New movie releases this week include Katherine Heigl’s return to the big screen, plus The Promise, Truman, and more
Matthew Lickona 6 p.m., April 21
The first directing job for producer Lili Fini Zanuck (not a born Zanuck, a Zanuck by marriage), whose seriousness about the job goes as far as, but not much farther than, the closeup of a hypodermic needle in the arm of the leading man. No shrinking violet is our Lili. On a purely stylistic level, her seriousness goes as far as the opening shot, a long-distance, hand-held, Julien Temple-esque tracking shot around and out the door of a Texas beer joint. Tidbits of drug-world expertise litter our path ("It's a better high if you're dirty. It doesn't leak through the skin"), but not nearly enough of them to enable us to follow the daily routine and long-range plans of a hardened undercover narc (Jason Patric, looking and sounding about as jaded and burnt-out as a late-night deejay on a progressive-jazz station) and his "virgin" female partner (Jennifer Jason Leigh: "Ah cun dyoo wut ut tikes"). The storyline doesn't advance; it wallows. There's a great deal of sitting, crawling, and curling up on the nearest available floor. The white-trash ambience is so thick you'd need a Caterpillar to plow through it. With Sam Elliott and Max Perlich. 1991.