Video Picks Archive
This week my picks are Cookie's Fortune (1999 - ) and A Face in the Crowd (1957 - ).
The first film is the latest from Robert Altman, again filled with a cast of many big stars. Cookie (Patricia Neal), an elderly widow, kills herself with one of her husband's guns. Her nieces (Glenn Close and Julianne Moore) find her and try to make it look like a murder, so the family wouldn't be disgraced by a suicide. The police arrest Cookie's best friend (Charles S. Dutton) because his prints are on the gun and the gun case from cleaning them the night before. Now the small police force must investigate the crime. Altman delivers his best film since The Player by managing to keep the plot simple and engaging (even if the film goes on too long). Winner of the "Prize of the Guild of German Art House Cinemas" at the Berlin Film Festival (whatever that's supposed to be) and is a likely Oscar contender.
Patricia Neal has had a long and distinguished career in film, and one of her best works was the second film, directed by the great Elia Kazan. Andy Griffith makes his film debut as "Lonesome" Rhodes, a Will Rogers-type that gets plucked from obscurity and is given his own national TV show. The once simple man becomes an arrogant, shallow monster while he is becoming famous for being a good-natured personality. Neal plays the woman who brings him to the top and eventually loses control of his ego. It was also a debut for Lee Remick and a very early work of Walter Matthau. This is a film with tremendous energy and a biting wit, and shouldn't be overlooked in the shadows of On the Waterfront and East of Eden.
For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database:
Cookie's Fortune (1999)
A Face in the Crowd (1957)
Guide to Star Ratings
Capsule Reviews © 1999 Matt Heffernan