1997-98 Arts Preview

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Diamonds, rubies and ordinary rocks star at area's new Mine Gallery.

A memorial to the commander of the Civil War's Massachusetts 54th Regiment comes to town.

A profile of America's most successful playwright as he prepares "Proposals" for a pre-Broadway run

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Sunday, September 7, 1997

Opening dates are subject to change.


12-"The Game," a kinky psycho-thriller, stars Michael Douglas as a San Francisco businessman and Sean Penn as his bad-news brother. "Seven's" David Fincher directs.

12-"Sunday," Jonathan Nossiter's complex tale, turns on the chance meeting between a downsized accountant (David Suchet) living in a men's shelter and an English actress (Lisa Harrow) with an estranged husband, an adopted daughter and no work.

12 -"Soul in the Hole" documents pick-up basketball in Brooklyn, New York.

12-"Alive and Kicking," a romance set in the British dance world, follows the mismatched courtship of Jason Flemying ("Hollow Reed") and Antony Sher ("Mrs. Brown"). The film also touches on the devastation of AIDS in the arts community.

19-"L.A. Confidential," a film noir with Kim Basinger as a hooker, Kevin Spacey as a gumshoe, and Australian up-and-comers Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce as rival cops, surveys police corruption '50s style. Won critical kudos in Cannes.

19-"A Thousand Acres," adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, stars Jason Robards as an Iowa farmer who decides to divide his land among his three daughters (Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jennifer Jason Leigh). Director Jocelyn Moorhouse calls it "'King Lear' in the cornfields."

19-"Four Little Girls," Spike Lee's documentary, chronicles the 1963 bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church. Lee interviews Coretta Scott King, Walter Cronkite and the families of the four young victims.

19-"In & Out," a comedy of sexual crisis directed by Frank Oz, stars Kevin Kline as a small-town English teacher who is "outed" on national TV by a former student (Matt Dillon) in an Oscar speech. Trouble is, he isn't gay or is he?

19-"Wishmaster," a horror anthology from Wes Craven.

26-"The End of Violence," Wim Wenders's artsy meditation on exploitation movies, centers on a chain of mysterious and violent events. Bill Pullman, Andie MacDowell and Gabriel Byrne portray a Hollywood producer, his ex-wife and a surveillance expert.

26-"Intimate Relations," a tawdry dark comedy from England, stars Julie Walters as a dowdy housewife who falls for her dim bulb of a house guest (Rupert Graves).

26-"Soul Food," a warmhearted drama, stars Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox and Nia Long as sisters who try to keep their extended family together after their mother's death.

26-"The Peacemaker," a high-tech thriller, stars George Clooney as a military intelligence officer and Nicole Kidman as a nuclear scientist who uncover a terrorist plot to sneak warheads out of Russia.

26-"The Edge," a wilderness adventure cum love triangle, depicts the conflict between a brainy billionaire (Anthony Hopkins) and a fashion photographer (Alec Baldwin), both of whom want the same woman (Elle Macpherson).

26-"The Locusts," a dark and sultry tale with Kate Capshaw, Ashley Judd and Vince Vaughn, concerns a mysterious drifter's effect on a small Kansas town circa 1960. Contains bull castration.

26-"Talk of Angels," a romantic drama set in Spain during the civil war, follows the adventures of an English nanny (Polly Walker), who falls in love with her employer (Vincent Perez) and befriends an Irish ex-patriot (Frances McDormand).

26-"Kicked in the Head" is a black comedy about a 25-year-old New Yorker (Kevin Corrigan) who loses his job, his girl and his apartment. Then he meets a flight attendant (Linda Florentino) who just might make it all better.


3-"The Matchmaker," a romantic comedy with Janeane Garofalo, follows a jaded campaign whiz to Ireland, where she hopes to prove her candidate's family ties to the Kennedy clan. Alas, her search is complicated by a pesky matchmaker.

3-"Going All the Way," set in Indianapolis in 1954, stars Jeremy Davies ("Spanking the Monkey") and Ben Affleck ("Chasing Amy") as buddies just back from the Korean War.

3-"Washington Square," an adaptation of the Henry James novel, stars Jennifer Jason Leigh and Ben Chaplin. Agnieszka Holland of "Europa, Europa" directs.

3-"An American Werewolf in Paris," starring Tom Everett Scott and Julie Delphy, catches up with the lycanthropic legend 16 years after his hairy debut in London.

3-"Deep Rising," an action thriller with Treat Williams, takes place aboard a luxury liner that is hijacked and terrorized by a lethal force from the bottom of the South China Sea.

3-"Kiss the Girls," a thriller based on James Patterson's novel, features Morgan Freeman as a D.C. detective in search of a serial collector, who adds Morgan's niece to his stock of kidnapped lovelies.

3-"The Gingerbread Man," a drama written by John Grisham and directed by Robert Altman, gives Kenneth Branagh a chance to try out his drawl as a Savannah lawyer who saves a blue-collar tart (Embeth Davidtz) from her unstable papa (Robert Duvall).

3-"U-Turn," Oliver Stone's neo-noir film, stars Sean Penn as a gambler who has already lost his shirt and two fingers when he runs into worse luck on the way to Vegas. Jennifer Lopez and Claire Danes offer commiseration.

8-"Seven Years in Tibet," a Himalayan adventure starring Brad Pitt, is drawn from the memoirs of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountaineer and friend of the Dalai Lama whose ties to the Nazis were recently confirmed. Alternate title: "Heil Dalai!"

10-"Gang Related," an urban action drama, features Tupac Shakur in his final film role, as a police detective with a drug business on the side. Jim Belushi is his partner on the force and in crime.

10-"Napoleon," a heartwarming puppy-dog tale, follows the escapades of a golden retriever who crosses the Australian outback to get back home.

10-"Critical Care," Sidney Lumet's dark comedy about the health care system, stars James Spader as a doctor stuck with insurance problems and Albert Brooks's drunken hospital chairman.

10-"Most Wanted," an action adventure with Keenen Ivory Wayans, pits the Army sergeant against corrupt superiors who have involved him in a deadly conspiracy.

10-"Rocket Man," with Harland Williams as an inept astronaut, promises fun for the whole family when he and a chimp, Ulysses, take off for Mars.

10-"Boogie Nights," starring Marky Mark Wahlberg, explores the world of 1970s pornography.

17-"House of Yes," a psychological comedy about a wacky Washington family, takes place at Thanksgiving during a hurricane. And you didn't think we had hurricanes in these here parts?

17-"Devil's Advocate," a modern-day Faustian fable with Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino, focuses on a young Southern attorney's cosmic struggle with his brilliant Big Apple mentor.

17-"The Ice Storm," Ang Lee's dour spoof of the suburban species, stars Kevin Kline, Joan Allen and Sigourney Weaver.

17-"I Know What You Did Last Summer," a horror flick from "Scream" writer Kevin Williamson, focuses on four teens who kill someone in a hit-and-run and try to keep it a secret.

17-"Playing God," the tale of a drug-addicted surgeon's adventures in back-alley medicine, stars David Duchovny as the defrocked doc and Timothy Hutton as his underworld patron.

24-"Wide Awake," a coming-of-age story in the tradition of "Stand by Me," stars 10-year-old Joseph Cross as a kid trying to cope with his grandfather's death.

24-"Hurricane Streets," an urban drama about a bighearted kid (Brendan Sexton III), won three awards at last year's Sundance Film Festival.

24-"Chairman of the Board," a jovial approach to big business, stars comedian Carrot Top as an impoverished inventor who inherits a struggling company after a chance meeting with the dying owner.

24-"Fairytale: A True Story," a yarn about two English girls who produce photographs of fairies, thus launching a debate between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Peter O'Toole) and Harry Houdini (Harvey Kietel).

24-"Gattaca," a futuristic space mystery with Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke exploring the consequences of genetic engineering.

24-A Life Less Ordinary," a screwball fantasy from the creators of "Trainspotting," stars Ewan McGregor as a janitor who is replaced by a robot, Cameron Diaz as his boss's daughter and Holly Hunter and Delroy Lindo as angels pretending to be hit persons.

24-"Phantoms," a supernatural thriller based on a Dean Koontz novel, conjures up an ancient force that lay dormant for centuries. And it's plenty cranky.

31-"Incognito," a romantic thriller, stars Jason Patric as an art forger framed for murder.

31-"Switchback," a killer game of cat and mouse, features Dennis Quaid as an FBI agent in search of the serial killer who kidnapped his son. Danny Glover and R. Lee Ermey star.


7-"One Night Stand," a romantic drama starring Wesley Snipes and Nastassja Kinski, is director Mike Figgis's follow-up to "Leaving Las Vegas."

7-"Bean," a feature with PBS's charmingly deranged Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson), brings mayhem to the international art community.

7-"Starship Troopers," a high-tech adaptation of the Robert Heinlein sci-fi classic, pits man against giant insects. Paul Verhoeven of "Showgirls" directs. Wonder if bugs lap-dance?

7-"Eve's Bayou," a low-budget drama about a troubled 10-year-old Louisiana girl, was produced by co-star Samuel L. Jackson.

7-"Mad City," a drama directed by Costa-Gavras, condemns a TV reporter (Dustin Hoffman) for escalating a hostage crisis precipitated by the firing of a museum guard (John Travolta).

7-"The Wings of the Dove," an adaptation of the Henry James love triangle, finds Alison Elliot and Helena Bonham Carter's rich girls vying for the affections of Linus Roache's journalist.

14-"The Jackal," a cat-and-mouse tale inspired by 1973's "The Day of the Jackal," features Bruce Willis as a ruthless assassin, Sidney Poitier as the FBI's deputy director and Richard Gere as an IRA operative.

14-"The Truman Show," a dramatic fantasy directed by Peter Weir, showcases the serious side of Jim Carrey as the unwitting star of a 24-hour TV soap opera.

14-"Welcome to Sarajevo," a cinema verite set in the war-ravaged Balkan city, tracks a Brit's transformation from journalist to activist.

14-"The Little Mermaid," based on the classic fairy tale, re-releases.

14-"The Man Who Knew Too Little," a British caper, casts Bill Murray as a boob who unwittingly foils some crooks.

21-"Oscar & Lucinda," Gillian Armstrong's adaptation of Peter Carey's 1988 Booker Prize winner, pairs Ralph Fiennes's priest with Cate Blanchett's heiress.

21-"Sliding Doors," a comic fantasy about a couple who meet in the London tube, teams Gwyneth Paltrow with John Hannah (the guy who read the poem in "Four Weddings & a Funeral").

21-"Anastasia," an animated musical with the voices of Meg Ryan and John Cusack, has been very loosely adapted from the 1956 drama that starred Ingrid Bergman.

21-"Liar," a psychological thriller about the slippery nature of truth, stars Tim Roth as a Charleston blueblood suspected of murdering a prostitute (Renee Zellweger).

21-"The Rainmaker," Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of John Grisham's novel, chronicles the legal battle between a naive lawyer (Matt Damon) and an evil insurance conglomerate. Gonzo cast includes Claire Danes, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Virginia Madsen, Mickey Rourke, Teresa Wright and Jon Voight.

21-"Mortal Kombat: Annihilation," the sequel to the original action adventure, pits a group of heroes against an unscrupulous warlord.

26-"Alien Resurrection" stars Sigourney Weaver as a clone of Warrant Officer Ripley and Winona Ryder as her sidekick; it features a new, slimier monster as well as a new director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet of the French fable "City of Lost Children."

26-"Red Corner," described as a Chinese "Midnight Express," stars Richard Gere and Chinese actress Bai Ling.

26-"Flubber," an update of 1961's "The Absent Minded Professor," starring Robin Williams and Marcia Gay Harden.


5-"Bent" brings to the screen the powerful Broadway play about persecution of homosexuals by the Nazis, with the great Ian McKellen in one role and no less than Mick Jagger in another.

5-"Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" comes this way courtesy of Clint Eastwood and your first thought: Was this a good idea? Then you learn that there's room in Eastwood's version of John Berendt's great book for a part to be played by Clint Eastwood's daughter, but no room for a character based on Berendt. Perhaps it is too early to judge how this factual tale of murder among the flamboyant of Savannah, Ga.'s, netherworld will turn out. But perhaps it's not. Kevin Spacey, John Cusack and the Lady Chablis star.

12-"Scream 2," the inevitable sequel to last year's surprise hit. Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox are back after all, they were the only survivors and Jada Pinkett and David Arquette have joined the team. Wes Craven, the horror specialist, directs; early word has it set on a college campus.

12-"Sphere," reuniting that fab couple director Barry Levinson and writer Michael Crichton of "Disclosure" fame, follows a scientific expedition to a strange undersea structure. Dustin Hoffman leads the pointy-heads, and Sharon Stone and Samuel Jackson are among them.

12-"For Richer or Poorer" finds Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley hiding from the IRS by pretending to be Amish. In other words, it's "Witness" with tax lawyers.

12-"The Mighty" features a dowdy, down-home Sharon Stone (competing against herself in "Sphere") as the mother of a sick little boy (Kieran Culkin) who is befriended by an ex-biker chick ("The X-Files's" Gillian Anderson).

12-"Amistad" is Steven Spielberg's new film, following the course of a bloody mutiny on a slave ship in 1839, and the American law case that followed. That's the good news. Here's the bad news: Matthew McConaughey plays the slaves' defense lawyer. But the rest of the cast looks brilliant, including Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins, Nigel Hawthorne and newcomer Djimon Hounsou.

19-"Titanic" could prove a more costly disaster than the original. James Cameron never does things halfway, and for this hugely expensive, oft-delayed epic, he built a life-size replica of the thing and sank it in a real big tank. But even if he loved the realism, he didn't trust it, and cooked up a fictional story involving a love triangle among Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Billy Zane.

19-"Tomorrow Never Dies" gives Pierce Brosnan another shot at the OO7 franchise he first tried out in "Goldeneye." The director, Roger Spottiswoode, once made the pretty good "Under Fire." But the big news is the Chinese dynamo Michelle Yeoh, a kung-fu fighter of the first order out of the Hong Kong chop-socky school, comes along to help Cmdr. Bond out of those tight spots. She could liven things up in this tale of a mogul (Jonathan Pryce, slumming) trying to start World War III.

19-"Home Alone 3," with 8-year-old Alex D. Linz (Michelle Pfeiffer's son in "One Fine Day") replacing Macaulay Culkin, pits the tyke against computer chip thieves.

19-"The Horse Whisperer," from Nicholas Evans's best-selling book, puts Robert Redford on a horse again and also behind the camera. He plays (and directs himself as) a trainer who supervises the recovery of an injured little girl while beginning a romance with her mother ("The English Patient's" Kristin Scott Thomas).

24-"The Sweet Hereafter," this year's Grand Prix winner at Cannes, focuses on the changes a big-city barrister brings to a small, previously placid community. Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan directs.

25-"The Postman" proves that the post-apocalyptic bug has still got its pincers in Kevin Costner's backside. Like the lamentable "Waterworld," this one is set in the crumbling ruin of a collapsed world. The difference: In this one, there's water, water, nowhere. That's a start. Costner, who also directed, plays a mailman bringing the news from one zone of civilization to another, representing the reestablishment of control. Nasty people try to stop him.

25-"Jackie Brown" celebrates Quentin Tarantino's fascination with the cheesy blaxploitation genre of the mid-'70s, and particularly its queen, that foxy Foxy Brown, Pam Grier. The rest of the cast is mind-blowing: Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson, Bridget Fonda and Michael Keaton. The story's roots, however, lie in Elmore Leonard's novel "Rum Punch." Key question: Three years after "Pulp Fiction," does Tarantino still have it?

25-"Old Friends" yields another at-bat for James L. Brooks, who hit a 'tater with "Terms of Endearment," a solid single with "Broadcast News" and was almost kicked out of the league after "I'll Do Anything." Brooks reunites with Jack Nicholson in a story about a road trip to Baltimore taken by a cranky New York novelist (Nicholson), a waitress (Helen Hunt) and a gay painter (Greg Kinnear).

25-"Good Will Hunting" gives boy-star-of-the-season Matt Damon his second fat role (after "The Rainmaker"). But the big news is . . . Robin Williams: unfunny. Williams plays a shrink who tries to help the brilliant but tortured Damon try to put his life together. Damon wrote it with co-star (and "Chasing Amy" star) Ben Affleck; Gus Van Sant ("My Own Private Idaho" and "To Die For") directed.

25-"Mr. MaGoo" takes another '50s cartoon character and turns him into a movie, but at least Tom Arnold is nowhere in sight. The bumbling, huffing, nearsighted geezer is played by Leslie Nielsen, and the director is Hong Kong actioner Stanley Tong. Kelly Lynch plays a jewel thief.

25-"Mouse Hunt" gives Nathan Lane, of "The Birdcage" and Broadway fame, another shot at stardom. His opponent: a mouse. The mouse tries to prevent Lane and British comedian Lee Evans from renovating a mansion. They get so desperate they even call in Christopher Walken. The director is ad whiz Gore Verbinski.

25-"Deconstructing Harry" is the new Woody Allen effort, in which our schlumpy little hero plays a literary star adored by a young writer (Elizabeth Shue) who ultimately falls for another writer (Billy Crystal). Upper West Side, anyone?

26-"The Big Lebowski" hails from the fabulous Coen brothers of cult fame and mainstream sensation (with "Fargo"). It's full of interesting people like John Turturro, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare (the slothful killer in "Fargo") and even Julianne Moore. Apparently another story of a botched kidnapping, it stars John Goodman and Jeff Bridges.

31-"The Boxer" reteams Daniel Day-Lewis with the director for whom he won an Oscar in "My Left Foot," Jim Sheridan. The movie's a bio of an Irish fighter paroled after 14 years in prison, trying to resume his rough career. Emily Watson (of "Breaking the Waves") co-stars.

31-"Great Expectations" updates Dickens to today's New York with the upscale American cast of Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow as the two lovers, as assisted by the very busy Robert De Niro, Anne Bancroft and Hank Azaria.

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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