October 15, 1995
In the not-too-distant future, a former cop-turned slimy hustler (Ray Fiennes, surprisingly effective) stumbles into a Rodney King-style police murder coverup in the days leading up to The Millenium. In the mid 1990s, a slew of films included "virtual reality" or "cyberspace" elements--The Lawnmower Man, Virtuosity, The Thirteenth Floor and The Matrix spring to mind. Strange Days features a skullcap-mounted video/audio recorder which perfectly captures an individual's experiences: When played back with the same skullcap, you see what they saw. A pretty cool concept, well rendered and included in the film. A great cast, including Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Michael Wincott, Vincent D'Onofrio, Richard Edson, William Fichtner, Josef Sommer, and Nicky Katt. Not a perfect film, but there is lots to recommend it. (Maine Mall Cinema)
October 14, 1995
I remember first learning about this movie from a movie poster. It said NICOLE KIDMAN and TO DIE FOR, and the tagline "All she wanted was a little attention." The combination of the title, the tagline, and the photo (Nicole intensely opening her blouse) made me think the movie would be some kind of sexy black widow thriller, or maybe a Fatal Attraction-style sexy stalker movie. There's plenty of sexual manipulation going on in the movie, but it's really about a crackpot in the woods of New Hampshire who believes she's the next Katie Couric. Kidman uses her sexual wiles to convince three teenagers (Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck, and Alison Folland) to murder her husband (Matt Dillon). An edgy breakout performance from Kidman, who steps out of Tom Cruise's shadow and becomes more than That Australian Actress. Creative (or financial) freedom has allowed her to star in plenty of artistic and critical successes (Portrait of a Lady, Moulin Rouge!, Dogville) and fewer paycheck choices (Batman Forever, Practical Magic, The Peacemaker). There's no explaining her ill-advised attempts at comedy (The Stepford Wives, Bewitched).