The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 17, 1996-9
Rooms' fails fans four times over
Daily Arts Writer
,Movies that consist of several unre-
lated,., yet intertwined stories are cer-
tainly not rare. "Four Rooms," unlike
many of these films, uses a different
director for each of its four segments.
Yet, despite this uniqueness, the com-
y suffers, not because of its clash of
fering styles, but rather because of
its lack of personality.
The Flm consists of four vignettes
all of which involve Ted the Bellhop
(Tim Roth). Ted begins his first day on
the job at the Mon Signor Hotel, an
elegant inn that was once frequented by
numerous film stars. And because it's
New Year's Eve, Ted is promised a
night that might add some spice to his
The first segment, titled "The Miss-
ing Ingredient," features, among oth-
ers, Madonna, Valeria Golino and lone
Skye as witches who try to resurrect
Diana, the goddess of this coven. The
one final ingredient these witches need
in their potion must come from a male.
And who's the only male around? Ted,
of course! It is up to Eva (Skye) to
seduce the bellhop in order to procure
the necessary item.
0 Directed by Allison Anders, the
-first story sets the tone for the rest of
the sub-standard movie. Still, how-
ever, it is unable to successfully por-
tray the intention of the filmmakers.
Robert Rodriguez and
It comes off as dull and contrived,
instead of fresh and intoxicating.
Moreover, none of the stars seem par-
ticularly interested in their parts.
Rather, the emotion evoked by their
characters seems insincere.
In the second vignette, "The Wrong
Man," directed by Alexandre Rockwell,
Ted delivers ice to a room. Behind the
doors of this room, a man named
Siegfried (David Proval) is holding a
gun to the head of his wife, Angela
(Jennifer Beals). Cursed by poor tim-
ing, the bellhop involuntarily becomes
a part of the action.
This segment does have a good
storyline and fine performances from
Proval and Beals, but the nature of the
predicament is revealed at its halfway
point. Consequently, the second half
plays as a joke where the punch line is
known and the events seem rather te-
In the third mini-film, "The Misbe-
haviors," directed by Robert Rodriguez,
Ted is hired by tough-guy Antonio
Banderas to baby-sit his problematic
children, while he and his wife attend a
Even though Banderas is quite en-
tertaining, he does not spendmuch time
on screen. Rather, the majority of this
section focuses on two humorous chil-
dren who drive Ted insane. Unfortu-
nately, despite the amusing perfor-
mances of the children, this vignette is
weighted down by its major flaw - the
The final segment, Quentin
Tarantino's "The Man From Holly-
wood," turns out to be the funniest of
the four stories. Tarantino stars as
Chester Rush, an arrogant, but friendly
actor who asks Ted to bring some odd
items to his suite. While the bellhop is
in the star's room, he is requested to
take part in an unusual bet taken from
an episode of "Alfred Hithcock Pre-
The strength of "The Man From
Hollywood" is Tarantino's remarkably
sincere portrayal of the egotistical
Chester. The director's trademark sharp
dialogue turns out to be rather flat.
However, his own acting makes up for
it. Unfortunately, as with the other vi-
gnettes, any strong aspects are over-
shadowed by the overall weakness of
Antonio Banderas, Tamlyn Tomita and their little cherubs get decked out In their Sunday best in "Four Iooms."
the story. Although Tarantino's seg-
ment is the most effective one (which is
not saying much), it still suffers from a
lack of comic sting.
Simply stated, "Four Rooms" is an
interesting idea that just does not work.
The film is not helped by the over-
exaggerated, almost annoying perfor-
mance of its lead actor, Tim Roth. And
like its feature character, the movie
tries to be too cute and funny all at the
Unfortunately, even a unique style
cannot bring success to a movie that
ultimately had four chances to improve.
g7 Pollack's 'Sabrina' remake falls short of expectations
By Christopher Corbett
Daily Arts Writer
Sabrina, a chauffeur's daughter,
watches her wealthy employers' party
in the courtyard below. She's perched
in a tree, on the outside looking in. The
scene becomes a metaphor for the film
itself, since "Sabrina" claims all that
matters is what's on the inside. How
ironic. In "Sabrina," director Sydney
Pollack skims the surface of his charac-
ters, afraid to take a dip.
Julia Ormond, as Sabrina, does what
she can with her character- a princess
on the inside who looks like a toadess
from the outside. She's got a thang for
David Larrabee (Greg Kinnear), who
dances and boozes-it-up with shapely
women at his parties (upon which it
"never rains") before sweeping them
into the darkened solarium. Sabrina
sulks alone on her bed and grinds her
teeth. We think with a frown: "Awww!"
We see she's hurting, and we start to
care for her.
The film, though, wastes the chance
to dig deeper. Pollack cheats. Sabrina
runs to Paris to find herself, during
Directed by Sydney
Pollack; with Harrison
Ford and Julia Ormond
At Briarwood and Showcase
which time she remains bow-wow.
But when she arrives back on Long
Island, ALAKAZAM! She's ditched
her glasses and most of her mop-hair
and has her head to the side and her
hands on her hips, saying, "You betta'
work!" She looks fine (or, in her case,
Time out! When did this happen?
Her change feels as genuine as if she
stepped into a phone booth.
She catches David's eye, and her
hopes rise: The pair of them appear
headed for the darkened solarium. They
never make it. Linus (Harrison Ford)
pushes his brother out of the way be-
cause David must marry someone else
to ensure a lucrative business deal. Yet
he only reveals - about why he has
become as hardened, heartless and pol-
ished as the Larrabee plaques on their
skyscraper- that his father busted his
butt, and so did his father's father, etc.
Uhh, David: You could be a little more
specific about why you try to ruin
everyone's life, yours -included.
This time covered in bow ties,
Harrison Ford pleases us once again.
To reel Sabrina in, away from David,
his character claims he's "Lonely Linus
Larrabee," and that he's depressed.
Later, he looks farfrom depressed when
a man takes a snapshot of him and
Sabrina on their bikes.
But why does he smile? Klingon or
human? Dark Side or Good? We can't
wish for Linus to change and find hap-
piness if we don't know what would
make him happy. Well, OK, Ormond's
Sabrina sitting on the sand next to him
in that deserted cinematic location -
Sexville - should make him happy,
but what else?
Kinnear holds his own against his
co-stars. For his first film role (he's
hosted two talk shows), he proves his
ability to make us laugh. When he
grins, raises an eyebrow or offers up a
vacant stare, he lets us know David's,
body is on 'PLAY' but his mind is on
'PAUSE' - the air-headed nasty-
boy thinks of women as nameless and
numerous as champagne bottles on
ice (he reaches out, half-looking, and
just snatches one).
Kinnear seems to be pointing to him-
self and saying to us, "Silly rabbit! You
thought I was going to look like Twinkie
the Kid acting next to Harrison Ford
and Julia Ormond, didn't you? Hah!
Hah!" Kinnear is surely not the weak
link in "Sabrina."
Imagine the potential here: Pollack
could have done so much more with
these three appealing, funny, capable
actors than the mild effort he put into
"Sabrina." The three, with their charm,
rescue what could have been a dismal
film and made it decent. But do we care
who gets with whom in the end? Do we
feel the tension? Might we feel a re-
lease? The film becomes as light as
cotton candy: Sweet, but sticky and not
Come on, Harrison, buddy. Turn that frown upside-down.
Continued from Page 5
the best that "Dracula: Dead and Lov-
, g It" has to offer. As tired as some of
latter-day vaudevillian schtick is,
no one can ham it up as well as Mel
Brooks. His Van Helsing is spirited,
histrionic and a sheer delight.
It is in his other capacities as co-
writer and director that Brooks falls
short. Brooks previously ventured into
the territory of horror film spoofs with
"Young Frankenstein." But, ulike in
that film, there is a decided lack of
1 emistry among the actors in
Another problem is Brooks' reliance,
in the current movie, on gimmicky spe-
cial effects rather than a sharp script.
These indulgent effects indicate a pau-
city of ideas for comic dialogue and
farcical situations. Another foible is
Brooks' fallacious notion that a comic
idea that worked once will work again,
again, and ... again. This "beat-a-dead-
horse" school ofcomedy wears on one's
It would appear that Brooks hopes to
have another "Young Frankenstein" on
his hands. Superficially, there is much
in common, including Brooks' atten-
tion to visual detail.
While Francis Ford Coppola's ver-
sion represented a temporary, though
triumphant comeback, Brooks's
movie is merely one more loop in a
downward spiral. "Dracula: Dead and
Loving It" is a turkey to place at the
back of the shelf with "Life Stinks"
and "Robin Hood: Men in Tights."
Not long ago. Chris was down to 40 lbs.
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Chris loves being able to feel good most of
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It's patients like Ciis who make the years in
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Think about your future. Think Memorial.
Chris Busey, a Memorial Children's Hospital patient.