Reversal of Fortune

This film was originally written as part of my USA Road Trip series for French Toast Sunday.

Sunny von Bülow (Glenn Close) is in a coma, from which she will never wake. Her husband, the aristocratic European Claus von Bülow (Jeremy Irons) has been charged with her attempted murder, apparently using an insulin overdose, in order to inherit her vast wealth and move on with his life. Claus is released on bail, and hires small time lawyer Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver) to make the case of his appeal plea, despite Dershowitz insistence that Claus is guilty, what with the mountain of evidence piled against him. He is given 45 days to assemble a team and build a case against Claus’ guilt, which proves more difficult than he’d ever thought.
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The Big Chill

Imagine if Diner or St. Elmo’s Fire had a reunion twenty years later, and you’ll be picturing something like this, when a group of friends meet up for a weekend to attend the funeral of one of their number who killed himself. Kevin Costner filmed scenes as the departed Alex before they were cut, but his presence isn’t missed amongst those that remained, including Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Glenn Close, Kevin Kline and Tom Berenger. The weekend reveals that none of them are as happy or settled as they may initially seem, and each character is inhabited totally and wholly; the cast even shared a house together before the shoot, and remained in character throughout it. The soundtrack is also exquisite, featuring the Rolling Stones, Procul Harum, the Beach Boys and Marvin Gaye.

Choose film 8/10

Dangerous Liaisons

John Malkovich: object of desire? Talk about playing against type. As the Vicomte Sebastien de Valmont in 18th Century France, he is challenged by the Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil (Glenn Close) to deflower Uma Thurman’s virginal bride-to-be Cecile. Deeming the task too easy, he instead chooses to bed Michelle Pfeiffer’s Madame de Tourvel, a virtuous, devout, happily married woman staying with the Vicomte’s aunt. The Marquise then drafts in Keanu Reeves’ Danceny to woo Cecile instead. If the plot sounds familiar, it’s because it was adapted more recently (and poorly) in the modern-set Cruel Intentions, which succeeded in dumbing down the many deceits and allegiances in the plot, but retains the deeply unlikable protagonists, too rich for their own good and revelling in destroying the lives of those around them.
More erotic than most period dramas, with necklines set to plunging and cleavages set to stun, this sees more bedhopping than a season of Desperate Housewives. Malkovich is on excellent form as the callous, vain and calculating lothario, deemed “conspicuously charming” and Close walks the line between on/off romance and hardnosed bitch, but every time Keanu opens his mouth you get the feeling Bill and Ted got their time travelling phone booth stuck in the reign of Louis XV, so thick and distracting is the slacker dude lilt he so desperately tries to hide.
Choose life 5/10