The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 14, 1997, Page 9, Image 9

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    ‘Anaconda’ follows familiar plot
Doctor, film crew find themselves fleeing 40-foot corpse-crusher
By Gerry Beltz
Film Critic
“Anaconda.” It wraps around you, squeezes
you until you hear your bones break, then swal
lows you whole. (Kind of like your Aunt Lily
at Thanksgiving, except an anaconda doesn’t
smell like perfume from the 14-Price Store.)
“Anaconda” is another in a long line of “gi
ant, unstoppable killing thing” movies made
popular by great flicks like “Jaws” and
“Aliens.” In fact, the slogan of “Anaconda” —
“If you can’t breathe, you can’t scream”—is a
blatant rip-off from “Alien.”
Director Luis Lloma (“Sniper”) manages to
piece together a halfway interesting fright film
with a plot that has seen more use than Heidi
Fleiss’ phone number on New Year’s Eve.
Dr. Steven Cale (Eric Stoltz) is traveling
with a film-and-sound crew down a South Af
rican river, making a documentary on a search
for a mystical tribe. This is a big break for di
rector Terri (Jennifer Lopez, “Selena”) and
cameraman Danny (Ice Cube).
Along with potential victims... I mean, the
rest of the documentary crew, they rescue Paul
Sarone (Jon Voight, “Rosewood”), who seems
to be very at home in the jungle.
After rescuing Cale from a potentially le
thal wasp bite, Sarone manipulates the crew
into taking a different route back, ostensibly
for medical help. But Cale is after bigger game:
a 40-foot anaconda snake. He wants to capture
it alive, and won’t let anyone get in his way, at
any price.
Ooooh, the tension. You could cut it with a
Voight takes his role as the slimy snake
hunter well, and like his prey, gradually sheds
his outer skin to reveal his true self. Unfortu
-file Facts
Rim: *Anaconda'
Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Jon Voight,
ice Cube, Eric Stoitz
Director: Luis Lioma
Rating: PG-1 3 (Language, Violence)
Grade: C+
Five Words: Snake flick squeezes
out scares
nately, he is capable of only two facial expres
sions in this film: “horrific surprise” and a
“forced-smile-after-eating-bad-yams” glare.
His “Paraguayan” accent was a bit overdone,
also. (However, as I have never been to Para
guay, and to the best of my knowledge, don’t
know anyone from Paraguay, I could be wrong.)
Lopez and Ice Cube both deliver decent per
formances. But by film’s end, Lopez is just an
other screaming, thrashing victim, while Cube
wants the snake dead so he can move on to his
next film.
Former MTV game show hostess Kari
Wuhrer also shows up as part of the documen
tary crew, but has the life expectancy of one of
Captain Kirk’s girlfriends.
The real star of “Anaconda” is the snake
itself, brought to life through Animatronics and
computer-generation. Realism kind of takes a
left turn here, and some of it is too fake to be
really scary, but it still comes out quite menac
ing for the most part.
The jumps are real. The scares are real.
Don’t be surprised to find yourself wringing
your hands together.
.Still standard fright stuff, “Anaconda” is
worth a squeeze or two.
marked by
uneven cast
Theater Critic
The cast of “Six Degrees of Separation”
weaved their characters of different ages,
class and backgrounds together, proving that
everyone is linked by a few common threads.
The play, presented Saturday by the UNL
theater department in the Howell Theatre,
revolves around a young con artist named
Paul. Paul invites himself into the lives of
various families, claiming to know their chil
dren at college.
Ashley Hassler was the epitome of so
phistication in her role as Ouisa Kittredge.
‘ Her resonant voice and stately posture pro
vided an aura of class and style. But she was
still able to portray the inner fire and pas
sion of Ouisa through her gleaming eyes and
wishful hands.
unc Harrell complimented Hassier wen
in his role as Flan Kittredge. His delivery
and tone also radiated class and wealth, but
Harrell seemed to forget that his character
was more than just a voice. His gestures were
sporadic and often nonexistent for half of a
John Ziegler’s performance as Geoffrey
was flat. His accent seemed vague, he pro
lacked the grace-^^charm ile&tl^to pull
off some of the more comic moments.
Mitchell Strong did an excellent job por
traying the childishness of Paul, but faltered
on this character’s other dimensions. He*
missed Paul’s inner turmoil and motivation
and lacked the charm needed to make the
audience believe these people would invite
him into their homes.
Heather Currie and Jeff Luby gave won
derful performances as Kitty and Larkin.
Please see SEPARATION on 10
Crosse Pointed shoots a winner
By Jeff Randall
Film Critic
After the unexpected and immediate suc
cess of “Pulp Fiction” in 1994, a slew of pre
tender films spawned by the Tarantino genera
tion have emerged in the American film mar
“Grosse Pointe Blank” is one of those films.
John Cusack—an actor who has made his
career with offbeat roles — stars as Martin
Blank, a professional killer who is at somewhat
of a crossroads in life.
He is fast approaching the age of 30, he is
losing his zeal for assassination and he has just
received word that his 10-year high school re
union is coming up.
After a brief consultation with his terrified
psychiatrist (played with the usual comic ap
prehension by Alan Arkin), Blank decides to
return to his hometown of Grosse Pointe. While
there, he plans to reunite with the prom date
he stood up, visit his old house and kill a guy.
To further the plot, nearly every one of these
plans goes awry — his prom date (Minnie
Driver) is still holding a grudge, his house has
been turned into a convenience store and a ri
val hit man (Dan Aykroyd) is in tow with a
pair of government agents who plan to kill
As expected in a comedy, a series of hilari
ous scenes follows as Blank maneuvers his way
through his old stamping grounds, all the while
debating whether he should tell his old acquain
tances what he really does for a living.
As expected in a film about a hit man, a
few fight scenes are scattered throughout the
-Hie Facts
Film: "Grosse Pointe Blank"
Stars: John Cusack, Minnie Driver,
Dan Aykroyd
Director: George Armitage
Rating: R (Language, Violence)
Grade: A
Five Words: "Grosse Pointe"hits
its mark
Cusack is excellent in his portrayal of a man
whose lack of morals makes his job easy but
his personal life a real challenge.
Driver is equally impressive as the rock
lovin’ rich girl who is tom between her attrac
tion to Cusack’s character and the 10 years of
anger she has accumulated since he stood her
up mi prom night.
Aykroyd’s hit man character is typical post
’’Saturday Night live” fare for the one-time
Blues Brother. His role is kept to a near mini
mum, but his scenes with Cusack are among
the funniest moments in the film.
Ultimately, “Grosse Pointe Blank” is—like
“Pulp Fiction” before it — a comedy that
doesn’t try too hard, a gangster film that doesn’t
act too cool and a love story that doesn’t get
too sentimental (well, maybe “Pulp Fiction” was
a little short on the love story part).
In short, “Grosse Pointe Blank” is one of
the year’s best films and is definitely worth a
Photo coukiesy of Houxwood Pictures
JOHN CUSACK stars as Marthi Bleak, a prefessleaal killer whe atteatfs Ms 10-year M9I1 scheel
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