`The Tic Code'
Rated R (Adult language) Sun score ** 1/2
Heartfelt, if a little melodramatic (especially in its labored final act), "The Tic Code" is the story of a young boy with Tourette's syndrome who finds not only escape in the similarly syncopated world of jazz, but a desperately needed father figure. Actress Polly Draper (TV's "thirtysomething") wrote the screenplay based on the experiences of her husband, jazz musician Michael Wolff, who is afflicted with Tourette's, a condition that causes tics, twitches, compulsive behavior and, occasionally, an uncontrollable tendency to swear.
Twelve-year-old Miles (played with a great range of expression by Christopher George Marquette) has a real talent for the piano and a mother, Laura, who loves him (Draper), but he's also got an absentee father who can't be bothered with a son who twitches, a schoolyard bully who beats him up, and - understandably - a problem with self-esteem. Enter Tyrone (Gregory Hines), a saxophone player who also has Tourette's. Tyrone would seem the answer to everyone's prayers - he inspires Miles and excites Laura. But Tyrone chooses to deal with his Tourette's by ignoring it, and he finds it difficult to accept a relationship where the condition is front-and-center.
Draper and director Gary Winick betray an honest, if sometimes overwrought, passion for their subject; Laura's histrionics sometimes seem forced, and Hines has to struggle to be the heel the screenplay sometimes asks him to be. But watching young Miles struggle for the normal life he deserves gives "The Tic Code" emotional weight, and Wolff's seductive jazz score gives it resonance.
- Chris Kaltenbach
Unrated (adult situations), in French with English subtitles Sun score ** 1/2
No one ever accused Marcel Proust of being an easy read, so perhaps it's only right that "Time Regained," based on the last volume of the French author's autobiographical "In Search of Lost Time," is far from an easy watch. Chilean director Raul Ruiz's 2 1/2 -hour film jumps back and forth in time (sometimes within scenes), features mannered acting that relentlessly hints at more than it reveals, and is filled with arresting images that suggest a marriage of Proust and surrealist painter Rene Magritte.
"Time Regained" opens with Proust on his deathbed. As he reflects on his life, those reflections start showing up on screen - appearing and disappearing, aging and growing younger, according to the whims of Proust's fevered mind. There are idyllic memories of childhood, horrific memories of wartime, bemused memories of the vagaries of French high society, and homoerotic memories of Proust's sexual awakening.
Ruiz, who left Chile for France after the fall of the Allende government, has assembled a strong cast, led by Marcello Mazzarella as Proust and including Catherine Deneuve, John Malkovich, Emmanuelle BM-iart, Vincent Perez and Marie-France Pisier. Fans of Proust will doubtless love the results, as the author's life and fiction mingle together on film in much the way they mingled together in his prose. But those not familiar with Proust will doubtless feel lost - unlike the printed word, film does not offer the chance to pause and reflect, or go back and re-read a passage.
- Chris Kaltenbach
Rated R (violence, adult subject matter and language.)
Sun score * 1/2
Jesse Helms is going to love "Get Carter." He may be the only one.
Every single character in the movie smokes, ensuring a rich crop of consumers for Helms' home state's government-supported cash crop. Helms will also be delighted that, in the movie, pornographers get wasted, and billionaires get all the breaks.
The billionaires and pornographers are in Seattle, where Sylvester Stallone is a guy named Carter who's trying to figure out who killed his brother.
Stallone, who appears not to have slept since "Rocky," is meant to be the moral center of the movie, but there are two problems with that: He's a vicious killer, and more distractingly, he has to wade through too many scenes in which show-off camera work turns him upside down, flashes lights at him, or divides him into three screens.
You understand why the pyrotechnics are being used - to distract us from the dumbness of the dialogue - but eventually you feel like shouting, "Let's get to the bloodbath, already!"
- Knight Ridder Wire Service