Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Judas Kiss


My campaign to reign as the next Beverly Hills animal control officer continues apace. My first debate with my worthy republican opponent takes place next week so I have been rehearsing tirelessly with the teleprompter. I don’t want to make too many 'W'isms or come across as Clarence Thomas on camera. In film, when you flub a line, there's always another take. In debate, you get only the single chance. Norman is acting as my coach and keeps asking me all sorts of pointed questions about ways of handling a rabid raccoon, the mating habits of coyotes, and how to escape being mauled by a venomous Rottweiler so I'm sure I will be prepared.

If nothing else, my campaign wardrobe, created by the great Bob Mackie, will garner appropriate press attention. My dress for the first debate has a drop sweetheart neckline with a form-fitting, bias cut bodice in red and white stripe lame which opens out into a flowing blue skirt edged in bugle beads with white rhinestone stars on it. It’s incredibly patriotic and will show up well under the ridiculous lighting of public access television.

Between costume fittings, with Bob and his girls, I just had time to nip into the Bargain Hunt and there I spotted a movie called Judas Kiss with Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson in the $2.99 bin. This is a film of which I had never heard and I thought I was familiar with the complete cinematic oeuvre of the ex-Mrs. Branagh. I felt compelled to bring it home and pop it in the home theater. I have been a great fan of Emma's since she rolled around with Jeff Goldblum while wearing a starchy nurse's uniform in The Tall Guy many years ago. I actually had the chance to work with her briefly when I lobbied hard and long to play her younger sister in Sense and Sensibility . I nearly had the part but Emma said she just didn't like the final screen test when I did the tap routine down the stairway of the manor house. (And I was wearing my best empire waisted Schiaparelli).

Anyway, Judas Kiss is a neo-film noir with an interesting international cast including Australian Simon Baker ( The Mentalist ), German Til Schweiger ( Maybe, Maybe Not ), Americans Carla Gugino ( Spy Kids ) and Gil Bellows ( Ally McBeal ) in addition to the aforementioned Brits. However, the film itself is an appalling mess. It has something to do with Miss Gugino leading Baker, Schweiger and Bellows into a complicated kidnap plot. Their scheme goes awry when an apparent innocent is killed. Rickman and Thompson then appear as the police detectives hot on the trail. The setting is New Orleans so Rickman and Thompson spout somewhat ridiculous, and occasionally slipping, Cajun accents. Writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez even has the temerity to name Emma’s character Sadie Hawkins for inexplicable reasons. L'il Abner does not make an appearance.

This is one of those movies where everyone is double crossing everyone else and there is a great deal of money involved. We're supposed to guess who is in it for the money and who is actually in love with another character. I, however, didn't care enough for any of these people to have any feelings one way or another and I kept hoping they'd all get hit by a train and put out of their misery.

Rickman and Thompson, whom I assume are friendly in real life given the number of times they've worked together, must have wanted an all expenses paid working vacation in New Orleans. I can think of no other reason for them to sign for this dreck. They seem to have brought the family along as Greg Wise, Emma's current paramour and father of her child, turns up in a small part. I imagine that they all did a lot of hanging out together at Pat O'Brien's on Bourbon Street laughing at the ludicrous contrivances of the script and ham handed direction. Fortunately, this seems to be the only theatrical feature that writer/director Gutierrez has unleashed on an unsuspecting world. This is a movie for Thompson and Rickman completists only and I assume it's already conveniently fallen off both of their resumes.

Shootings. Bad Cajun accents. Naked Carla Gugino. Evil computer millionaires. World-weary police officers. Gratuitous double crossings. Flying suitcases. Gratuitous tropical beach.

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