Betsy Brantley

Betsy Brantley

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Rogue Trader Review


Very Good
Not a bad biopic about Nick Leeson, the man who singlehandedly brought down one of the world's largest financial institutions through inadvisable securities trading. Recommended for financial gurus and numbers fans.

Schizopolis Review


Good
Hovering somewhere among a botched experiment, a sneaky assault on modern-day life and cinema, and the greatest home movie ever made is Steven Soderbergh's Schizopolis. Made at the tail end of the indie-film part of Soderbergh's career (which started off with Sex, Lies & Videotape in 1989 and provided diminishing returns afterwards), and right before he banged into the mainstream with Out of Sight in 1998, it has a no-holds-barred kind of frustrated genius to it that, even though it doesn't always provide rewarding viewing, is definitely worth a peek.

As far as the "story" can be described, Soderbergh himself (in his only starring role) plays Fletcher Munson, who works for the L. Ron Hubbard-like New Age prophet T. Azimuth Schwitters (Mike Malone). A pale-faced wage slave, Munson haunts his cubicle, doing nothing, and occasionally nipping off to the office bathroom to masturbate and make funny faces in the mirror. Meanwhile, there's some strange goings on involving bug exterminator Elmo Oxygen (David Jensen), who darts about the city in his jumpsuit and goggles, romancing housewives and speaking entirely in seemingly randomly-generated, Rorschach-blot dialogue ("nose army ... throbbing dust generation ... beef diaper"). Then, Soderbergh shows up playing the other major character, dentist Dr. Jeffrey Korchek, who, to be quite honest, isn't nearly as interesting as Munson, who at least gets to write reams of meaningless babble for Schwitters to spout in public. This sideline with Korchek doesn't distract much, though, from Elmo Oxygen's rants, or scenes of office politicking with Munson's co-worker, Nameless Numberhead Man - both hilarious in a Theater of the Absurd sort of way.

Continue reading: Schizopolis Review

Washington Square Review


Very Good
Hardly a lush Merchant-Ivory epic, Jennifer Jason Leigh gets dumbed-down and uglified for her treatment in this adaptation of the Henry James novel, about a poor adventurer (Chaplin) who may or may not be after the wallflower's money. Father (Finney) disapproves, to the point where he hauls her off to Europe for a year. By film's end, dad is as stubborn as ever, which actually helps the two would-be lovers see things a bit more clearly. A great twist on the period piece, despite its maudlin sensibilities.
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