The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, June 23, 1994, Summer, Page 7, Image 7

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Thursday, June 23,1904
Nicholson, Pfeiffer howl in graphic tale of lycanthropy
Big-name stars
deliver in new take
on classic story
Joel Strauch
Staff Reporter_
Easily the best werewolf movie
ever made, “Wolf’ guarantees a
howling good time.
This supernatural talc begins
with mild-mannered Will Randall
(Jack Nicholson) running down a
wolf with his car. Believing the
animal to be dead, he start to drag
it to the side of the road when it
bites him.
Randall gets a rabies shot and
returns to normal life. He finds that
he has been demoted at work and is
too old and insecure to fight with
his boss about it.
Over the next few days, he finds
himself growing stronger both phys
ically and mentally. He uses his
heightened senses and resolve to
reclaim his job, discover that his
wife is cheating on him and begin
anew relationship with Laura Aldcn
(Michelle Pfeiffer), the young and
vivacious daughter of his boss.
But Randall also discovers that
his revivification may be too good
to be true. He speaks to a shaman
who tells him that his blessing is
also a curse that will turn him into
a wolf at the next full moon.
People die, Randall struggles to
hold on to Alden and his humanity,
and the movie ends in a slightly
predictable but still quite fitting
----- * Courtesy of Columbia Pictures
Jack Nicholson (Will Randall) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Laura Alden) star in “Wolf,” in which Nicholson becomes a werewolf.
The film is chock-full of graph
ic scenes, giving it the dark reality
that a supernatural thrillcrdeserves.
Unlike other namby-pamby horror
releases of late (namely “Dracula”),
“Wolf’ captures the essence of the
fear that legends about creatures of
the night used to instill in the com
mon folk.
The acting is superb. James
Spader gives a great performance
as Stewart Swinton, Randall’s rival
for his job and Alden’s affections.
Pfeiffer again shows her acting
strength in her role as a woman who
is attracted by Randall’s animal
magnetism, but not quite ready to
believe his tales of lycanthropy.
Of course, Nicholson is perfect.
A two-time Oscar winner. Jack
plays the part of the man-wolf as if
he had actually undergone the meta
morphosis. Even more convincing
is his ability to show the weaker,
defeated side of Randall before he
gains his wolfish abilities.
The ending is not fantastic, but
it is strong enough to hold together
a truly phcriomcnal horrific thrill
er. If you’re ready for a change, sec
‘Ruby9shows audiences trials, triumphs of growing up
» .1 • • . i j! ... : i.. a. a., D..K..V
M a
“It was a neat story,” the main
character in “Ruby In Paradise” says
of a Jane Austen novel, in response to
her boyfriend’s overanalytical cri
tique. The same can be said of the
“Ruby in Paradise” is a thoughtful,
moody portrait of a young woman
with a mature attitude. Ruby Lee
Gissing leaves home after high school,
moves to northwest Florida where she
gets a job in a gilt snop, oecomcs
involved with a couple of men in
succession and advances her career
after a setback.
The strength of the movie is not in
its relatively uneventful plot, but in
the accurate glimpses it gives us into
the moments of this woman’s life.
It is a growing-up story, showing
the struggle we all face at potentially
any stage of our lives to maintain our
independence even when we are of
fered desperately needed help, and to
fulfill our personal dreams while try
ing to fit into a larger system.
Written and directed by a man,
Victor Nunez, the film accurately
portrays a young woman’s perspec
tive, aided by Ashley Judd’s excellent
periormance. dcsiucs ucmg iditmtu
and intelligent, the younger sister of
Wynonna incidentally shows how
beautiful a Judd woman can be with
out henna and sequins.
The movie also speaks about some
general issues of human nature. The
director gives us some lingering shots
of the gaudy knick-knacks Ruby sells
at the tourist trap where she works.
Then we see her lovingly place a
seashell figurine on a table at her
home, while she talks to a friend about
the rocking chair she has kept as a
memento of her grandfather. People
use objects — no matter how ugly or
pretty—to help them remember peo
ple and places in their lives.
In the scene where Ruby dances at
a club with Ricky, the boss’s homdog
MJII, lilt UllttlUi imiuvou Vtijf
flashforwards to the two of them in
bed, and back to them dancing. This
adds some original i ty and character to
the lame cliche of sex scenes in the
By showing this relationship, the
movie addresses the issue of romance
at work, which in this case eventually
turns into sexual harassment. Ruby is
unfairly fired, and eventually finds
herself doing grunt work in a laundry.
In contrast, the early scenes be
tween Ruby and Mike McCaslin, the
“intellectual, sensitive guy” she meets
at a greenhouse, capture some of the
awkwardness, honesty and pleasure
of dating between two people who
have just met.
There is a mythical element to the
life, which occurs during winter, she
is aided at the laundry by two older,
protective women. One of them is
named Persefina, like the Greek god
dcssof spring, Persephone, who lived
underground during the winter only to
emerge triumphant each spring.
The director then cuts tocclebratory
scenes of spring break, as Ruby’s life
takes a turn for the better.
“Ruby in Paradise’’ is a funny,
thoughtful movie that speaks to expe
riences we all share, in particular to
the experience of young people grow
ing up. It is showing at the Mary
Riepma Ross Film Theater today
through Sunday.
— Jim Cihlar