You may remember her as the older lover of high-school wrestler Loudon Swain (Matthew Modine) in the film version of “Vision Quest.” How about the older lover of the college student played by Anthony Edwards (“E.R.”) in “Gotcha”?
Or you may remember her from any number of other small roles she’s played over the past decade, from “The Moderns” to “After Hours.” But however you’ve seen her, chances are you’ve noticed Linda Fiorentino.
Never considered among the first rank of women stars, Fiorentino nevertheless is the kind of actress who makes an impression. She comes across as tough, confrontational and unapologetically sexy.
All three of those attributes are on display in the role that won her special notice last year. In John Dahl’s neo-noir “The Last Seduction,” Fiorentino at least matched the efforts of Oscar-winner Jessica Lange (for “Blue Sky”) and easily surpassed those of Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder and Jodie Foster.
Only Miranda Richardson, for “Tom and Viv,” was more impressive. And that was mostly because Richardson’s vehicle was more respectably dramatic.
In “The Last Seduction,” Fiorentino follows in the long tradition of femmes fatale. She stars as a ruthless woman who uses sex as a weapon to roll over any man who stands in her way. That includes her husband (Bill Pullman) and the naive nice-guy (Peter Berg) who makes the mistake of falling in love with her.
The McGuffin is $700,000 worth of drug money - far more than would inspire a witch on wheels like this to off any man. Director Dahl, whose previous works include “Kill Me Again” (with Val Kilmer) and “Red Rock West” (with Nicolas Cage), may never be anything more than a genre filmmaker, but with talent such as Fiorentino’s at his command, he likely will continue to come up with something of interest to watch.
Rated R. ***
EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN
Widower dad lives in Taipei with his three grown (or almost-grown) daughters. He is a master chef, and they are in various stages of their lives and careers (they are, respectively, a teacher, business woman and student). The things they have in common are the weekly Sunday dinners that dad insists on preparing and the frustrations all feel over what’s missing in their lives. Director Ang Lee (“The Wedding Banquet”) brings us this charming little film about food, family and love in Taiwan. Pay attention or you’ll miss the clues that lead to the uproarious surprise the director uses to tie up loose ends. And make plans to go out for Asian food afterward. Not rated (but equivalent to a PG-13).
READY TO WEAR
Just as he did with country music two decades ago in “Nashville,” writer-director Robert Altman takes a look here at the Paris fashion industry in his big-cast way. You have real-life designers and models mixing with actors in a parody that Altman has designed as murder mystery. Unlike “Nashville,” however, this film’s multiple plotlines - which feature such stars as Anouk Aimee, Marcello Mastroianni, Sophia Loren, Tim Robbins, Julia Roberts, Lyle Lovett, Lauren Bacall, Sally Kellerman, Tracy Ullman and Linda Hunt - add up to little more than what several characters scrape off their shoes. Only Kim Basinger, tapping her immense talent for comedy, stands out as a particularly dense MTV-type fashion reporter. Rated R.
The spring catalog of Critic’s Choice Video offers a number of interesting deals, from $9.99 specials (including such films as “Total Recall” and “Bull Durham”) to films bearing Spanish subtitles. For a free one-year subscription, write to: Critic’s Choice Video, P.O. Box 749, Itasca, IL 60143-0749.
And the people who put out The Complete Guide to Exercise Videos are hoping that you don’t notice that summer is already here. Whatever, to get a free look at their wares, call (800) 708-9222.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: What’s new to view Available this weekend: “Scarlet” (Cabin Fever), “Mixed Nuts” (Columbia TriStar), “Ready to Wear” (Touchstone), “Cobb” (Warner), “The Last Seduction” (Polygram), “Oleanna” (Hemdale), “Eat Drink Man Woman” (Goldwyn). Available on Tuesday: “Death and the Maiden” (New Line), “Leprechaun 3” (Vidmark).