8 Mile. Curtis Hanson. Opens November 8 at multiple locations. Reviewed this issue.
Femme Fatale. Brian De Palma. Opens November 6 at multiple locations. Reviewed this issue.
Sordid Lives. Del Shores. The setup of Sordid Lives is a time-tested premise most recently seen in Kingdom Come: dysfunctional family members assemble for a funeral in a small Southern town. The family matriarch has died as a result of tripping over the wooden legs of a dull-witted local named G.W. (Beau Bridges), with whom she was having an illicit affair. Daughters LaVonda (Ann Walker) and Latrelle (Bonnie Bedelia) arrive to mourn at the house of their Aunt Sissy (Beth Grant), then fiercely argue about whether or not their mother should be buried in her favorite mink stole. LaVonda's best friend is Noleta (Delta Burke), the wife of the cheating G.W., and there's a delicate balance there between comforting the distraught wife and allowing her to besmirch the name of a dead parent. The late mom also has one more child, Earl (Leslie Jordan, a veteran of writer-director Del Shores' stage productions), known to all as Brother Boy, who was locked up in a mental institution 20 years earlier for being gay. And Latrelle also has a gay son, an actor who lives out in L.A. and bounces around from therapist to therapist trying to be accepted for who he is. Latrelle remains in denial on this subject, assuming he's only playing gay roles onstage as a form of rebellion. Oh yeah, Olivia Newton-John shows up to sing a couple of songs and prove that she's aged a lot better than blubbery former costar John Travolta. The acting is fine across the board, especially from relative unknowns Jordan and Grant, but Shores' direction is way too stagy and he doesn't seem to know whose story he's telling. Opens November 8 at the Tivoli Theatre. (LYT)