Tag Archives: Lopez

Blood and Wine

20 Mar

R: ARCHIVE, S: REVIEWS, D: 02/20/1997, B: Tom Meek,



Sterile ‘sequel’

Rafelson’s Blood & Wine runs thin

by Tom Meek

BLOOD & WINE. Directed by Bob Rafelson. Written by Nick Villiers and Alison Cross, based on a story by Rafelson and Villiers. With Jack Nicholson, Judy Davis, Michael Caine, Stephen Dorff, and Jennifer Lopez. At the Nickelodeon, the Harvard Square, and the Circle and in the suburbs.

Bob Rafelson and Jack Nicholson mesmerized audiences with Five Easy Pieces in 1970; two years later they struck again with the bitter, dark The King of Marvin GardensPieces featured Nicholson as the kind of self-concerned, sardonic antihero that was so prevalent at the time (The GraduateEasy Rider). In Gardens, Rafelson took a chance and cast him as the introverted, intellectual brother opposite Bruce Dern’s pie-in-the-sky shyster — a gonzo role that seemed tailor-made for Nicholson’s on-screen persona. Now, some 25 years later, Rafelson and Nicholson have reunited to conclude an unofficial trilogy that journeys through the veins of dysfunctional bonds.

For all that Blood & Wine is a complex and engaging drama, it feels contrived.Pieces and Gardens flowed naturally; here Rafelson seems to struggle with the standards of ’90 sensationalism. Nicholson’s Alex Gates, a Miami-based wine merchant, is a one-dimensional character: he’s on the brink of financial ruin, his marriage is in shambles, but he continues to indulge in a life beyond his means with a sporty BMW and a sultry mistress.  Continue reading


19 Mar


Disregard the negative buzz: Gigli is woeful but not disastrous. Ben Affleck’s Larry Gigli (“pronounced like really with a G”) is a hit man assigned to kidnap and house-sit the DA’s simpleton brother (Justin Bartha) so the DA won’t proceed against Larry’s mob boss. Larry’s handler (a bug-eyed Lenny Venito) doesn’t trust him, so he sends in gorgeous back-up Ricki (Jennifer Lopez). She’s a lesbian, he’s a wanna-be player, and because the apartment is so small, they have to share a bed.

Written and directed by Martin Brest (Scent of aWoman and Midnight Run), Gigli is a banal exercise in vanity. Yes, Ben looks fetching, and yes, J. Lo gets to showcase her posterior, but the fashion shoot gets tired fast. Their big love scene is tepid and gets upstaged by the inane foreplay banter about turkey (“Time to eat. Gobble, gobble.”) and “heterolingus.” Christopher Walken and Al Pacino lend their mugs to this embarrassment. The one high point is Bartha, whose idiot savant is Rain Man infused with Eminem.