Film Flame


Cookie's Fortune is Robert Altman's sweetest offering to date -- October Films has picked itself a sleeper that, unfortunately, may put Armageddon-oriented audiences to sleep in the first act. It's Tennessee Williams in the garden of good and evil, scribbled Sam Shepard-like by Texan writer new to the screen scene, Anne Rapp.

Opening with a splash of color and a whopping dollop of traditional blues music, Cookie's Fortune could be mistaken for another Kansas City, but sit tight and savor this set-up of a provincial southern town and all it's kooky characters like a mint julep. It only gets better.

Screen veteran Patricia Neal shines in the title role of a town matriarch slipping into senility; Charles "Rock" Dutton ambles amiably through his set pieces as the town drunk, sage and champion Scrabble player; a stunning Liv Tyler succeeds as the town tramp, and Lyle Lovett as the local loser/lech and Chris O'Donnell as a bumbling bumpkin round out the cast that doesn't reach perfection until the evil sisters played by Glenn Close and Julianne Moore are introduced to lay out their subversive plan aimed at injecting drama into sleepy Holly Springs, Mississippi.

Cookie's Fortune will soon be released by October Films, so there's no sense spilling any plot points -- just trust that there's plenty of ante-bellum belly laughs and maybe even a few tears in a viewing of Altman's whimsical take on a one lawyer/one traffic light town where one man's word is good to another by virtue of the fact that they've been fishing together.

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