It has just been announced that movie comedy legend Gene Wilder has passed away at age 83 after years of battling heath problems. The official cause of death was complications related to Alzheimers disease. Wilder made his feature film debut in the 1967 classic "Bonnie and Clyde", playing an undertaker who is kidnapped and befriended by the infamous outlaws. He hit pay dirt when Mel Brooks cast him opposite Zero Mostel in the 1968 comedy "The Producers". Wilder's performance as the neurotic accountant earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting actor. He collaborated again with Brooks on two other 70s comedy classics, "Blazing Saddles" and "Young Frankenstein". He also starred in the 1972 children's film favorite "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". In the 1980s Wilder teamed with Richard Pryor for several big screen comedy hits. He married comedienne Gilda Radner of "Saturday Night Live" fame but the marriage was short-lived when Radner died from cancer. Wilder became involved in raising funds to battle the disease that killed his beloved wife. He also wrote a memoir detailing their love affair. Wilder had not been seen on the big screen since 1991, as his health began to decline. He did, however, occasionally appear as a guest star on TV shows and won an Emmy in 2003 for his performance on the sitcom "Will & Grace". For more click here For a look at Wilder's most memorable roles, click here.
Liotta is a police forensics scientist in “Unforgettable” a 1996 crime thriller
available for the first time on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber. The movie co-stars
Linda Fiorentino as a university researcher who has developed a drug which
allows lab rats to relive the memories of other rats.
Krane (Liotta) has been trying to clear his name after being framed for the
murder of his wife during a drunken rage after he discovers she’s having an
affair. He’s found passed out on the lawn after his wife is found brutally
murdered. A high profile trial results in his release on a technicality. He
returns to work on the police force and moves on with his life, but there’re a
lot of doubts regarding his innocence by family, friends and colleagues. He lost
custody of his daughters who now live with his sister-in-law Kelly (Kim
Cattrall), but sees them on weekends.
attending a lecture by Martha Briggs (Fiorentino) on the topic of her memory
research, David introduces himself and sets up an appointment to learn more. The
drug works in combination with another rat’s DNA while the recipient rat
remains in the location of the DNA’s donor rat in order to experience that
donor rat’s memories. David receives a demonstration of the memory drug and
asks if it’s gone through human trials. It hasn’t and Martha explains the
dangerous side effects including heart attacks and death. Naturally, David
steals a vile of the drug and also takes DNA samples from the victims of a
multiple homicide in a grocery store where he finds a clue that may link those murders
to his wife’s murderer. Martha does some checking, discovers who David is and
realizes he wants to use the drug to find his wife’s killer.
discovery is too late as David has already tried the drug and is on the trail
of the killer after injecting himself with the victim’s DNA at the grocery
store. We see what he experiences in the first person through the victim’s eyes
in a sort of foggy dream-like state. He identifies the killer as Eddie Dutton
(Kim Coates) and starts tracking the man which leads to Eddie’s death in a
shootout at a church.
boss, Don Bresler (Peter Coyote), is relieved and supportive of David and believes
they got the man who murdered his wife. Fellow cop Stewart Gleick (Christopher
McDonald) has always believed David got away with murder and is not so easily
convinced. David injects himself with Eddie’s DNA along with the memory drug at
the scene of his wife’s murder when Martha arrives. She helps him do it again
using a mixture of his wife’s DNA. David and Martha realize there’s much more
to the murder than anyone realized as they unravel a conspiracy involving the
revelation of his wife’s secret life.
movie has elements of crime thriller, Hitchcockian suspense and science
fiction. The memory drug is a fascinating plot element, but the thing I don’t
get is how memories are transferred through blood samples when our memories are
contained in our brain. It really doesn’t matter because it all works to move
the plot as long as one suspends disbelief and accepts the science fiction
and Fiorentino are very good and have nice screen chemistry. McDonald is also good
as the tough cop who believes Liotta got away with murder. David Paymer appears
as Liotta’s frazzled forensics partner and Kim Cattrall is underutilized and
seen briefly in a couple of scenes. Kim Coates plays the low-life creep to
great effect and Peter Coyote is on hand giving his measured and usual fine
performance throughout the movie.
movie underperformed upon its US release in February 1996 and didn’t receive a
release in the UK until nearly a year and a half later in July 1997. Produced
by Dino & Martha De Laurentiis and directed by John Dahl, the movie
deserved to do better. Nat King Cole’s version of “Unforgettable” is heard on
the soundtrack of the trailer which is a nice touch. Use of the song would
appear to be an obvious marketing angle, but for some reason is not heard
during the movie.
Blu-ray looks and sounds very good indeed and the 117 minute thriller has aged
well. Extras on the Kino release include the trailer, a five minute making of
featurette, unedited B rolls consisting of set-up shots and outtakes, and seven
short sound bites by cast, director and producer. The extras are interesting
and worth a look.