what Swansea has offered them so far. Twin Town won’t be remembered as an art-house classic or a British blockbuster, but it will be remembered for it’s comical characters, fantastic dialogue and clever story. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but if you think ordinary life is not so ordinary and find regular people hilarious then you could do a lot worse with two hours of your time than watch Twin Town.


Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

1997 Movie Review: TOMORROW NEVER DIES, 1997

Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

Movie Reviews

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Starring Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher,Joe Don Baker and Judi Dench.
Review by Jesse Ryder Hughes


Elliot Carver is a corrupt media baron out to start a war between the United Kingdom and China. China will not let Carver have exclusive media rights in their country. He uses a GPS system to send a British naval ship off course into the South China Sea where his stealth ship sinks the vessel and steals the missiles. He then blows up a Chinese fighter plane sent to investigate making it seem like the plane and the ship attacked each other. Bond is sent in to investigate Carver after Carver leaked the information before anyone else knew about it. The Chinese send in their own spy Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) to investigate as well. Bond and Lin team up to stop Carver from firing the British missiles at Beijing and starting a war between their countries, which is already starting to begin.


Take a look at what’s new today!


Tomorrow never dies is the most action packed Bond film in the series. It sets up the plot quickly and then it is one action set piece after the other. It is well done for the most part. The plot isn’t as complex as Goldeneye with a forced relationship between Elliot Carver’s wife Paris and Bond. The emotion feels forced within the writing as compared to Goldeneye. Other than that it is a fun ride. Michelle Yeoh is great as a Chinese agent with great martial arts, as always from her. The focus on the power of media is interesting and relevant. Carver uses it to his advantage dreaming of a world by his standards. He proves himself to be a powerful dictator and using the media to deliver his message and shape his world. It is interesting to think of the media and how it could be used for the ultimate good in mankind and the ultimate evil.

There are some great stunts involving Bond driving his car from the backseat using a remote control and being chased by a helicopter handcuffed to Wai Lin on a motorcycle. It is good to see a good evil henchman as well. (Stamper, who is scary and is obsessed with taking Bond down). Its good to know that henchmen are still fun and useful in the future.

Tomorrow Never dies may not be as sophisticated as Goldeneye in terms of an all round great Bond film, but it still does the trick and ups the ante with intricate action scenes. It is also in no way cheesy and I didn’t find myself feeling like anything was that far fetched for what it was. I always pop in Tomorrow Never Dies because it is just a fun action movie. By no means great, but a lot of fun. Michelle Yeoh has my vote for toughest Bond girl, doing all her own stunts and helping the action scenes seem more realistic.



Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

1997 Movie Review: TO DIE FOR TANO, 1997

Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

Movie Reviews

Director: Roberta Torre

Cast: Ciccio Guarino, Enzo Paglino, Mimma De Rosalia
Review by Jordan Young


In this murder-mystery parody, Tano (based on the real lifemobster Tano Guarrasi.) is killed and in this Unsolved Mystery meets musical style, we are told of the events that lead up to, and follow his death.


Take a look at what’s new today!


Tano Da Morire is a lot of fun, it feels like it is the Italianequivalent of Tarantino’s and Rodriguez’s grindhouse double feature,with all the satire and absurdity of all the “Naked Gun” movies.

The video quality really threw me off, (it was shot in the early nineties which makes sense) but the filmmaker knew that this was a joke, which makes it bearable. It caught me on several occasions laughing out loud, not merely snickering.

This is completely tongue-in-cheek and the most light-hearted look at the mafia I have ever seen. This film transcends conventional genre as well. It is stylistically similar to the Unsolved Mysteries TV show, with the exception of ludicrous musical numbers laced through out the interviews.

There seems to be one unifying theme during transitional scenes. A very smarmy traditional sounding Italian dance mixed with thestereotypically southern twangy instrument (the mouth harp, or it’s unpolitically correct synonym the Jew’s Harp.) Which is used here as a joke by itself. This might have been done to indicate that they were all showcased as “townies” (with all of the negative implications of that term) in the film.

In previous reviews I have written, I have praised the amateur actors that have been used in the films of De Sica, and Herzog, and this film has the same aspects. It appears like this was just shot a village and everyone involved in this film was a native. (This is very similar to Troll 2, which has equally hilarious results.) However, this is nowhere similar to the tone of the two aforementioned directors. It is in fact directly contrasting the tragic aspects and making them hilarious.



Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

1997 Movie Review: TITANIC, 1997

Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

Movie Review

Directed by James Cameron
Starring: Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates
Review by Andrew Rowe


Fictional romantic tale of a rich girl and poor boy who meet on the ill-fated voyage of the ‘unsinkable’ ship.


He spends twenty minutes setting up the story before we are even introduced to the main characters. Atop of that he spends another hour and twenty minutes before introducing us to that big white block of ice that changed Hollywood forever. This is James Cameron’s film. He wrote it, co-edited it, and directed it. He made the film exactly the way he wanted to, and I would not have it any other way.

Cameron uses every single one of the film’s 194 minutes to tell his story. Every shot is there for a reason, and as long as its running time is, there is no point that boredom creeps in. Cameron uses a great storytelling device, which consists of the film opening and closing in a modern setting. Brock Lovett is a treasure hunter looking for the “Heart of the Ocean” in the wreck of the RMS Titanic. Rose DeWitt Bukater, a survivor of the Titanic sees Lovett on television. She contacts him and is sent with her daughter to his boat. There is a drawing of Rose that was found in a safe on the wreck, it’s a nude portrait of Rose wearing the “Heart of the Ocean”. Rose then begins telling her story of her time on the Titanic.

We’re then transported to 1912; Cameron puts his massive budget to good use with beautiful crane shots that mix dazzling special effects with brilliant art design. One shot in particular is when young Rose, played by Kate Winslet exits her car. The camera cranes down over her large brimmed purple hat to reveal the beautiful actress. It’s just one of the many moments Cameron uses filmmaking magic to bring his story to vivid visual life. He makes it well known that this is a film of epic proportions, and we are in for a treat.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack Dawson is introduced as a penniless artist who travels the globe with the clothes on his back. As compared to Rose who is a first-class socialite, Jack won his ticket on the Titanic through a poker game. The two find themselves meeting at the stern of the boat, where Rose is about to commit suicide. Jack talks her down, and their romance begins.

Jack tries to show Rose how to hawk a “loogie” like boys do, and although this scene may seem unnecessary; it’s just a pit stop on the road to their destination of love. Over the course of an hour and twenty minutes we’ve seen Jack and Rose fall in love, and it feels real. Cameron took his time, but because of his patience and gentle pacing, we’ve fallen just as in love with them as they are with eacthother. Teenagers and adult filmgoers alike cannot deny the chemistry between these two; their love is one for the ages.

When the boat does strike the iceberg it’s not an immediate threat, it’s a casual impending doom. Water slowly fills the lower class section of the boat. The women and children in first class begin loading onto lifeboats, knowing they’re leaving behind people that will never see land again. The sense of panic and intensity builds and builds. Cameron has a great ensemble cast he’s been developing the whole film and has a purposeful fate for each of them. When the boat breaks in half and begins sinking it is the greatest car crash you can’t look away from that has ever been caught on film. With little music, Cameron lets the screams of the passengers falling to their death haunt you. Bodies bounce off propellers and other pieces of the boat, women and children wait in their beds as water surrounds them, thousands of lives are ending before our eyes. The images are horrific, and you’ve never been so happy cuddled up on your warm couch.

You could nit pick at some of the script and its dialogue, just as you can the lyrics in best pop songs of our time. That is essentially what Titanic is, an amazingly crafted film that appeals to everyone, because it has something for everyone. It’s bubblegum pop in film form, a romantic tragedy, a disaster film, and the fact that the event is a part of history allows it to resonate even more. It’s such an experience that even after its initial impact, still delivers what it did a decade ago, popcorn chomping bliss on the greatest scale.



1997 Movie Review: SUICIDE KINGS, 1997

Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

Movie Reviews

Directed by Peter O’Fallon
Starring: Christopher Walken, Denis Leary, Jay Mohr, Henry Thomas, Sean Patrick Flanery
Review by Melissa Mendelson 


A group of youngsters kidnap a respected Mafia figure.


REVIEW:The cards are dealt. Aces are high, and Jokers are wild. Play your hand. Check your opponents. The game continues, and you’re on a roll. But moments later, you’re about to take a fall, and you have to make it through the game with only the cards that you hold. And the wheel of fate spins, and where it stops nobody knows. And you play, hoping your bluff isn’t called, but the game has reached its end.

You think you know life, but never doubt its poker face. The best of friends may have the worst intentions, and your worst enemy may turn into your savior. And if you fold all the time, you may become a puppet on a string, but if you bluff too many times, well, a spade will be called a spade. And Life continues to deal out the cards that you now hold in your hand, and nothing is what it seems. So, do you fold once more, or do you bluff, hoping nobody will see through your façade? And will you be ready for the next turn of events?

What are Suicide Kings? Are they men united, tin soldiers ready to fight for what they believe in? Are they pawns in the hands of another, paper dolls walking a thin wire? Do they know the company that they keep, and do they play their game? And if they must sacrifice to save a life, does that make them a Suicide King?

The game begins, and the enemy captured sets the plan into action. The stakes are high, and the dice is rolled. And a web of lies and betrayal hangs overhead, and the tension is digging in deep. And the life to save is the fuel marching those forward into a deadly, intricate plot, and life deals out another hand. And fate waits its turn to play.

In the movie, Suicide Kings, a close knit of friends risks all in a high stakes game to save a life. Drifting across a razor’s edge, they focus on their plan and the players, and their plot begins to unfold. And everything seems to go smoothly, but despite the cards that they hold in their hand, their captive may have a few aces up his own sleeve. And he is ready to raise the bar and push them to their limits, and their bluffs will be called. And when the dust settles, all bets are off.

The story of love is never-ending, and a love like Romeo and Juliet’s echoes deep within this dark tale. Would you risk all to be with the one you love? Would you lay your life on the line to save theirs? Loyalties are put to the test, confrontations fierce, and the bonds of friendship will be played against the games of the heart. But in the end, does love win, or will it destroy?

Suicide Kings is a rich cinematic treasure reflecting movies such as The Game, Usual Suspects, Unknown, and L.A. Confidential. Suspense and drama intensify the storyline, and the intensity continues to rise straight toward an ending that you will never see coming. A blend of talent and charisma from dedicated actors ignites the characters to life. The bonds of friendship are put to the ultimate test, and the act of betrayal is delivered as sharp as razor’s edge. And from the beginning to the end, we are held captive, taking a walk “on the dark side of the moon,” and watching as the cards fall. And Aces are high, Jokers dance, and Suicide Kings are wild.This film won Best Director and Best Cinematography, and was nominated for five other categories. The screenwriter was nominated, and rightly so. Taken from a short story that first appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1933 by Maurice Walsh, Green Rushes, Frank Nugent was able to weave a story rich in subtext and conflict.

The collector’s edition of the DVD includes an interview with Maureen O’Hara where she reminisces about filming The Quiet Man, and is well worth watching.