Nicholas Meyer

Nicholas Meyer

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Elegy Review


Weak
Not every book is meant to be adapted into a movie. Come to think of it, not every author is meant for celluloid success. Philip Roth has won pretty much every major book prize, save for the Nobel, and he's overdue for that. His books masterfully examine the fragile side of the middle-aged male ego, and how sex and family and desire eat away at men's souls. With Updike, Mailer, and Bellow gone, Roth is the messiah of American literature.

There's just one problem: Books like his make crappy movies. Roth said as much to GQ's Andrew Corsello, adding that he hasn't been pleased with any of the adaptations, especially The Human Stain. Roth's take: "Awful! And the same people have American Pastoral."

Continue reading: Elegy Review

Time After Time Review


Good
As ridiculous fantasy movies go, Time After Time has got to be one of the most absurd. Got to be. How else would you explain a film in which Jack the Ripper goes forward in time in H.G. Wells' time machine -- and Wells pursues him in order to apprehend the killer? Yeah, exactly. This cinematic oddity is nonetheless a true guilty pleasure, with Malcolm McDowell (as Wells) discovering the joys of French fries and motorcars as he's transported to modern-day San Francisco in a machine that, unbelievably, accounts for time zones. Mary Steenburgen is awful (declaring on their first date that she's "not a dyke!") as the love interest -- but so awful you can't turn away.

The Human Stain Review


Grim
Miramax makes its initial bid for Oscar gold with The Human Stain, Robert Benton's torpid adaptation of Philip Roth's acclaimed novel about race and sex and lots of other "big" issues such as the price one pays - emotionally, psychologically, professionally - for attempting to flee both the past and one's true self. Yet this lifelessly structured film feels like a puzzle with too many identical parts, each character merely another example of the film's painfully obvious moral lessons. Throw in some ridiculous miscasting and a facile Clinton-Lewinsky scandal backdrop, and what you've got is a film drunk on its own highfalutin melodrama.

Anthony Hopkins is Coleman Silk, a Classics professor at a Massachusetts university, who, because of an alleged racial epithet (he refers to delinquent African-American students as "spooks"), is not only forced into early retirement, but also into unexpected bachelorhood after his wife suddenly drops dead from the news. Coleman is an erudite Jewish man who harbors a great secret about his past, and soon his tortured life has become intertwined with kindred souls. He befriends the reclusive Nathan Zuckerman (Gary Sinise), a novelist who has retired to a remote cabin after a cancer scare has left him petrified of his own mortality. Soon afterwards, he meets a striking post office janitor named Faunia Farley (Nicole Kidman), who, because of a former marriage and a terrible accident, fervently shuns the outside world. Coleman and Faunia strike up a May-December romance, much to the chagrin of both Faunia's loco ex-husband Lester (Ed Harris) and a community whose fascination with Clinton's sexual indiscretions hints at an illogical obsession with political correctness.

Continue reading: The Human Stain Review

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Review


Excellent
This is the one with the whales. That's right. The Romulans and Klingons are put aside for one episode in order to create an enemy from a faraway world, suggesting that humpback whales are not native to earth -- that they're an alien species that communicates with the whales of earth through some unknown method. When the space whales haven't heard from their earthbound pals (we're told they were driven to extinction centuries in the movie's past), they decide to pay a visit. The unintended consequence is the destruction of the power systems of everything in its path.

Solution: The Enterprise crew takes a trip back through time (in the stolen Klingon bird-of-prey from Star Trek III) to the 1980s (conveniently coinciding with the production time fram of the film) in order to snag a couple of whales and repopulate the future.

Continue reading: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Review

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Review


OK
It's a silly gag -- Sherlock Holmes is addicted to cocaine and Watson tricks him into a visit with Sigmund Freud. Mysteries real and imagined ensue, with Siggy analyzing our messed-up hero while he investigates a rather tame kidnapping involving a snoozy Vanessa Redgrave. Only Alan Arkin and Robert Duvall -- both bizarrely cast as Freud and Watson, respectively -- make much of an impression. Still, it's quirky enough to have found a cult audience.

Fatal Attraction Review


Excellent
Finally released on DVD, Fatal Attraction proves itself just as deliciously thrilling as when it was first released in 1987.

Glenn Close's career got its first big boost in 1985's Jagged Edge, but her role as Fatal's Alex Forrest pushed her into stardom. She seems like a nice enough gal at the start -- though her hair could use some work, she's a witty and sexy book editor... just the right kind of gal to lure Michael Douglas's Dan Gallagher (a lawyer... married) into her bed. But Dan's crisis of conscience sends him scurrying home to his family in short order, only for Alex to start obsessing over their "relationship."

Continue reading: Fatal Attraction Review

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Review


Good
The rule of thumb with Star Trek movies continues to be: even-numbered good, odd-numbered bad. The first Star Trek movie was a sub-Kubrickian snore. The third and fifth were marred by gratuitous action and sentimentality, respectively. On the other hand, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was an entertaining swashbuckler highlighted by good performances, Kirstie Alley's debut and James Horner's score. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was a cute riff on the 20th century environmental crisis.

Paramount eventually noticed the pattern. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the sixth mission of the starship Enterprise, was largely the work of director/screenwriter Nicholas Meyer, who wrote Khan, and executive producer Leonard Nimoy (who played Spock, of course), director of Star Trek IV. The sixth movie generally reflects Meyer's and Nimoy's concern for integrity.

Continue reading: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Review

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