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"Guinevere,""Illuminata,""The Story of Us," and on video, "Election"

Quick Flicks

!B! "Guinevere"
!B! "Superstar"
!B! "My Son the Fanatic"
!B! Now on Video: "Election"

"Guinevere" - This knowing take on the time-honored "May-September" romance showcases Sarah Polley ("The Sweet Hereafter," "Go") as an insecure 20-year-old swept off her feet by a photographer 30 years her senior. Thankfully, that photog is portrayed by Stephen Rea ("Crying Game," "The Butcher Boy"). The two meet at her snooty sister's wedding in San Francisco; he's been hired to capture it all on film.

The heart and soul of "Guinevere" comes in watching Polley's character blossom into a confident, sexually aware young woman. But as she grows, Rea's character becomes desperate to keep her, even preying on her upper-class guilt. Turning in fine supporting roles are Jean Smart (TV's "Designing Women") as her mother, and Gina Gershon as an ex-Rea protege who tries to wise Polley up.

"Illuminata" - Although chock-full of wonderful performances, this tale of "Tha Theatuh" never gels. As writer, director and star, John Turturro tries his best to keep us engaged, but his story lies dormant between star turns from the likes of Susan Sarandon as an aging legendary beauty and actress; Christopher Walken as a homosexual theater critic; and Ben Gazarra as a thespian whose career is not the only thing dying. Not a total waste of time, particularly for those who are not put off by lugubrious pacing, "Illuminata" has many moments to relish.

"The Story of Us" - This dramatic comedy about a couple on the brink of divorce after 15 years of marriage never lives up to the promise of its trailer. Although it contains some funny and poignant moments, as well as generally good performances from Michelle Pfeiffer and Bruce Willis, everything gets lost in the story's delivery. Crammed so full of flashbacks it loses any semblance of momentum, this Rob Reiner film soon begins to feel like a misguided sequel to "When Harry Met Sally."

Now on Video

"Election" - This clever dark comedy about a strong-willed young woman's (Reese Witherspoon) run for class president and the one teacher (Matthew Broderick) bent on keeping her from ruling the school is really a satirical cinematic metaphor for the Bush-Clinton-Perot three-way race for president of these here United States. All about readin', 'ritin' and revenge, the movie features stand-out performances and delightfully perverse humor.

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